Friday, September 17, 2010

HDCP Utterly Broken, Intel Doesn't Care

I've been following this story for days now, and it appears Intel has responded saying that the master key that has been released is the real deal. From Ars:

Intel, unsurprisingly, said that it expected HDCP to remain effective. The spokesman told CNET, "There's a large install base of licensed devices including several hundred licensees that will continue to use it and in any case, were a [circumvention] device to appear that attempts to take advantage of this particular hack there are legal remedies, particularly under the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act]."

In other words, Intel and the media companies don't care that their encryption systems offer only token protection and consumer inconvenience; all that matters is that the encryption systems are sufficient to meet the DMCA threshold for a content protection system: the threat of legal action, rather than cryptography, is their real tool against unapproved uses of digital content.

My thoughts exactly; by using an encryption scheme they knew was easily breakable and easy to implement, they can still claim they tried to protect copyrights with this technology so the DMCA applies.

They are wrong about being protected though; its only a matter of time before someone programs a little custom microcontroller or FPGA to use the key to make perfect digital copies of any content over HDMI. Then of course, they make all the code and PCB designs available for free. Hobyists and grey market peddlers alike will start making these things, and probably selling them on eBay. In other words, once something like this gets out, legal action won't be enough to stop its proliferation.

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