Take a complex adaptive system. Introduce network effects. Introduce artificial scarcity. Prepare for meltdown.
It’s one way of describing what happened during the New York Blackout. As the grid itself, along with the system for managing it, grew like Topsy, it became harder to see the wood for the trees, harder to make abundant resources look scarce, harder to protect against simple exogenous events.
It may be one way of describing the reasons for the current credit crunch. Capital markets are complex adaptive systems. For embedded leverage read network effects. For illiquidity read artificial scarcity, which, when combined with embedded leverage, increases opacity. It then gets hard, very hard, to protect against simple exogenous events. Might as well fart against thunder.
Enterprise architectures are already complex enough, a legacy of the proprietary architectures and walled gardens of vendor-dominated worlds; network effects are also much in evidence, as the number of connected people, devices and associated services increases exponentially. Adding artificial scarcity to this potent mixture is not advisable, it gets harder to protect against simple exogenous events.
DRM is artificial scarcity. Nothing more, nothing less. In general, all poorly thought out security policies are nothing more than attempts at implementing artificial scarcity.
For every artificial scarcity, there will be at least one equal and opposite artificial abundance. And that artificial abundance may be the exogenous event that tips the whole fragile environment into fibrillation.
Complex adaptive systems can be regulated, but not by head-in-sand post-facto regulation approaches. There’s a lot we could have learnt from the antivirus experience, a lot we can still learn. Unless, of course, we want history to repeat itself. Which we seem to be willing to do in capital markets, whatever’s left of them.
Poorly implemented firewalls and even more poorly implemented security policies to do with identity, authentication and permission already blight the landscape of enterprises. Consider very carefully the effects of adding path pollutants like DRM to such a toxin-laden environment.