Our good friend Ethan has done it again, drawing the connection between a recent viral meme, anti-censorship, and human rights in an article on World Changing.

A 16 digit number used as a key to decrypt HD-DVDs became the center of an online revolt against internet censorship yesterday, when it was posted on several blogs, and attempts to stop its proliferation only led to increased popularity.

My interest in the situation has less to do with DVD hacking and more to do with the question of how sensitive information can spread on the Internet. The spread of the number is something of a perfect storm. Many of the techno-libertarians who populate sites like Digg have no great sympathy for digital rights management or the DMCA. The clandestine information – a 16 digit number – is really small, and can be spread through numerous different methods. (As cryptographers have observed, it’s much easier to stop the spread of the video files, which are gigabytes in size, that targeting less that a kilobyte of information…)

Guess video will still be a problem for the foreseeable future.

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