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Digg and AACS

If the New York Times is reporting the story, then it must be safe to link.  To the Times, that is.

As every geek on the Internet knows by now, over the last couple of days has been at the center of a major happening:  a 128-bit processing key — that is, a number — that is used to unlock encrypted video content in HD-DVD and BluRay made its way onto the Internet, and from its initial publication was pushed by Digg users onto the Digg site (which aggregates referrals made by users) — as to which the masters of AACS, the encryption scheme threatened by distribution of the key — made legally threatening noises.  Digg removed the content, but DiggNation, that is, Digg users who pushed links to the key onto the site in the first place, revolted.  Now the key is all but omnipresent online, and Digg has retreated in the face of the user outcry.  The AACS lawyers are considering what to do next.

Wired has a collection of photos that represent the key. 

Randy Picker at the University of Chicago has some thoughts on the situation and the role of civil disobedience.

Wired interviews Digg’s CEO.

Ed Felten provides useful technical background:  Here, and here, and most recently here.

What is the real story here?

(i) Anti-DRM anxiety finally finds a mass audience?

(ii) Web 2.0 comes of age; answering the question “who is the exploited and who is the exploiter” gets both easier and more challenging; power to the people?

(iii) electronic civil disobedience, i.e., a revolt by the mob?

(iv) the inextricable intertwining of art, speech, communication, and technology?

Presumably, some pieces of each.