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Sklyarov Arrest Follow-up 386

Posted by michael
from the crack-ROT-13,-go-to-jail dept.
Randy Rathbun submitted a Reuters article about the arrest of Dmitri Sklyarov. Cryptome has collected the press release and criminal complaint filed against Sklyarov by the United States, at the urging of Adobe Corporation. The complaint specifically mentions the ROT-13 "encryption" used by at least one "protected ebook" company, so the jokes made about the DMCA before are now true: crack ROT-13, go to jail. Sklyarov is currently imprisoned without bail. We've received a note that another Russian developer who was at the conference with Sklyarov has posted more information about the arrest - can someone provide a translation in the comments? Update: 07/18 10:57 PM by S : This Las Vegas Sun Article provides more interesting details (Thanks to possible for the link).
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Adobe Arrest Follow-up

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    He faces up to five years in jail and a $500,000 fine

    And the average sentence for rape is what, 2 years?

    Crimes against property are becoming more punishable than crimes against people. Sort of indicative of a society that values property more than people. Now we're starting to see that attitude reflected in laws. It's just more apparent when you are prosecuting against property that doesn't 'exist'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:10AM (#77085)
    Don't buy it, it's not about the encryption or about DEFCON... it's about publicity - The popular media doesn't know what ROT13 is... TELL THEM... The FBI is trying to use this as a publicity stunt to "be tough on computer crime"... make it backfire on them.

    Contact your local paper and give them this additional information, they may have a story getting ready for print on it.

    ~ Signal 11

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:41AM (#77086)
    From July 11th to 16th together with coleague Dmitry Sklyarov, who was presenting a report, I attended the Defcon 9 conference in Las Vegas. On the morning of July 16th Dmitry and I left the hotel with the intention of going to the airport. We still had half an hour before the flight was supposed to leave when right at the front entrace to the hotel we were approached by two young men, yelling "Hands on the wall, FBI!". At first we thought this was somebody's idea of a bad joke (fed jokes were very popular at the conference). Dmitry laughed and tried to reply to the two men. The men, in a very rough manner, repeated, "Hands on the wall!!" I was asked for the hotel room key and was asked in for a talk. A little bit later Dmitry was brought in wearing handcuffs. Two more FBI employees arrived who were probably patrolling the street before. Dmitry asked to recuff his hands in front of his body as it was uncomfortable for him to sit down. The request was denied. One of the FBI men introduced himself and said that I was not under any threat and that they only came for Dmitry. He politely asked whether I would be willing to talk. In response to my question of why my friend was being detained he answered that it was based on the DMCA-an American copyright law. The initiator of the judicial process was Adobe Software. The FBI men refused to give any further details saying that they were only following orders. They asked Dmitry to take his things "so that they wouldn't get lost in America". In response to the question of what will happen to Dmitry they answered that he will be taken to the local FBI office where he will be questioned and later on brought before a judge who will carry out the final decision. All of the above happened at the Alexis hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. On my way to the airport I was trailed, very obviously actually. As soon as I tried to make a phone call in the airport a policeman ran up to a neighboring phone and pretended to call. He never did call anybody.
  • The DCMA was passed.

    He broke the law.

    Except that it wasn't passed in Russia, where he wrote the code and published it.


    ...phil

  • by Enry (630)
    Wrong. I can break into my own home as much or as little as I want to.


    Quit splitting hairs. You know what I mean. You can, of course, break into your own house. Though using dynamite might get you some questions from the ATF...
  • by Enry (630) <{ten.agyaw} {ta} {yrne}> on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:23AM (#77089) Journal
    Your reasoning is good, but the logic is flawed. Breaking and entering is a crime, no matter how you do it. That part is true. And so is illegally copying and distributing software or eBooks. What Dmitri was arrested for was announcing "the emperor has no clothes", which never was, nor should be, a crime.

    In many locations in the US, having lockpicks is not a crime (source: MIT lockpick guide). HOWEVER, using lockpicks in association with a crime is an additional offense in itself. The same should be true for software.
  • Simple. I can own an E-Book and have every legal right (via first-sale doctrine) to, for instance, print it out and read it at the park. However, the E-Book can be set to be unprintable. This tool allows me to print out this e-book which I have every legal right to print but cannot because the publisher decided to set these bits.

    What's wrong with that?
  • Posted by polar_bear:

    I'm officially ashamed to be a citizen of the United States. We've just managed to create what will end up being an international incident to protect the "intellectual property" of a corporation.

    This really sucks for him, but maybe this will be the straw that breaks the DMCA's back. (Please, oh Please....) If this ever makes it to the Supreme Court I don't see how the law would survive scrutiny...

    Welcome to the 21st century version of feudalism. Anyone who thinks they're living in a "free market" is sorely mistaken, and this should be an eye-opener. The power in this country has effectively been taken from the voters and common citizenry and placed in the hands of the corporations and major political parties. I wonder if it's too late to undo the damage that we've allowed to happen.

  • And your analogy with the Firestone truck is flawed: the information of flaws in the tyres is of public interest and did not emerged throug eavesdropping in the company's files.
    If some software company lies by claiming they have good encryption, when in fact it is merely rot-13, the DMCA makes it illegal to TELL anyone about this fact. Are you trying to imply it isn't in the public interest to be told that a company is lying about their product?
  • *blink*

    So... the DMCA is a good thing, but doesn't go far enough. It should require *strong* encryption.

    The DMCA isn't about protecting your personal right to privacy in emails or documents. It's about the formation of a new corporate definition of copyright that never expires. It's about blocking fair use. It's about giving the copyright holder absolute control over how the copyrighted material is used (eg. only played on approved DVD players).

    It disallows decryption when the user intends to pirate, for sure. But it also disallows decryption when the user simply wants to make use of the content.

    Perhaps I've misunderstood your post. Correct me if I'm wrong. Perhaps you merely intended to (justifiably) slam Adobe for selling flawed encryption.
  • From the "Track Statutory Language of Offense" section of the "Criminal Complaint" document

    ...circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects...

    Surely the "protection" has been proven ineffective, and therefore this law doesn't apply?
  • I mean, how old is that cifer ?

