HCPP 2019: The past, present and future of Opt-Out with Open and Libre Hardware

Abstract

[Talk by Matthias Tarasiewicz] FOSH in the past years has moved away from being a small niche and has developed to a relevant movement with significant and well-known projects. Open Science Hardware offers an opt-out potential against centralisation, as visible in the Safecast Crowd Science Geiger Counter, which offered concerned people a chance to fact-check radiation levels after the Fukushima incident in Japan. Open Hardware has a success story to tell – but what does “open” in this context mean? How open can hardware be, post the age of microcomputing? Verifiable hardware could even help future nuclear disarming (see 34C3, “Vintage Computing for Trusted Radiation Measurements and a World Free of Nuclear Weapons“). In contrast, the actual hardware landscape is neither very open, nor verifiable. Additionally, HSMs and TEEs are challenging zero-trust by introducing novel attack vectors [12]. Mistrust in modern day processors are growing, especially after “Spectre”, “Foreshadow” and “Spoiler”. Full Opt-Out possibility is presently not possible, Free and Open Source Silicon can the first step to a Zero-Trust society – but the future remains speculative.

The past, present and future of Opt-Out with Open and Libre Hardware is part of “Open Hardware Dialogues” a program by RIAT in the context of the #OHM2019 Open Hardware Month.

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