Do you want your home entertainment system to monitor your private life?

Canadian New Media included an article titled "Lack of education, standards hindering home networks". These are not traditional networks of computers, but networking other devices such as home entertainment. It suggested a new study from NPD Group reports that the interconnected home is still a long way off for many Canadians.

I sent the following letter as additional feedback.

There are more reasons for not wanting current generation consumer electronics devices networked. The legacy content industries want to monitor, meter and control the private activities of their customers in order to extend their past business models and monopolies. They are working with specific technology companies to try to ensure that these devices are not under the control of their owners, but under remote control and monitoring. These technology companies are quite happy to play along as they believe that if they manage the "digital keys" to unlock the digitally encoded content rather than their competitors that it will help them protect existing market monopolies with a captive customer base. The technology companies embed these digital keys in software within their specifically branded access devices, and claim it is illegal for the owners to extract and use these keys in competing software.

While I am an IT professional, and thus normally an early adaptor of new technology, I don't even own an "authorized" DVD player. I have DVD drives in many computers, but I use "unauthorized" software to watch DVD movies. The source code for this software I use is transparent and accountable, so that I can trust it isn't monitoring me. The US government claims this unauthorized software is illegal in any country that ratifies the old-industry protectionist 1996 WIPO treaties, which Canada plans to do with Bill C-60.

When I purchase digital content that is locked I believe that I as the customer have the right to the key. I should be able to use any digital tools I want to view it, just as I can use any brand of eyeglasses to read a book. I believe this is the only way to protect my property and privacy rights, and am not interested in bringing equipment into my home that will secretly monitor my private life. The idea of networking devices that are not under my control and are manufactured to monitor me seems about as rational as removing all the physical locks from my door and inviting passers-by to walk in any time they want.