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The Register: Stealth plan puts copy protection into every hard drive; ramifications enormous

Dec 22, 2000, 15:16 (23 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andrew Orlowski)

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"Hastening a rapid demise for the free copying of digital media, the next generation of hard disks is likely to come with copyright protection countermeasures built in."

"Technical committees of NCTIS, the ANSI-blessed standards body, have been discussing the incorporation of content protection currently used for removable media into industry-standard ATA drives, using proprietary technology originating from the 4C Entity. They're the people who brought you CSS2: IBM, Toshiba Intel and Matsushita. The scheme envisaged brands each drive with a unique identifier at manufacturing time."

"The proposals are already at an advanced stage: three drafts have already been discussed for incorporating CPRM (Content Protection for Recordable Media) into the ATA specification by the NCTIS T.13 committee. The committee next meets in February. If, as expected, the CPRM extensions become part of the ATA specification, copyright protection will be in every industry-standard hard disk by next summer, according to IBM."

"The ramifications are enormous. Although the benefit to producers is great - bringing the holy grail of secure content one step closer - the costs to consumers will be significant. For example, corporate IT departments will be unable to mix compliant and non-compliant ATA drives as they try to enforce uniform back up policies, we've discovered. Restoring personal backups to a different physical drive - a common enough occurrence when a disk has failed - will require authentication with a central server. Imaging software used by OEMs and large corporates to distribute one-to-many disk images will also need to be modified."

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