    Well, it's called a "Caesar Cipher" for a reason...
    --
  • You are missing the point. It is illegal for someone to trespass, quite regardless of what they break, take or whatever. If they pick the lock on my house, wander about for a bit, then leave, locking the door behind them, it's still illegal. The illegality remains quite regardless of how primitive my lock is, if I left the window wide open or whatever.
  • Why is it laughable? It is an encryption mechanism, end of story. It's a perfectly reasonable one, with a number of properties:

    1. Very easy to implement (small, fast)
    2. Very easy to decrypt ciphertext
    3. Trivial to brute-force, has other known weaknesses and attacks (vulnerable to freq. analysis etc).

    There are many applications where ROT-13 is a suitable cipher mechanism (profane usenet messages being just one).

    I can't be bothered to reply to every lame slashbot remark about ROT-13 here, but I've yet to see anyone indicate precisely where ROT-13 was used and if it was actually used inappropriately or not.

    For instance, an eBook might want to use ROT-13 as a child lock so that adult eBooks, even when purchased, could be weakly encrypted by the owner to prevent children reading them.
  • ...Adobe secretly ROT-13'ed the part of the DNA helix containing the secret of intelligence, and won't give anyone the key.

    Seriously, this is scary stuff. Not because Adobe chose to exploit the law in their favour - heck*, companies need publicity to survive. What is scary is that the media and the majority of Americans see absolutely nothing wrong in Adobe's actions.

    *According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a heck is a bridge with fish under it. What this has to do with the above paragraph is best left to the imagination of the reader.

  • CNN now has a short article on their news website. Oh, wow.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:33AM (#77105) Homepage Journal
    The filing makes a reference to an alleged offence comitted outside of the jurisdiction of the United States, and to a -reference- to said offence, within the United States.

    In short, this arrest would seem to not be about the software, but rather the speech. This implies that the DMCA's coverage of "devices to circumvent copy-protection" includes verbal instructions, not merely physical or virtual "devices".

    In the same way as the judge ruled that links to the DeCSS code were essentially the same as publishing the DeCSS code itself, the filing implies that verbal descriptions of the devices covered by the DMCA are the same as those devices.

    Ok, so this would seem to explain the action, and provide precident through the courts. It would also imply that, should he be found guilty, he's not going anywhere soon.

    On the flip-side, it would also mean that if the arguments fail in court, due to a competent judge, the DeCSS appeals will certainly be helped, as there will then be a precident which contradicts the DeCSS judge's interpretation.

    This could utterly destroy America, or it could totally pulverize those laws which exist to create and maintain a corporate Empire.

  • by Peter La Casse (3992) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @07:01AM (#77106) Homepage
    Breaking and entering is a crime, no matter how you do it.

    Wrong. I can break into my own home as much or as little as I want to. I can smash through my windows, I can break my doors down, I can pick my own locks [although the legality of possessing lockpicking tools varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction], etc. I can even dig a tunnel from my front yard into my basement, using dynamite to blast through the wall!

    In many locations in the US, having lockpicks is not a crime (source: MIT lockpick guide). HOWEVER, using lockpicks in association with a crime is an additional offense in itself. The same should be true for software.

    I'm with you 100% here... well, 50%, anyway. Committing a crime is committing a crime, and that's that. I'm not so sure that particular methodologies deserve the specific additional punshments associated with them. E.g. if my wife is murdered because of her race, she's still murdered, and locking the murderer up for 20 years or 200 years won't bring her back. But that's another issue entirely: the point is that the tools themselves should not be illegal if they have legal uses.

  • Maybe the original poster should report you to the FBI and have you arrested. If enough people do this, well, not much will change, but a lot of people will be in jail.
  • From the court documents:

    Adobe learned that Dmitry Sklyarov is slated to speak on July 15, 1001

    And we trust those wacky knuckleheads at Adobe with encryption of literature, when they can't even get verb tense right.

    Looks like it's time to boycott Adobe products, citing a "chilling effect" on the marketplace.

    ".sig, .sig a .sog, .sig out loud, .sig out .strog"

  • And there are (or were) many people that could read ROT13 jokes without the aid of said unix
    one-liner (tr A-Za-z N-ZA-Mn-za-m).

    It wasn't an effective deterent.
  • I, for myself, would not really care to attend tech events in the US anymore. Many other fellow developers around the world are probably felling the same.

    Because the tool he made was perfectly legal in his country.

    Because, you look at the judicial events of the last 12 months in US, US judges will almost always line up with the big corporation WITHOUT EVEN considering the small guy side fairly.

    Because, if this case holds water, DMCA can then be construed to arrest any developer of any project that may harm a corporation IP. Doesn't DeCSS runs under Linux? Isn't then Linux a tool propiciating a IP theft? Shouldn't we then arrest this Linus guy and this other Alan guy?

    So, let us keep our distance from our american fellows. After all, we have the Internet to exchange ideas while our phisical bodies are safely away from the hands of the FBI.
  • He is not a "criminal" until he is convicted a crime. I might add that this habit the US has of extraterritorially claiming jurisdiction over foreign nationals for acts they commit ON FOREIGN SOIL is nonsensical, and bound to backfire on Americans some day. Imagine the stink the US would kick up when a US citizen is arrested for actions he committed WHILE IN THE US!, but is then prosecuted for in a third country.

    Sound impossible?

    That is what has happened here.

    And don't even get me started on Adobe and "corporate morality!"

    ROT13 Indeed.

    Unbelievable.

    D
  • Is the "Rot13" encryption we're talking about here really what we geeks think of as "ROT-13"? I only ask because, according to the PPT slide in the DefCon presentation:
    • Clone of "Rot13" sample plug-in, which supplied with Acrobat 4 SDK
    • Uses fixed encryption key for all documents
    • Key could easily be found as text string in the body of plug-in

    It's the last two bullets that I'm curious about. "Fixed encryption key" implies something more than simply "rotate by 13", and "key found as text string" sort of enforces that thought. Does anyone have experience with the Acrobat plugin sample that the 1st bullet refers to?

    This may be just an example of some company naming their proprietary system after a cool geek-friendly phrase...

    ...or, it may actually be ROT-13. Does anyone know for sure? What'd they say at the presentation?
  • Exactly (and I agree). I was trying to underscore your point, not rebut it. :-)
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @08:59AM (#77123)
    Rot-13 wasn't really used as encryption on USENET. There was no secret key or password, no confidential information so protected (if some foolish neophyte did post a "private" message using rot-13 they were profoundly mistaken in its use, and doubtless learned a humiliating lesson ... just like Adobe).

