Microsoft announced late yesterday, an initiative called 'End to End Trust Vision'.
The 'white paper' can be found here.
While, on the surface, this may sound like a really great idea, it's probably not.
There are numerous studies that show that most people are much less likely to 'be careful' surfing (and downloading) at work, than at home.
This seriously complicates the role of network administrators unless they have convinced management to put in controls. Serious firewalls, virus and rootkit protection, etc., and more.
Most small businesses don't have these in place. Many simply don't know how to implement them and/or can't afford to.
It's not just e-mail anymore. The bad guys are getting good at what they do.
This is the logic behind this initiative. Kill the 'bad boy' websites before they kill your infrastructure. From that perspective, it makes complete sense. This Microsoft / RSA website makes it even more convincing.
A platform for censorship ??
Depending on how this would be implemented, and who (or what computer) determines which sites are bad, the idea could get ugly. In fact it may not work at all, with 'trusted' big name websites being compromised occasionally by 'outsiders'.
Trend Micro's blog reports this stuff on a regular basis.
Google already tags some websites as 'potentially dangerous' in their search results. Microsoft already has some heavy duty trust filters built into Internet Explorer 7 and other products like Microsoft Defender and One Care.
Some countries block specific websites for much different reasons. That's a different problem.
The Net Neutrality proponents feel that the Internet should be 100% open. In many cases this also makes perfect sense. There's a lot of websites out there that you may want to visit, that someone else could decide is bad?
Do we need Internet cops?
There is already tons of hardware and software available to protect you or your business.
This one should be left to education of consumers, small businesses and others.
I, for one, don't want ICANN, Microsoft, a consortium, or anyone else filtering what I can do or see. Maybe FREE virus stuff for consumers? Better filters that you can turn on and off? I hope that's where this is going.
The GOOD thing that this initiative is already doing, is raising public awareness.
Note: It sounds like I've been 'Microsoft bashing' this past week. I think Microsoft is one of the most interesting companies in my lifetime, have been a supporter of their Freedom to Innovate Network ,and more. Simply calling it as I see it (as always), as these individual announcements are made.
UPDATE: The RSA is hosting their own conference May 19-22 in Las Vegas. A member of your staff should probably be there !?