April 24, 2014

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Predictions for 2005

Here is my list of twelve predictions for 2005.

(1) DRM technology, especially on PCs, will be seen increasingly as a security and privacy risk to end users.

(2) Vonage and other leading VoIP vendors will start to act like incumbents, welcoming regulation of their industry sector.

(3) Internet Explorer will face increasing competitive pressure from Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft’s response will be hamstrung by its desire to maintain the fiction that IE is an integral part of the operating system.

(4) As blogs continue to grow in prominence, we’ll see consolidation in the blog world, with major bloggers either teaming up with each other or affiliating with major news outlets or web sites.

(5) A TV show or movie that is distributed only on the net will become a cult hit.

(6) The Supreme Court’s Grokster decision won’t provide us with a broad, clear rule for evaluating future innovations, so the ball will be back in Congress’s court.

(7) Copyright issues will be stalemated in Congress.

(8) There will be no real progress on the spam, spyware, and desktop security problems.

(9) Congress will address the spyware problem by passing a harmless but ineffectual law, which critics will deride as the “CAN-SPY Act.”

(10) DRM technology will still fail to prevent widespread infringement. In a related development, pigs will still fail to fly.

(11) New P2P systems will marry swarming distribution (as in BitTorrent) with distributed indexing (as in Kazaa et al). Copyright owners will resort to active technical measures to try to corrupt the systems’ indices.

(12) X-ray vision technology will become more widely available (though not to the general public), spurring a privacy hoohah.

Comments

  1. Sander123 says:

    Also related to #5, it is the theme of Gibson’s latest book ‘Pattern Recognition’.

  2. Copyfight says:

    Ed Felten’s Predictions for 2005

    Edward Felten gazes into the crystal ball, providing 12 predictions for IT-related developments in 2005. They include the prediction that in deciding the Grokster case, the Supreme Court will fail to replace the Betamax rule with something sufficiently…

  3. icepick says:

    (5) A TV show or movie that is distributed only on the net will become a cult hit.

    Been there, done that. Most of my teenage cousins (all 15 of them) are rabid fans of Homestar Runner. Just hasn’t yet creeped over the 20-and-up level of consciousness.

  4. jvance says:

    icepick-go to any college. you’ll see it has creeped up into the 20-24 base too.

    #7 is a gimme ed. when was the last time the USSC gave a clear ruling on a technology case that set precedent?

  5. Cypherpunk says:

    1. “Soft” DRM technology will be increasingly accepted. The next big thing will be location based DRM which uses round trip time to allow sharing within the same building. Seth Schoen wrote about this at http://vitanuova.loyalty.org/weblog/nb.cgi/view/vitanuova/2004/12/22.

    2. IE will add tabbed browsing.

    3. XP SP3, a major new security release from Microsoft, will be announced and available in pre-release form by the end of 2005.

    4. Microsoft’s release of its anti spyware program, http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=26501&category=main, will represent the high water mark of the spyware “threat” and after that it will recede from public awareness, replaced by some new menace.

    5. Anti spam technologies will continue to advance and by the end of the year spam will be even lower in importance than it is now (it’s already lower than it was a year ago, http://accounting.smartpros.com/x46436.xml).

    6. The supposed threat of “VoIP spam” will not materialize as a significant issue.

    7. Technical attacks on P2P networks will be increasingly effective. Complaints will be widespread that users can no longer get stuff for free like they used to. Dark nets like IRC will cease to be safe havens and start to come under attack as well.

    8. A major new “anonymous” P2P network will be announced in response to the attacks, but it will neither deliver content efficiently nor protect users from liability.

  6. Michael Weiksner says:

    #4 is interesting to me: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Makes total sense, since the top bloggers attract such a large share of the total mindshare.

  7. Mike Linksvayer says:

    #11 has been true for a long time already.

  8. Dan Simon says:

    Here’s a prediction of the next big threat: large numbers of users accessing online banking and bill payment services from compromised machines surreptitiously fitted with keystroke loggers will suddenly discover their bank accounts drained via fraudulently requested “bill payments”. Banks will have to start charging substantial fees for online services, to compensate for the risk.

    Ed, I don’t understand prediction #3. Care to explain?

  9. Peter O says:

    Opinions:

    (1) DRM technology, especially on PCs, will be seen increasingly as a security and privacy risk to end users.

    ‘Increasingly seen as unfavorable’ feels more likely. Specifically a security or privacy risk I doubt.

    (3) Internet Explorer will face increasing competitive pressure from Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft’s response will be hamstrung by its desire to maintain the fiction that IE is an integral part of the operating system.

    Unless firefox goes fad, I don’t see it knocking off IE in the mainstream. Most people don’t give a hoot about what browser they are using. General popular culture gets crazy over Paris Hilton sex videos, not tabbed browsing. As for the second sentence, I’m not clear what that’s talking about.

    (4) As blogs continue to grow in prominence, we’ll see consolidation in the blog world, with major bloggers either teaming up with each other or affiliating with major news outlets or web sites.

    I don’t think this will happen. Traditional TV “news” and newspapers are still very wary of blogs. To imagine a decades-old publication finding new youth in the revolution that is slowly jabbing at its credibility, is too far a stretch IMHO. Blogs teaming up? The romance is in the maverick reporter – aggregation defeats that.

    (5) A TV show or movie that is distributed only on the net will become a cult hit.

    A “TV show that is distributed only on the net” is a contradiction. That by definition makes it something other than a TV show. Other comments earlier than mine have pointed out two excellent examples of what you’re probably talking about already happening. Here’s a third I thought of.

    (7) Copyright issues will be stalemated in Congress.

    Yep

    (8) There will be no real progress on the spam, spyware, and desktop security problems.