    Rot-13 was used to prevent the accidental reading of a USENET posting which might be offensive to the reader. Things like explicitly sexual or graphic stories would typically be rot-13ed, with a plaintext note prepended saying, in effect, "the following may be very offensive to you so I've encoded it with rot-13, use the 'r' key in your newsreader to decode and view the text if you're sure you want to read what follows."

    For a company to adopt such a scheme, with such a history, as a fundamental part of its so-called content protection product is to defraud its customers, in particular the content providors who have been misled to believe their content is, in fact, protected. To then seek to hide their incompetence behind an ill-considered law such as the DMCA and arrest the whistle blower on criminal charges is, itself, profoundly criminal.

    Imagine if safety issues were involved, such as incompetently written medical software, and the whistle blower we being treated like this. There would be a justifiable public outcry and demand that the perpetrators of the fraud should be punished, perhaps even imprisoned. This is no different -- public fraud has been committed and those guilty are misusing our corrupt legal system to incarcerate the person who has publicly exposed them. Unconscionable, as are the despicable /. posts I see here supporting the arrests as somehow "appropriate" or "technically ok." At no level is this kind of injustice tolerable or ever even remotely alright, whether it is cloaked in the thin guise of ethically bankrupt American law or not.
  • by OWJones (11633) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @07:11AM (#77124)
    Yes, a rot13-based encryption scheme is mentioned in Skylarov's talk, is covered by his decryption software, and is mentioned in the court papers. But the main reason he's being arrested is because Adobe filed a complaint about their own PDF-locking software being defeated, and Adobe's system is more sophisticated than rot13.

    But the simple fact that ROT13 can even be listed as an "encryption technology" should be setting off huge warning alarms. "Ecryption" should be a bit more extensive than "can be decoded in a few minutes by a five-year-old with a Cocoa Puffs Secret Agent Decoder Ring."

    -jdm

    PS. Apologies to whatever company made the ROT13 encryption; I didn't mean to imply a five year-old could decrypt the eBook on their own. They may need their seven-year-old sister's help with some of the bigger words.

  • I mean, how old is that cifer ?

    ROT-13 is a specific case of a Caesar-cipher, which it is called since Julius Caesar used them in ancient Rome, I believe.

    So, 2000 years old give or take a few hundred...

    Of course this bad hacker must be imprisoned for cracking something that's been secret for so long!

  • Personally, if someone charged me $3000 for a lock on my house for me to only find it was a keyless slide bolt, I'd be suing that contractor rather than supporting their right to hide the fact that it was a slide bolt through their own lawsuits.
  • Do take note of my new Slashsig--which I've added to my email/USENET sig, since I was 1 line under McQuary anyway . . .

    --
  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:15AM (#77133) Homepage Journal
    Is available currently for download at:
    www.download.ru/defcon.ppt

    It doesn't seem that incriminating. Oh, wait, this is the DMCA we're talking about...
  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:05AM (#77134) Homepage Journal
    Well, IMHO, anyone using ROT-13 deserves to get hacked. They should know that modern techniques and good security practices require using at LEAST two rounds of ROT-13, or 4, if you're really that paranoid.

    I guess my old .sig was more apocryphal than I'd hoped:

    --
    Under concerns of security and information privacy, the above message has been encrypted in an advanced version of a standard adopted over ten years ago for transmission of secure ASCII-based information over insecure, public newsgroups.

    Please be advised that only text-based readers that can handle at least TWO CONSECUTIVE rounds of ROT-13 encryption will be able to correctly parse the information contained herein.

    Any attempt to undermine the encryption methods employed will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Chapter 12.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @08:12AM (#77137) Homepage Journal

    Violate the law. Openly. Loudly.

    Nah, we have found the natural evolution of American activism: outsource our patriotism to Russians. Let Russians stand up for our rights. Yeah, that's the ticket!


    ---
  • by sethg (15187) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:25AM (#77138) Homepage
    Yes, a rot13-based encryption scheme is mentioned in Skylarov's talk, is covered by his decryption software, and is mentioned in the court papers. But the main reason he's being arrested is because Adobe filed a complaint about their own PDF-locking software being defeated, and Adobe's system is more sophisticated than rot13.

    If the only complaint against Skylarov was from the rot13 system's vendor, that would be another matter entirely.
    --

  • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:25AM (#77139)
    ROT-13 is just each character shifted by 13 places, so "a" becomes "n", "b" becomes "o", etc.

    To "decrypt" the message, ROT-13 again, as "n" becomes "a", and so on.

    Some people can read ROT-13ed ascii as is.

    To describe ROT-13 as encryption is laughable.

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • by Mike Schiraldi (18296) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @07:50AM (#77142) Homepage Journal
    Yes, breaking into your house is illegal and should be. And using eBook reader to "steal" a book is illegal and should be.

    But that's not what we're talking about.

    This Russian guy has not been accused of stealing an electronic book. He's been accused of trafficking in software which could theoretially be used to steal a book.

    It would be like arresting me for saying, "Hey, if you throw a brick through a window, you can break into TomV's house!" or for releasing a report saying, "Yale brand locks are ineffective -- you can break them with a screwdriver!"

    --

  • My kid has a set of alphabet blocks that just happen to double as ROT-13 decoders. Aside from being kinda cool, would this be considered an illegal hacking tool under DMCA?

    I know this is sort of a Barney Frank "Do I desecrate my tie" question, but isn't there a line to be drawn somewhere?


    The clear place to draw the line is shown in the relevant piece of mind-drunk legislation, emphasis mine:

    2. Title 17, United States Code, Section 1201(b) states in relevant part:

    (1) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -

    (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof;


    It can be argued safely that ROT13 is not an effective encryption technique. A competent lawyer can get this Russian gentlemen off easily.

    Contribute your child's ROT-13 decoding blocks as a defense exhibit. Demonstrate how these blocks can decrypt a passage in the book. Then watch the judge try to keep a straight face....
    --
  • Is it just me, or does everyone find it cool that TERRA is GREEN in ROT-13? There has to be an environmental statement in there somewhere....

