Sunday, May 06, 2007

Information made free

On the Boston Globe's Brainiac blog, here, Joshua Glenn reports on a subversive move on 5/1 to publicize the string of hexadecimal numbers that are the code to unlock HD DVDs. This was evidently prompted by a bunch of "cease and desist" letters sent to hacker websites offering the code to the relatively small bunch of visitors to those sites. In retaliation, these web denizens fit the number string into images on the web, making it much more difficult to search and find them. In a second blog entry, Glenn explains the word "steganography" or hidden writing from the Greek.

steganography, a way to conceal a coded message inside an innocuous-looking photograph, document, or other bit of media. ... ...steganography is Greek for "covered writing." When the ancient Greeks wanted to transmit a secret message, we were informed at Boston Latin School, they'd shave the head of a messenger, tattoo the information on his scalp, wait till his hair grew back, then send him off on his journey.
The word applies excellently to this insurrection, as this image titled "Takedown This!" at New Freedom blog,

The whole tempest is an illustration of the philosophical gulf between the guardians of intellectual property and those who believe the Internet makes all information free.

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