VEIL spelled backward is EVIL: Kathryn Cramer and the Sensenbrenner-Conyers analog hole bill

22 Feb

I know, I know. VEIL spelled backward is “LIEV”. However, “liev” is Hungarian for “evil”. Look it up!

Via Boing Boing: Kathryn Cramer investigates the VEIL technology intended to plug the so-called “analog hole”, and the company that makes it.

The analog hole is nicely described on Wikipedia thusly: “…if music can be played on speakers, it can also be recorded. And just as text can be printed or displayed, it can also be scanned and recognized. However, because of its interactivity, software cannot be copied in this manner.”

Why do you and I care? Because if this bill becomes law, this technology will be required in all digital recording devices; and as the Freedom to Tinker bloggers discovered, this specifics of this technology are also secret. So our government is considering passing a law, part of which we’re not permitted to know about. As a result, we can’t participate in the law-making process via open debate and discussion of all its provisions and their implications.

This sets off all sots of alarm bells for Kathryn, including the possibility that our government is being taken for a ride by the media companies.

This is my favorite part. How would you like a way to ensure that your children will never, ever see porn on a computer or a television? Sounds reasonable, yes? One possibility is implanting RFID chips in them that interact with the video signal, so that what displays on a screen depends on who is standing nearby. (This is how certain electronic childrens’ toys can interact with videos.)

The mind boggles at the prospect of a world where access to digital media is user-based. Here’s just one example that popped into my head. When I worked in a bookstore, we flagged some customers as likely scammers and refused to accept returns from them. Suppose the entertainment industry tags someone as a person who is likely to be sharing pirated digital video. They could conceivably block that person from watching television. Not just their own television, but anyone’s. As if that weren’t creepy enough, suppose they mixed that person up with 50 other people with the same name.

Good gravy. I’ll be very interested to see how Kathryn’s research pans out.

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One Response to “VEIL spelled backward is EVIL: Kathryn Cramer and the Sensenbrenner-Conyers analog hole bill”

  1. zia February 23, 2006 at 1:16 pm #

    Our gov’t IS being taken by a ride by media companies. And telecommunications companies. And And oil companies.

    Oh wait, that is the government. Silly me, I forgot.

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