    --
  • by B.D.Mills (18626) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @05:43PM (#77145)
    First, read this comment on ROT'13: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=01/07/18/11362 44&cid=524 [slashdot.org] and note the bit about the Child's blocks.

    For a really good press conference, get hold of several sets of these ROT-13 children's blocks, an eBook, and a video projector.

    The script would run as follows:

    "For those who are not informed as to the issues, here is a demonstration of the techniques used in the alleged circumvention software."

    A set of the children's blocks are laid out so the letters are in alphabetical order and are clearly visible. They are encased in a simple harness so they can all be flipped at the same time.

    "Here we have a set of children's blocks, which are readily available from many toy stores all around the nation. The blocks have letters on both sides. Watch what happens when we flip all the blocks over."

    The blocks are flipped, revealing the letters on the other side.

    "Notice how the letters on the blocks now run from N to Z, then from A to M. In the computer industry, this technique is called 'ROTATE 13' or 'R-O-T-13'."

    The video projector displays a portion of the encrypted eBook.

    "Here is a section of an eBook. Tou will notice that it appears to be encrypted."

    Another set of children's blocks are laid out in another harness with the first encrypted line of the eBook.

    "We have used another set of blocks to duplicate the first line in the eBook. What what happens when we flip these blocks."

    The blocks are flipped, and a line about Big Brother from the novel '1984' is revealed.

    Here is the sound bite:

    "This case is about the alleged circumvention of an alleged technological measure designed to protect copyrighted works. But a protection technique that can be cracked by a two-year-old with toy blocks cannot be considered by any sane person to be effective."

    Ouch. This will hit below the waterline.
    --
  • does not mean 'hard to crack'. It means that, in general, the mechanism protects the work. It doesn't have to be strong encryption at all; that's why the DMCA sucks.
    It could be a single 'copy-me' bit, and if someone develops software to get around it, they are violating the DMCA.
  • by YoJ (20860) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:47AM (#77147) Journal
    People "crack" substitution cyphers for fun nowadays. It's one of the puzzle types in those puzzle magazines you buy.

    On that thought, maybe that's a good way to explain the "decryption" to the judge. Take an actual excerpt of an eBook encrypted file, then give it to your mother to do just like those cryptagram puzzles. Get her to write up an explanation of how she worked it out, and mail it to a friend. Show the judge the puzzle and her solution, then demand that they also throw your mom in jail for circumventing the encryption on the eBook (and distributing the crack)!

  • They can keep him without bail as long as they think there is the risk he'll leave the country... And, as a citizen of a foreign country, that's exactly what he'd do.
  • Nothing like human translation:




    11 to 16 of July I spent in Las Vegas at Defcon 9 conference together with Dmitry Sklyarov, employee of your company, who was delivering a presentation at the conference. In the morning of 16 July Dmitry and myself were checking out from a hotel and going to the airport. We had about 1.5 hours till departure. When we were aproaching the exit, two young men came to us screaming "hands up, this is FBI!". Thinking that this is somebody's dumb joke (as the Feds were quite frequently a subject of jokes at a conference), Dmitry loughed and even tried to reply something. However, he was rudely ordered "hands to the wall"! I was requested to surrender a key from the hotel room and invited for a conversation. A bit later Dmitry was also brought to the room. He was already hand-cuffed. Another two FBI agents arrived, apparently they were patroling the street. Dmitry had asked to move hand-cuffs forward, as it was very uncomfartable to sit with hands behind. His request was rejected. FBI agent introduced himself and said that they have no further questions to me and they are here to arrest Dmitry. They politely asked for a conversation. To my question "Why was Dmitry arrested?" I was told that he is charged with DMCA violation -- American law on copyright protection. Investigation and charges were initiated by Adobe. FBI agents have not provided me with any additional details, claiming that they are only executing an order. I was asked a few formal questions, to which they already obviously knew answers. They also asked me to pick up Dmitry's belongings explaining that they "may get lost in America". When asked what is going to happen to Dmitry, they said that he will be taken to the regionl FBI office to clarify a few more things, after which he will be taken to the judge that will make the final decision. All of this happened in Alexis Park Hotel, Las-Vegas, Nevada. On the road to Los Angeles I was followed, fairly inconspiciously. When I tried to call from a phone booth in the airport, a police officer had rushed to the booth next to mine as if to make a call. He has not called anywhere.

  • ...but they won't let you change your mailbox color.

    Some of my neighbors won a hard-fought victory to allow them to change their mailbox to a different color (green, very attractive). I think they did it just to see what it would take. Being retired and very thick-headed and taking amusement at the utter stupidity of the bureaucratic mentality was reason enough I guess. Anyhow, now almost all of us on the cul-de-sac now sport nice green mailboxes.

    Score: -1 Off-topic
  • by Icepick_ (25751) <icepickNO@SPAMnetfamine..com> on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:13AM (#77153) Homepage
    Quick and very dirty:

    Details of arrest of Dmitry Skljarova from July, 11 till July, 16 I was in Las Vegas on conference Defcon 9 together with the employee of our corporation Dmitry Skljarovym who addressed to on conference on the report. In the morning, July, 16, we together with Dmitry have quitted from hotel and were going to go in the airport. Before flight remained about one and a half hours. Directly at an output(exit) from a door to us two young men, with shouts " hands on a wall, FBI came! ". Having decided(solved), that is whose unsuccessful joke (and of conference rather frequently joked concerning ôåäåðàëîâ), Dmitry has burst out laughing and even something has tried to tell in the answer. However to it(him) in some more rough form it was told " hands on a wall! " . For me have asked a key from a hotel room and have invited for conversation. Hardly later into number have entered Dmitry. It(he) was already in handcuffs. Two more employees of FBI who probably, inspected street came. Dmitry has asked to move handcuffs forwards as with the hands connected behind it is very inconvenient to sit. To it(him) it refused. The employee of FBI was presented and has told, that to me claims are not present, and they came to arrest Dmitry. In the polite form it was offered to have a talk. On my question " for what have arrested Dmitry? " The answer was given, that to it(him) accusation of violation DMCA is showed(presented) (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is the American law on copyrights. The initiator of litigation and consequence(investigation) is Adobe company. More employees of FBI have not informed any details, referring that they only fulfil the order. To me formal questions on which they certainly already knew answers were given some. Have asked to take with itself things Äèìû, motivating it is that, that " as though they were not lost in America ". A question on further destiny Äèìû have answered, that right now it(him) will take in local office of FBI where will clarify still any questions, and then to the judge who will make final solution. All above described has taken place in Alexis Park Hotel, Las-Vegas, staff(state) Nevada. On road to Los Angeles me watched(kept up), and rather roughly. As soon as I at the airport have answered the phone the officer of police has on the spot run up and has pretent, that wants to call from the adjacent phone. Anywhere it(he) and has not called. The details concerning conflict ElcomSoft with Adobe, you can read on a site of ElcomSoft company. The official official report of the officer of FBI which delayed Dmitry, it is possible to look here. Andrey Malyshev, ÝëêîìÑîôò company, July, 18, 2001.
  • (All together now...)

