I've had a number of questions from Hardware 2.0 readers concerning the AACSLA (AACS Licensing Authority) and why they're now trying to erase the HD-DVD processing key forbidden numbers" from the Internet.
What a slap in the face for the AACS is must have been when the lowly hackers, armed with nothing by memory dumps and a lot of patience, discovered serious weaknesses in the AACS protection mechanismMy take on this is that this round of attempted censorship has nothing to do with piracy whatsoever, there's a far more powerful force behind it. Going after Digg and Cory Doctorow's blog is all about one thing and one thing alone - saving face.
AACS was supposed to be a triumph of technology over piracy and fair use. It was supposed to mean the end to perfect one-to-one duplication of movies. It cost a stack of cash to develop and probably costs a fair bundle of greens a year to administer, but it was all going to be worth it. Dollars and high tech would be reign victorious over the lowly hackers.
What a slap in the face for the AACS is must have been when the lowly hackers, armed with nothing by memory dumps and a lot of patience, discovered serious weaknesses in the AACS protection mechanism. And what a kick in the shin for the AACSLA it must have been when the processing key was discovered.
But worst was yet to come.
Pretty soon it became clear that the AACSLA had been overconfident and made a serious error of judgement by allowing the same processing key for pretty much all HD-DVD discs currently in circulation. Having AACS defeated was one thing, but for it to have come to light that this was helped by the fact that the AACSLA had been sloppy must have dented the movie studios confidence in the AACSLA to be able to protect their interests.
I'm pretty sure that the AACSLA didn't have a clue that they were kicking a hornet's nest by trying to censor the likes of Digg. I'm pretty sure that some suits at the AACSLA thought: "Hey, we can just censor the Internet!"
The Internet has spoken: "Oh no you can't!"