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Hi-def hacking war heats up
Published: 2007-05-02

The fight to salvage the copy protection system defending high-definition videos has heated up.

This week, a grass roots movement comprised of video hackers, opponents of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and consumer-rights advocates started spreading throughout the Internet a 128-bit code key critical to the decryption of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The key -- called a Processing Key -- was found in February through reverse engineering the data left in memory by a specific HD DVD player and can be used to play back or copy the video content protected by the encryption mechanism, known as the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), used by both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.

On Monday, aggregation site Digg.com responded to a notice from the AACS Licensing Administration by removing any story containing the 128-bit processing key. Angered by the site's compliance, readers submitted more stories containing the number and voted the stories back onto the front page. In a statement on Tuesday, Digg.com's Kevin Rose said the site would no longer censor stories that contained the key.

"Today was an insane day," Rose wrote in the blog posting that included the key in the title. "After seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be."

Digg.com is not the only Internet aggregator targeted by the AACS LA. Two weeks ago, Google received a notice from the association demanding that it remove any search links that contain the key. The search giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the notice. Others have also posted the number: BitTorrent tracker site Pirate Bay, which suffered a takedown in June 2006, posted the number to its front page, and even a body-modification site has posted the key as the answer to a series of questions.

The AACS LA issued an update on April 16, but the fix does not solve the problem for the hundreds of HD DVD and Blu-ray movies already released.



Posted by: Robert Lemos
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Hi-def hacking war heats up 2007-05-02
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