I woke up this morning (da da-da da DUN) to what sounded like a Microsoft spokesman explaining on theToday program, how they were going to break email.  I half feared it, half didn’t believe it.

A bit of research shows me it’s worse than I thought.

Say hello to Information Rights Management, and fear.

Apparently this was announced some time ago; I guess I just missed it.  This Inquirer article comes from February, and back in September a site callled Open Source Politics discussed the pros and cons in ‘Microsoft Information Rights Management…Threat or Menace?

If there is hope, it lies in two areas, I think.  Open source/free software can be part of the solution, of course.  As the Open Source Politics article suggests, something like this is going to come sooner or later; it just doesn’t have to be Microsoft’s implementation.  In conjunction with that, we have to hope (and exert any influence we may have to ensure that) companies, governments and other Microsoft-using organisations realise that this move may welll decrease their data security and increase the degree to which they’re in thrall to Microsoft.  With such realisation they might kick Office 2003 into the long grass, where it belongs.

Otherwise it might be time to start saying goodbye to the Information Age as we have known it, and hello to the age of total information control.