Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Am I old enough to watch "RAY"?

My partner Sam and I were trying to watch Ray on my ps2 last night, but somehow a parental control was set on it that prevented us from watching the dvd.  Now, it lets you temporarily raise the level by entering a passcode, but I don’t know what the passcode is.

No net access at our place right now, so I called up my man Chris A and he googled the problem for me.  As I suspected, there is a backdoor for forgetful parents and secondhand purchasers.  Hitting select and 7444 lets you delete the passcode.  

Any kid with access to the net can find this.  So you can either keep your kid away from the web, keep your kid away from the web without parental supervision, or keep your kid from the set without parental supervision.  
You can’t rely on technology to do the parenting for you.  This is not going to change.  Any company would be foolish to not build in a backdoor for their customers.  And once it is in there, the word will get out.   It’s the same problem that all digital rights management has:  where do you keep the secret so that the system is usable and valuable?  I cannot emphasize how much you should follow that link.

And what do you do when entities don’t comply with your secret scheme?  Porn dvds don’t trigger the lock because porn publishers have little incentive to trigger parental controls.  They are too small and they are too cheap to invest in enabling parental controls.  It doesn’t make them any money or save them any.  

Nothing substitutes for being involved with your kids.  And nothing substitutes for delivering value to your customers.