DRM

There’s something wrong with my car

I live in Norway. A place where you’re not allowed to drive more than 100 km/h on any of our roads. Still, the speedometer of my car goes all the way to 220 km/h and according to Toyota’s official specs for my Rav4 it has a max speed of 185 km/h. Driving at that speed on Norwegian roads would be both dangerous and utterly illegal. Illegal to the point that they would put me in jail.

I bought the car in Norway. It’s registered and fully official. This isn’t an illegal pirate car. I can roam around Norwegian streets with it. Completely blessed by the police, the king and whatever person that cares. As long as I follow the rules and keep it under 100 km/h.

So why is it possible to drive the car in 185 km/h? Why on earh didn’t the officials put in some kind of Digital Speed Management (DSM)?

It should have looked like this when sold in Norway:

Complete with encryption to stop it from going faster than 100 km/h. That would probably save lives. Preventing people from driving too fast is important. Still we don’t add Digital Speed Management to cars. Not even in the pretty controlled and safe country of Norway.

We don’t do it because that would be too much of a limitation on our freedom. That would be very irritating when taking the car into Germany or another country where you can drive much faster than in Norway. Such limitations don’t fit into our mental models of what you get when you buy a car. People would protest. Loud protests.

Yes, I know. Digital Rights Management on music and movies isn’t exactly like this. But there is something with the comparison that’s not that far fetched. DRM sucks.

(And for all the people that keep asking me how I have the time to write articles on my blog. This was written at Stavanger airport while waiting for my plane to Oslo.)