Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jesus, make it stop.

So over at Autoblog, there's a piece about how the efforts of automakers engaged in legal CYA maneuvering are now exploiting a provision in the DMCA to try and keep owners out from under the hoods of vehicles that are increasingly "No User Serviceable Parts Inside" sealed tangles of computer-controlled components.

So far it's the Alliance of Global Automakers vs. the Electronic Frontier Foundation lobbying the U.S. Copyright office as to whether or not the extensive software found in current cars meets the requirements for intellectual property protection, which could keep home tuners and handymen out from under the hood. This has come to a head with a lawsuit by Ford against a manufacturer of home automotive diagnostic equipment last year:
Last September, Ford took steps toward consolidating such control, filing a lawsuit against Autel US Inc., a diagnostic-equipment manufacturer based in Huntington, New York. Ford alleges the company unlawfully copied trade secrets and accessed on-board computer systems that relay technical information on diagnostic codes and repair data.
A policy statement by John Deere is also cited in the article. So that's Ford and John Deere... How did I find out about this article? Well, I sat down at my computer at zero dark thirty this morning to find that someone had tagged me in the comments of an Oleg Volk Facebook post that opened...
"Interesting that GM, the company most famous for On-Star spyware pre-installed in all of their rather poorly made vehicles, is leading the effort to make something illegal."
Really? General Motors is "most famous" for On*Star spyware? Not the Corvette? Not the public assassination attempt by Ralph Nader? Not the ignition switch coverup debacle? No, they're "most famous" for building a cell phone into the car. Call me on your iPhone and tell me all about it.

Don't tag me with stuff like this before sunup, people. Manichaeism before 0800 does nothing good for my blood pressure. I don't want any part of your War for Justice in Society until after lunch.

God, I long for the day when buying a chicken sandwich or a car is not a signalling device for an entire weltanschauung.