It’s time for another entry in our series “Illegal Tattoos”! This time it’s a 128bit number that the AACS LA doesn’t want you to distribute. Why is this number so important? This hexadecimal number was at one time the key to unlock part of the encryption that HD-DVD movies were protected with. When it was first posted to the Web, DMCA notices were filed to try to pull it down before it spread. But anyone familiar with the internet knows it’s virtually impossible to suppress information if people want to share it. The efforts to spread this so called “illegal number” were quite varied, and Rich, a strong advocate of free information, took it one step further than the images, riddles, and media files. He got it inked on his chest. Try to scrub that one AACS LA!
They’ve since changed the encryption key, but it was repeatedly broken until HD-DVD was basically declared a dead format. It doesn’t look like Rich keep his chest “updated” to be compatible with the later released discs though. If you want the full story on the AACS encryption key debacle, wikipedia has a write up with multiple references.