The German Government is now deeply suspicious that the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology built into a growing number of Windows 8 PCs and tablets is creating a gigantic back door for NSA surveillance, leaked documents have suggested.
Documents from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs obtained by German title Zeit Online uncover the alleged unease of officials at the direction of version 2.0 of the standard being developed under the auspices of the multi-vendor Trusted Computing Group (TCG).
TPM has been marketed as a security and Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology since its appearance in 2006, but version 2.0 would embed a chip on every PC that has complete control over which OS software can and can’t run, a setting not designed to be over-ridden under Windows 8. The chip is also where the cryptographic data is stored for Windows BitLocker and it enables remote administration.
During TCG meetings, German officials appear to have expressed concern about the potential for abuse but were “rebuffed,” Zeit claims. The documents also refer to the NSA having representation at the meetings and the statement “the NSA agrees” in the context of leaving the technology in its current (presumably unreformed) state.
The full context of this reference is not clear from the Zeit article but the implication is disturbing; the NSA thinks that TPM 2.0 does not offer a barrier to its operations.
After recent machinations it all sounds very feasible.