    IANAL

    But...

    The circumvention of security measures for educational and research reasons is explicitly protected. That is what this is.

    Even if developing software and selling it commercially is illegal (okay, it probably is) the software was developed and only sold outside of the US (specifically, Russia).

    Now, even though the US is a pretty damned big and important country (and let all those silly French people be damned. It's true. Don't fight it. Admit it;) its sovereignty does not extend over the borders of Russia.

  • Show the judge the puzzle and her solution, then demand that they also throw your mom in jail for circumventing the encryption on the eBook (and distributing the crack)!


    Now we know where all the people on /. are getting it from!!

    (The crack. As in "Gimme some of what you're smoking.")

  • by Rupert (28001) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:30AM (#77156) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office should be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Jacobs at (415) 436-7181

    Or maybe we should just get jonkatz to call them? He's a member of the press, right?

    --
  • True, the presentation was a DMCA violation...

    ... I think this calls for an ORGANIZED* protest at the US Mission... perhaps the one outside the U.N. would be apropriate.

    *Organized means providing a few weeks notice to the community, obtaining the proper permits, and notifying the press... all things that could be very helpful in insuring a LARGE and VISABLE turnout.
  • No, the DMCA is about copy protection. Copy protection can always be broken. Doesn't matter how good an encrpytion algorithm is used, because the player has to decrypt the content to use it. If the means to decrypt it are in the player, then you can make a decrpyted copy.
  • by LarsG (31008) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @12:39PM (#77159) Journal
    U.S. copyright protection law conflicts with laws in Russia, Germany and Scandinavian countries which require software makers to provide a way for users to create a backup copy,

    Norwegian copyright law says that it is legal to make a backup copy of a computer program if needed. However, it does not say that software makers are _required_ to provide a way for creating backups.

    So no, Adobe software is not illegal in Norway.

    /.'ers capable of reading norwegian can find the relevant paragraph here:
    http://www.lovdata.no/all/tl-19610512-002-029.ht ml
  • It seems that this poor fellow was arrested, in part, for making and distributing a ROT-13 decryptor.

    Amusingly, any ROT-13 encryptor is an effective ROT-13 decryptor. And Adobe obviously has a ROT-13 encryptor hanging around.

    This means that somebody at Adobe is guilty of exactly the same crime...

  • My interpetation of what he means is that:

    The code was a cut and paste from the ROT-13 code, with a few lines changed, so that it used a different fixed position cypher.

    In otherwords, it didn't do ROT-13. That comment is about how much time they actually spent writing the plugin (virtually nil)
    --
  • If the only complaint against Skylarov was from the rot13 system's vendor, that would be another matter entirely.

    Would it? The DMCA doesn't require that the technological measures be effective. It merely requires that they be present, and that the software is commercially available and designed to break the encryption. So yes, as far as I can tell, if I took your money and gave you a script which breaks rot-13 (hint: #!/bin/sh\ntr a-zA-Z n-za-mN-ZA-M, but you got that for free, so I'm not a criminal. Yet.), you could throw me in jail.

    NOW do you realize how bad the DMCA is?
    -russ
  • But it's not illegal to tell you how to break windows, break down doors etc. It is illegal to tell you how to break encryption. In both cases, there are legal uses for the information. People have had to break windows when there is a fire, or if they loose their keys. People have also had to break encryption if the encrypted version doesn't allow their fair use rights, or even to decrypt their own documents that the key has been lost for.
  • Strong encryption cannot be broken, which makes the law redundant.
  • This worries me a bit

    It worries me a lot. It you get arrested returning from Thailand, how easy would it be for you to get the evidence to prove you're innocent? The proof you might require could be half a planet away.

  • Nobody has yet said (AFAIK, and I've read every news piece on this dangerous case that I could) whether this poor kid has a lawyer yet, but he needs one BAD now, before he talks too much to the cops. I REALLY hope EFF's [eff.org] watching...
    JMR

    (speaking ONLY for myself, again)

  • I sent my form letter discussing my disappointment with Adobe's actions to 20 or so adobe.com email addresses yesterday. I don't know if it helped but I did it. Did you?

    --

  • I don't have them handy but they were in the original thread from yesterday, fairly close to the top. HTH

    --

  • One illogical american is no match for one immoral CEO. If a CEO of a major corporation hasn't lied to 10 people by 9:00 AM he will be fired.

    The problem is that the CEOs of major corporations have are immoral slimeballs.
  • At better way may be to mention the decryption puzze found in many news papers and mention that the letter substution never changes so A is always M.
  • If he is convicted, it would set a strange precident;

    Quite a few countries (UK for instance) have laws that allow 'child sex tourists' to be convicted in their home country for paedophile acts comitted in countries with less-strong child protection, as if the crime was comitted domestically. This worries me a bit [but I tend to fall in with the mob in saying they deserve whatever they get, I'd just prefer it if the 'peds got time (and a bloody good buggering) in the Bancock Hilton, rather then Spacklerweg Hilton (a very comfortable prison here in Amsterdam)].

    And yes, I live in the Netherlands too, US customs can already get really 'funny' about that. I have heard that some countries (Singapore?) have laws where they can, and do, test returning citizens (not forigners) for THC (cannabis/mary J) use and convict them after they return from the Netherlands.

    Remember, you'll never hear a politician saying 'We need fewer laws' (Unless they have been bribed by a big corporation who do not like a law that puts power back to consumers).

