World's first DeCSS executable prime number

    Date11 Sep 2001
    CategoryCryptography
    5132
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Mathematician Phil Carmody, who in March of this year managed to encode the DeCSS source in a prime number, has upped the ante by producing a prime number which represents an executable version of the banned CSS descrambler.. . . Mathematician Phil Carmody, who in March of this year managed to encode the DeCSS source in a prime number, has upped the ante by producing a prime number which represents an executable version of the banned CSS descrambler.

    Legally this is all a bit squishy, as the DMCA forbids us to make available an access-control circumvention device. All well and good, not that we've tended to care what the DMCA allows or forbids; but this item is also the fruit of mathematical research which the public certainly has a right to see.

    It's a fine legal paradox for the recording industry to chew on. Is research illegal because it could in some tiny degree weaken their monopoly over the production and distribution of digital media? Or does the public's right to be informed of academic developments make a circumvention device legal when it also exhibits academic value?

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