The Register: Hacker research team disputes ‘hack SDMI’ results

“The SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) group has announced,
despite earlier claims to the contrary, that practically all of the
447 entries to the ‘Hack SDMI’ challenge bounced off. This would
mean all in the garden was lovely, if it weren’t for the pesky
Princeton University researchers led by Edward Felten, who stoutly
maintains that SDMI is toast, and says the Princeton team will be
publishing its results by the end of the week.”

“The Princeton team entered the first stage of the challenge,
but declined to move onto phase two. The aim of the challenge had
been to test candidate watermarking and non-watermarking protection
technologies to be used in the distribution of digital music, so a
complete whitewash – as claimed by Salon, a couple of Register
sources and the Princeton team, would have been highly
embarrassing, and would have visibly set back the music industry’s
protection plans some considerable distance.”

Stage two of the challenge, as Princeton points out, was
secretive. Anybody who submitted a likely looking crack at stage
one could move on to two (and had to do so in order to stand a
chance of winning the money), but by doing so would be NDAed into
total obscurity, unable to say a thing about the hack or the
processes. By not playing, Princeton left itself free to publish
results and blow whistles as necessary.


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