    EZ
  • IIRC, this works as a extradition replacement, so the police and courts in the country where the offence is commited pass the relevent data to the UK police. Rather than request extradition, which is slower and more expensive for them. The standards of proof still have to match UK law, and come through the official channels with everything gathered under oath and attested to by the courts. This aspect of the law was debated and modified a lot to address the more obvious concerns. But yes, you might end up needing to hire legal representatives in both countries..

    EZ
  • > example: That Athlon chip is just sand (silicon) and very small trace amounts of inpurities, ordered via IP into a way that makes it of greater value than the equivalent weight of sand.

    Except that it still costs a significant amount of money to "re-arrange" that sand in such a way as to become an Athlon. You know, even though processors become much cheaper once the research (IP) is amortized, they do not become completely free either. It takes quite a little bit more effort to make an Athlon than to write your name (or even your price essay...) in the sand.

  • You misunderstood. To continue with your sexual example: you go to europe, screw some 16 year old, no one arrests you. But as soon as you go to the US, you'd promptly get arrested as a sex offender. This without having broken any laws in the US.
  • Violate the law. Openly. Loudly. Celebrate people who do it and get caught. Maximize the effort required to enforce the law - minimize the impact of getting caught. If you haven't noticed, there are many people doing this.

    This is called civil disobedience, and it's a common way to raise the awareness of unjust laws. I agree and applaud this.

    BUT... remember, just because you proclaim a law unjust, and violate it in an effort to publicize it's unjustice, does NOT relieve you of the consequences of violating the law.

    So, go ahead and stage your civil disobedience, but be prepared to be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and convicted of a crime.

    All of that being said, I applaud anyone who is actually willing to do this for this clearly unjust law. As the sole bread winner for my family, I can not afford the risk. The most that I can afford is to contribute to the EFF, and ask my elected representatives for an accounting of how this law can remain on the books.
    --

  • ROT13 is a well known, weak, and well known to be weak, encryption. Also it's an obvious one, seeing a text in gibberish, but all ascii, 'words', and some short words that repeat then ROT13 is a good guess. In Unix De/Encrypting is a one-liner. I remember it being used in some usenet groups (alt.jokes.* or so) to prevent people from accidentally reading a joke they might find offending. After seeing some of those Messages i could almost read it faster than press the button to decrypt it.

    So i always considered ROT13 'encryption' as a low hurdle to show you made an attempt at preventing a casual reader from reading something he might find offensive. If you must use an analogy then a fence with stairs over it to keep the cattle in, but let people pass would be more like it, than a house with a weak lock. Or like putting a book on a high shelf, to prevent the young one from stumbling over it. The letter analogy is flawed anyway because anyone who wants to look at the letter must get it from your mailbox first. Again a better analogy would be to put an opened letter face down on your table to prevent someone else in the room from scanning over it. Basically you trust in that persons good judgement not to flip the letter over when you go for the loo.

    If the law doesn't protect your file from unwanted readers in the first place, then ROT13-encyption sure won't do either.
  • Maybe someone should seek clarification on 'effectively' from a lawyer? It would be nice to know what the courts think it means.
  • That paragraph strikes me as the type that lawyers would, in fact, have lots of fun trying to mangle and understand in context in a court-room.

    To me, its not even logically sensible.

    "... requires /x/ with the authority of the copyright owner to gain access to the work."

    As another poster stated, ROT-13 (and most other cryptosystems) can be decoded without any attention given to the Copyright holder.

    Note that I used "decoded" not "hacked" or "bypassed" since there is no logistic difference beetween my ROT-13'ing an E-book with my own program or with Adobe's.

    The difference is that the Copyright holder has at some point supposedly made me agree to only use Adobe's software to read the book. :-)
  • I don't think he was arrested for the presentation. He was arrested for selling the program that the presentation is about. The presentation is just evidence.

    He was literally arrested for his ability to read books!
  • by bwt (68845) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:53AM (#77192) Homepage
    The DCMA was passed.
    True. So was the First Amendment.

    He broke the law.
    The DMCA broke the law. He violated an illegal law.

    Now, I personally think the law is stupid, and there are a great deal of other laws I think are stupid. However, the law is not unconstitutional (well, it hasn't been ruled unconstitutional yet), and therefore he is a criminal.

    As were the Bostonians who threw the tea into the harbor. As were the patriots who fired on the Redcoats at Bunker Hill. As were the blacks who wouldn't sit at the back of the bus. As am I.

    Now, jurisdiction issues aside, what's left to do?

    Violate the law. Openly. Loudly. Celebrate people who do it and get caught. Maximize the effort required to enforce the law - minimize the impact of getting caught. If you haven't noticed, there are many people doing this.

    If the people who most clearly see and understand the injustice (us) are not willing to risk anything to oppose it, then we should just admit that we deserve no rights and that we will bend over and obey unjust laws.

    Can you tell me exactly why we should obey a law that is a violation of our rights and a betrayel by Congress and the Courts of their Constitutional duty. Only a sheep would obey such a law. Are you a sheep?
  • Are there any international law experts around?

    Technically, the only thing the US can do is revoke his visa (passport/whatever) and kick him out of the country. In practice, the police (FBI/whatever) don't ask for proof of citizenship before they arrest you -- they don't care.

    I suspect this will end up as an international "incident". Someone from the Russian Consulate will have to go through the proper channels to get their citizen released.

    And, unless he was selling or otherwise knowingly distributing the program while at DefCon (or anywhere on US soil), he wasn't breaking any law. Even posessing the program on his laptop is not illegal. However, the act of publication has yet to be tested as everyone has backed away when faced with law suits.

    (First amendment or not, the DMCA will not be thrown out. Personally, I find the DMCA utterly stupid -- it's a law that makes it illegal to break numerous pre-existing laws.)
  • The US tourist industry would suffer considerably if every visitor were subjected to summary arrest by the FBI on trumped up charges under a law that completely favours corporations. I would hardly call arresting a foreign visitor like this, no consequences. Think of where the guy is from, he might be frightened for his life right now, fearing the sorts of things that used to happen to prisoners in Lubyanka prison. Even today, Russian police are not the most gentle of folks.

    I would say this has at least the potential to do some serious mental harm - I hope that if they do drop the charges he turns around and sues them for wrongful arrest.

