Chance News 27

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How to own a random number

God created the integers; all else is the work of man, Leopold Kronecker

AACS is the copy protection technology used on HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. The consortium that owns this technology are apparently trying to stop websites and newspapers publishing a specific 128-bit integer that, with suitable software, enables the decryption of video content on most existing HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. As part of this effort, they have claimed ownership of the encryption key, which means that you cannot use, without written permission, that particular 30-digit integer (in base 10) and several million other unknown keys that they apparently are claiming ownership of. Not only that, but the numbers in question were chosen randomly so there is no simple way of knowing if your random choice conflicts with theirs, even if they were know publicly.

Further reading

Did we mention that a shiny new integer would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift?

Submitted by John Gavin.