If you have been following consumer electronics, especially in the U.S., for the past few years, you may remember the controversy that is the broadcast flag. In essence, it is a top-down type of anti-piracy, intended to prevent any equipment capable of recording TV from doing such by means of an opt-out signal that forces the equipment into compliance. Needless to say, this was brutally controversial and still is today. Not everyone in Government agrees with such a technology, and lately someone in the U.S. Senate is fighting the FCC. In essence, the Senator is trying to prevent the FCC from strongarming manufacturers:
Sununu's bill will attempt to rein in the FCC and prevent it from reviving the broadcast flag without Congressional authorization to do so. "The FCC seems to be under the belief that it should occasionally impose technology mandates," Sununu said in a statement. "These misguided requirements distort the marketplace by forcing industry to adopt agency-blessed solutions rather than allow innovative and competitive approaches to develop. We have seen this happen with the proposed video flag, and interest groups are pushing for an audio flag mandate as well. Whether well-intentioned or not, the FCC has no business interfering in private industry to satisfy select special interests or to impose its own views."
While many media companies want such a technology with zealous fervor, from a consumer standpoint it is just another type of crippling DRM. It's sad that it takes so much work just to keep consumer rights, but hopefully the broadcast flag will, for now, remain dead.