    I am so thankful I live up here in Canada, where so far we have avoided laws such as the DCMA - but then we are starting to emulate the worst aspects of the US (while ignoring the better ones completely of course) more and more each day, so I had better enjoy it while it lasts...

  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @07:23AM (#77205) Homepage Journal

    Describe ROT-13 in terms of "Secret Decoder Rings". These plastic toys have been around for ages, lending a familiarity to the average US citizen who is technically uninformed.

  • You can't legally use competing software either at circumvents the protection device by using another product instead.

    Can someone translate that into english, please?

    --
  • by JoostT (88174) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:09AM (#77217)
    The russian was arrested on the basis of the DMCA. But the utility for which the Russian was arrested was not for sale in America when he was arrested.
    It is also higly debateble if the utility is a violation of the DMCA because it only is usable by persons who own the Ebooks it operates on, and you need to provide the pasword to use the utility. So it is a utility with a lot f
    non infringing uses (fair use anyone). I higly informative collum about the issue is to be found here:
    http://www.ebookweb.org/opinion/roger.sperberg.2 00 10712.aebpr.htm
    http://www.ebookweb.org/opinion/roger.sperberg.2 00 10715.aebpr.htm
    A quote:
    "In Russia, apparently, it's illegal to sell software without the ability to make "at least one backup copy of the data it works with." So? That's Russia. I'm in the U.S., land of the free and so on. What does it matter if a
    Russian company makes software that enables the purchaser but no one else to make a backup copy of data sold by foreigners who violate Russian law?
    Joost
  • The article is actually far more informative than the postings to /. It makes it clear that the prosecution is for the sale of the software _not_ the presentation at the conference. Furthermore it makes it clear that US jurisdiction is present because sales were processed by a US company.

    I am no fan of the DMCA, but this case is more along the lines of prosecuting someone for selling lock picks to criminals than presenting a paper on the use of lock picks by criminals. The /. sensationalism doesn't make this clear, and undermines meaningful discussion of complicated issues.

  • You would think that this would give publishers and book sellers an easy open for a lawsuit against Adobe for being so incompetent... I would find that as good justice right there.

    That's like finding out my bank left the front door and the safe unlocked and someone came in and stole my money. You bet I'd be suing the bank.

  • He just keeps going to court and appealing until the supreame court hears the case and rules the law unconstitutional


    --

  • Wow, I was trying to prove my point by reduction ad absurdium, (not the logical fallacy read on for an explanation). When you boil it down to the essence encryption is nothing more that a foreign language. What the DMCA is basically saying is that we have no right to learn a foreign language to so that we can comprehend media in that language. Doesn't make sense does it? But my reduction does make logical sense, and it seems to me that lawmakers don't seem to work out the implications of their decisions.

    I wasn't aware at the time of my post that something like this was already going on. I'll have to look into that.

    It's getting to the point where I just want to leave the field, bury my head in the sand and never touch a computer again.

  • by jgerman (106518) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @08:12PM (#77240)
    I'll reply anyway for the benefit of others. There is a distinction between reduction ad absurdium (the logical fallacy) and reduction ad absurdium (to show the silliness of a concept). Which is why I pointed that out in my original post.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but your point seems to be that if someone says that they intended to hide something that it should be wrong and not if otherwise. This is the absurdity. To begin with, who determines whether or not something has been "hidden" well enough to imply protection? In this case I'd say rot13 isn't quite enough, though adobe seems to think differently. Contrary to your belief, I believe that if I have some type of media, I can extract any meaning from it I wish, and instruct others on my thought processes that led me to those meanings. The meaning in a painting (especially an abstract one) is hidden (encrypted) often times, but I am certainly allowed to point out to anyone who cares to listen what the meaning is. The artist has no right to try to stop me because he/she did not want me to see that meaning.

    If you want to keep something secure, keep it in your head, if you make it public, it is public, I don't care what your implenentation of it is, you've given up your ability and to hide it. And morally, IMHO, you have no business telling me what I can or can not derive from it.

    What if I were to write my posts in haxor-speak. Would it be illegal for someone to write some code to change it back to english so that they could understand it? I think not. Otherwise we will have a legal system that prosecutes publishing houses for translating literature to other languages without permission. Encryption is a nebulous word. In fact if it's reversible it's not encryption in the strictest sense of the word, it's obfuscation.

  • by jgerman (106518) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:21AM (#77241)
    This post is encrypted in the "english language method", any attempt to decipher meaning from these symbols is a violation of the DMCA. This includes, but is not limited to: interpreting the symbols through use of biological, visual decryption devices, translating the symbols into another language encryption scheme, and digital processing the sybols into a form conducive to aural intrepretation. Thank you for your time.
  • No, that's $10 you'll never have in your pocket, and possibly never would have anyway.

  • This software is usefull for reading e-books on any platform that has .pdf support but no support for reading Adobe protected docs (i.e. Linux, *BSD, PalmOS, etc...).

    I, for one, like reading e-books on my Handspring visor, but this limits me to things released in (or easily converted to) palmdoc, or pdf format. This software would allow me access to a much greater variety of reading material.

  • Can you imagine the shit that would fly if the shoe was on the other foot and some american lecturer in russia got sent to a siberian prison?

    If our government's (nonexistent) actions regarding the detention of Li Shaomin [princeton.edu] and other American citizens for "spying" by China are any indication, I'd predict that the shit wouldn't even make it off the ground.


