At Last, Some Manners for Digital Devices
…And about time too, some might say. According to this slashdot article, Microsoft has recently applied for some patents to help enforce so called Digital Manners Policies on digital devices. It would ensure that devices like cameras, mobile phones, games consoles, etc. are made to obey specific usage guidelines or policies in the controlled zones. Certainly sounds like we might be talking DRM on steroids.
Imagine the possibilities such a development would bring; no more annoying mobile phone ringtones in specific zones (e.g. at the cinema, in places of worship or in the quiet coaches on trains); no more flash photography in restricted areas (the paparazzi would hate that one); and even no more excessive speeding in low speed areas like schools and residential areas (yes, your car is a digital device too). However, one big fly in the ointment is that such schemes never seem to take into account how users might feel about someone / something else taking control of their devices. Media DRM painfully brought home the message that users do not take kindly to the idea of not actually ‘owning’ their own digital media, so just imagine how they might react when their digital device chooses to obey someone else’s commands.
That said it still appears that digital manners and similar initiatives may be pointing the way towards what could eventually become the next phase of development for digital and Internet technologies, i.e. location and context aware mobile applications and services. If web 2.0 is all about collaboration and social computing / networking / media, then web 2.5 or perhaps even web 3.0 (to borrow the jargon) seems likely to be focused around contextual computing / networking / media. Now that would be something, don’t you think?
Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.