6.857 Computer and Network Security
October 22, 2002
Lecture Notes 13 : Palladium, Zero Knowledge
Lecturer: Ron Rivest
[These are the initial scribe notes. The ﬁnal version will appear with updated ﬁgures. Namely, the
ﬁgures will have larger fonts.]
- Palladium discussion
- Zero Knowledge Proofs
2 Palladium discussion
Prof. Rivest: What did people like / dislike about Palladium?
Student: I think it’s interesting to think about the various other organizations that are aﬀecting
Palladium, like Hollywood, etc.
Student: I don’t think Palladium is going to ﬂy. They haven’t really come up with a killer-app and
the cost is going to be too high. What is the killer app? Movie and music distribution?
Prof. Rivest: Could movie distribution be the killer app? That really seems to be their driving
Student: It seems as though the only way they can justify this initiative is if they envision PCs
becoming the center of a home theater system. Using PCs to control DVD players, TVs, etc.
Prof. Rivest: A very useful way of thinking about it is as a virtual embedded set top box.
Student: How can they use this system for DRM if it isn’t physically tamper-resistant? Maybe due
to the DMCA it would be illegal to install dual-ported memory. Hardware attacks could probably
be carried out for hundreds of dollars or less. A movie could be extracted and then distributed.
Prof. Rivest: Besides DRM, what could this be used for?
Student: Possibly subscription services, software licensing, or piracy control.
Student: The whole TCPA framework provides a lot of functionality to enterprises.
Student: It seems as though the right-hand side of Palladium won’t really be used that much and
isn’t robust enough to run complete applications like Word, etc.
Prof. Rivest: This reminds me of how we drew the distinction between user and kernel space, and
then with Microsoft operating systems and plug-and-play people have been able to insert drivers,
etc. into kernel space. Now all they’ve done is draw another line and are daring outsiders to cross
that line. After a while all sorts of code will have found its way into the Palladium zone and then
what do we do? Draw another line and make Palladium 2?
0May be freely reproduced for educational or personal use.