The World Wide Web Consortium has decided to go ahead with a technology that will let companies like Netflix stream encrypted video using Web sites -- against the wishes of the Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and 25,600 petition signatories.
The Web standards group announced the move Thursday, to nobody's surprise. Entertainment-industry players had approached the group three years ago to discuss the technology, Microsoft has been helping develop it, and Google already has built the specification, called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) into Chrome. W3C Will Go Ahead With Encrypted Media Extensions Web Video Technology [news.cnet.com]
Apart from abandoning the principle of open standards (a disaster in itself), consider who and why.
Google pushed for this. This is almost certainly because they want to add DRM to YouTube. Given Youtube's popularity this is likely to mean a Google DRM plugin will be come the standard for web video - i.e. Google will do to online video what Amazon is doing to ebooks and gain a near monopoly on distribution. The launch of a Youtube subscription service confirms this.