Blu-ray Encryption Defeated & Why I’ll Never buy Windows Vista.

It seems the hackers have been at it again and this time profess to have cracked Blu-Ray disc encryption. Yeah for freedom.

A comment on this article notes that this initial cracking of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray encryption is only possible because people are using Windows XP. Microsoft’s new OS, Vista, is going to plug many of these holes. Microsoft did a deal with the likes of the MPAA and RIAA and have specifically engineered Vista to be much more “secure”.

If you look at the DRM technology in Vista, you realise they have implemented a framework there specifically for Content Protection. Stuff like polling the system a number of times per second, revocation of drivers if its a known leak of HD content, and checking for electrical fluctuations against possible tampering for hardware.

Such technologies will have an affect on system performance and stability. (It doesn’t take a genius to realise where there will be scenarios when the monitoring of certain components is too aggressive and causes problems for the user).

For an indepth analysis of the “cost” to users of Microsoft implementing this technology check out this article by fellow Kiwi Peter Gutmann. Also check out the Security Now podcast for other related stuff.

Not only is Vista more restricted, hardware vendors have been sneaking in hardware onto motherboards and such that has up until now remained dormant, but is poised to strike. Remember the whole “Trusted Computing” issue.

MS is basically “encouraging” hardware makers to implement crap like HDCP and in the future, extra chips in relation to sensing possible modifications to hardware. (called “tilt bits”). Hardware makers need MS, as MS controls 90% of the desktop market.

And implementing DRM technology doesn’t benefit the hardware makers. It doesn’t improve performance, provide new features worthy of selling, etc…In fact, hardware makers try not to emphasize it! (Otherwise, people won’t buy the hardware!)

Its interesting that the law makers have basically made the rules up of how a hardware company is supposed to act. That is, they must prove themselves worthy. What annoys me is that some of the technologies used to enforce DRM can also be used for security of the PC. So PR/marketing dept can use the excuse of security for selling the hardware, when the truth is, its to control the end-user.

And of course most countries have bowed to preasure for the US and WIPO/WTO hegemony and implemented stupid new digital copyright laws.

Stuff like DMCA or in Australia, the Copyright Amendment 2006. (America has infected Australia with a version of DMCA as part of the Free Trade Agreement). 😦

So I’m going to stay away from Vista as long as humanly possible and to stick to open formats like CDs for music. As for movies, well the internet is rife with that stuff… Broadband is the future, not this optical media crap.

In the end industry will listen to peoples wallets. Don’t spend your money on products that restrict your freedom. Don’t buy mainstream dross, check out alternatives, use You Tube, etc.


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