    I think MS will make some good progress. They’ve identified it as a source of major consumer need, and already have elementary tools in XP SP2 to fight the problem. They also recently bought a company whose whole business was fighting spyware.

    (10) DRM technology will still fail to prevent widespread infringement. In a related development, pigs will still fail to fly.

    Yeah, I agree. What “widespread” is, however, is really up in the air. I think it’s a stronger prediction to say that the level of piracy will remain about the same as it is now, which seems likely.

    (11) New P2P systems will marry swarming distribution (as in BitTorrent) with distributed indexing (as in Kazaa et al). Copyright owners will resort to active technical measures to try to corrupt the systems’ indices.

    This really should be broken into two predictions, they are fairly separate.

    11a) It’s surprising we haven’t heard of this yet. There may just not be enough people willing to risk their necks to develop the uber-piracy tool. In the interests of saying something definitive, I doubt we’re going to see any major new technologies in 2005, but piracy will go farther underground (have smaller central gathering points). And Exeem, which is horrendous Win32-only adware, doesn’t count. Nonetheless I feel very tenuous about this prediction.

    11b) Are you talking about something more than Kazaa pollution, etc? They have already hired Overpeer to do this sort of goon-ish work. Maybe you mean something else, though.

    (12) X-ray vision technology will become more widely available (though not to the general public), spurring a privacy hoohah.

    Heh, is this the whacky prediction of the year? I got nothin on that :)

    I opted to leave a few alone where I didn’t feel so qualified. Also reading over this, I came through as a little harsh and/or elitist, which is not intended. I just wanted to have some place to remember what I thought of these when January 2006 rolls around :)

  10. aNonMooseCowherd says:

    Re: #4: I’m guessing the opposite will happen, and within a few years there will be an average of 2.3 blogs per person. The average blogger will spend 15.8 hours per day reading other blogs, but even so, many blogs will be write-only in the sense that in a typical week no one will bother to read them.

  11. g. says:

    Re: (1) – It has already come true: see this PCWorld article. quote from the text: “A loophole in the Windows Media DRM process allows companies to create ersatz media files and link them to adware.”

  12. jvance says:

    Dan, as per this article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/06/phisherman_fagins/) your prediction has already come true. Congratulations!

  13. Riley says:

    About the TV show one, it’s not exactly traditional, but Homestar Runner has already become more than just a cult hit. The average highschooler knows about it and Homestar has many, many fans.

  14. Neo says:

    I think MS will make some good progress [on spam, spyware, and desktop security problems]. They’ve identified it as a source of major consumer need, and already have elementary tools in XP SP2 to fight the problem. They also recently bought a company whose whole business was fighting spyware.

    That makes it likely they will make the basic security problems in their OS, browser, mailer, and other apps worse. Then they can get even richer selling the cure.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Internet Explorer will face increasing competitive pressure from Mozilla Firefox, but Microsoft’s response is hamstrung because they are in the midst of a technology shift. The old IE development team no longer exists, and making changes to the old IE requires a lot of resources. So making the changes is hard. Investment in new browsing code is done in Longhorn, and isn’t easily compatibile with previous operating systems yet.

    So Microsoft is hamstrung by its R&D investment decisions.

    Note to Cypherpunk: IE shipped a tabbed browser with IE4. :) MSFT has patents on tabbed browsing and IE6 supports it … just not in the FireFox way (which I agree is superior).

  16. Wagner's Weblog says:

    More predictions for 2005

    Freedom to Tinker has some juicy predictions for 2005, including: (1) DRM technology, especially on PCs, will be seen increasingly as a security and privacy risk to end users. and (9) Congress will address the spyware problem by passing a harmless but …

  17. Jeremiah Blatz says:
  18. Ed Felten says:

    Now that 2005 is over, I’ve re-opened comments here to enable discussion of readers’ predictions.

  19. Peter says:

    Ok I’ve finally had a chance to reconcile all of this. Sorry for not quoting each entry, this is just a diff, so to speak.

    1) DRM / security – Agree with conclusion. Felten was right, I was wrong. I agree the Sony rootkit was the prime issue.

    3) Firefox v. IE – Disagree with conclusion. The results for Firefox’s marketshare are arguably “all over the map,” but in going through several recent stories on Google news, most surveys don’t put it over 10%.

    Regarding IE and the OS, this post on the IE blog shows they are going to release IE 7 for XP, not just Vista (Longhorn). I think they’re hoping time the gold release of IE 7 with Vista, but that doesn’t mean they’re inseperable.

    4) Blogs / consolidation. Felten was right, I was wrong. He gives good examples here too.

    5) Online TV show – does not apply.

    7) Copyright, congress – We were both right.

    8) Progress in spyware – Disagree with conclusion. In all of the advertising I’ve seen for ISPs in the last year, the number one issue is spyware / adware / popups / etc. Also, Microsoft released Microsoft AntiSpyware on Jan 6, 2005, the day after these predictions were made. Since then they have released monthly updates and are now changing the program name to “Windows Defender” (according to Wikipedia) to match its increasing scope. Although the software is still technically in beta, it’s clear Microsoft is putting a lot of work into it and I have personally used it to clean computers successfully.

    10) DRM won’t work – Agreed, both right.

    11) Distributed indexing in P2P – This was a funny one. We both agreed this wouldn’t happen, and that was Felten’s conclusion. But, in fact, it did happen, it just wasn’t very popular. Azerus has a working trackerless distribution system now. People just don’t use it because they don’t need to – regular bittorrent is good enough.

    My score using my conclusions: 4 right, 3 wrong.
    My score using Felten’s conclusions: 2 right, 5 wrong.

    Felten’s score using my conclusions: 4 right, 3 wrong
    For completeness, Felten using his own conclusions: 6 right, 1 wrong

  20. Anonymous says:

    r u cool