    --Fesh

  • Hrm, guess that means that every company that ships a newsreader or programs like this [cnet.com] should be under investigation right now.
    Trafficking a circumvention device, right?
    Not to mention what they could do to C|Net for LINKING to these implements of mass destruction!
  • by jea6 (117959) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:23AM (#77257)
    V nz Fnz Fnz V nz Gung Fnz-V-nz! Gung Fnz-V-nz! V qb abg yvxr gung Fnz-V-nz! Qb lbh yvxr terra rttf naq unz? V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. V qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz. Jbhyq lbh yvxr gurz urer be gurer? V jbhyq abg yvxr gurz urer be gurer. V jbhyq abg yvxr gurz naljurer. V qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Jbhyq lbh yvxr gurz va n ubhfr? Jbhyq lbh yvxr gurz jvgu n zbhfr? V qb abg yvxr gurz va n ubhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz jvgu n zbhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz urer be gurer. V qb abg yvxr gurz naljurer. V qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Jbhyq lbh rng gurz va n obk? Jbhyq lbh rng gurz jvgu n sbk? Abg va n obk. Abg jvgu n sbk. Abg va n ubhfr. Abg jvgu n zbhfr. V jbhyq abg rng gurz urer be gurer. V jbhyq abg rng gurz naljurer. V jbhyq abg rng terra rttf naq unz. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Jbhyq lbh? Pbhyq lbh? Va n pne? Rng gurz! Rng gurz! Urer gurl ner. V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg, va n pne. Lbh znl yvxr gurz. Lbh jvyy frr. Lbh znl yvxr gurz va n gerr! V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg va n gerr. Abg va n pne! Lbh yrg zr or. V qb abg yvxr gurz va n obk. V qb abg yvxr gurz jvgu n sbk. V qb abg yvxr gurz va n ubhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz jvgu n zbhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz urer be gurer. V qb abg yvxr gurz naljurer. V qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. N genva! N genva! N genva! N genva! Pbhyq lbh, jbhyq lbh, ba n genva? Abg ba n genva! Abg va n gerr! Abg va n pne! Fnz! Yrg zr or! V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg, va n obk. V pbhyq abg, jbhyq abg, jvgu n sbk. V jvyy abg rng gurz jvgu n zbhfr. V jvyy abg rng gurz va n ubhfr. V jvyy abg rng gurz urer be gurer. V jvyy abg rng gurz naljurer. V qb abg rng terra rttf naq unz. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Fnl! Va gur qnex? Urer va gur qnex! Jbhyq lbh, pbhyq lbh, va gur qnex? V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg, va gur qnex. Jbhyq lbh, pbhyq lbh, va gur enva? V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg, va gur enva. Abg va gur qnex. Abg ba n genva. Abg va n pne. Abg va n gerr. V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz, lbh frr. Abg va n ubhfr. Abg va n obk. Abg jvgu n zbhfr. Abg jvgu n sbk. V jvyy abg rng gurz urer be gurer. V qb abg yvxr gurz naljurer! Lbh qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz? V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Pbhyq lbh, jbhyq lbh, jvgu n tbng? V jbhyq abg, pbhyq abg, jvgu n tbng! Jbhyq lbh, pbhyq lbh, ba n obng? V pbhyq abg, jbhyq abg, ba n obng. V jvyy abg, jvyy abg, jvgu n tbng. V jvyy abg rng gurz va gur enva. V jvyy abg rng gurz ba n genva. Abg va gur qnex! Abg va n gerr! Abg va n pne! Lbh yrg zr or! V qb abg yvxr gurz va n obk. V qb abg yvxr gurz jvgu n sbk. V jvyy abg rng gurz va n ubhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz jvgu n zbhfr. V qb abg yvxr gurz urer be gurer. V qb abg yvxr gurz NALJURER! V qb abg yvxr terra rttf naq unz! V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz. Lbh qb abg yvxr gurz. Fb lbh fnl. Gel gurz! Gel gurz! Naq lbh znl. Gel gurz naq lbh znl, V fnl. Fnz! Vs lbh jvyy yrg zr or, V jvyy gel gurz. Lbh jvyy frr. Fnl! V yvxr terra rttf naq unz! V qb! V yvxr gurz, Fnz-V-nz! Naq V jbhyq rng gurz va n obng. Naq V jbhyq rng gurz jvgu n tbng... Naq V jvyy rng gurz va gur enva. Naq va gur qnex. Naq ba n genva. Naq va n pne. Naq va n gerr. Gurl ner fb tbbq, fb tbbq, lbh frr! Fb V jvyy rng gurz va n obk. Naq V jvyy rng gurz jvgu n sbk. Naq V jvyy rng gurz va n ubhfr. Naq V jvyy rng gurz jvgu n zbhfr. Naq V jvyy rng gurz urer naq gurer. Fnl! V jvyy rng gurz NALJURER! V qb fb yvxr terra rttf naq unz! Gunax lbh! Gunax lbh, Fnz-V-nz! All that AND copyright infringement to boot!
  • Explain first that what these companies were doing, especially the ROT-13 bit, is exactly like taking a document and printing it in pig latin. Then you can explain the similarities. You'll see the lightbulb go off.
  • by TomV (138637) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:10AM (#77297)
    Scary... they write poor encryption nowadays and make up for it by simply arresting anyone who cracks it.

    I'm sort of in two minds about this..

    • On the one hand, I really don't like the DMCA approach to IP, and am very thankful I live in a country without it. So far.
    • On the other hand, There's a law against Breaking and Entering my house. Now, in a sense, my house has poor protection - the brick walls are only a foot thick, the windows have easily breakable glass... in short, any fool with a bulldozer or a bit of semtex (hello echelon!!) could break in if they really wanted to. But there's still a law against their doing so. Without which I'd have no legal recourse if they chose to do so. It's my responsibility to take some reasonable precautions, and if I do, then an Insurance company (not the state) will mitigate my losses. But it's not my responsibility to make sure my house is a castle with a moat, portcullis, 12 foot thick granite walls and an army ready with the boiling tar.
    But if I were to be criminally liable merely for mentioning the thing with the bulldozer, which seems to be the DMCA way, that would be as close to Justice as Paris is to Betelgeuse.

    TomV

  • by rneches (160120) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:08AM (#77308) Homepage
    Is there any way we can write to him while he's sitting in jail? Even if he knows he's on the side of right, it could still mean a lot to him to get some good letters of support.

    I've never written to anyone in jail or in prison before, so I don't know what's entailed.

    --

  • by Fat Rat Bastard (170520) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:30AM (#77321) Homepage
    In many locations in the US, having lockpicks is not a crime (source: MIT lockpick guide). HOWEVER, using lockpicks in association with a crime is an additional offense in itself. The same should be true for software.

    EXACTLY. That's what's so nafarious about the DMCA, it goes WAY beyond criminalizing actions and criminalizes things that *could* be used.

    If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

  • by saider (177166) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:32AM (#77328)
    On the other hand, There's a law against Breaking and Entering my house. Now, in a sense, my house has poor protection - the brick walls are only a foot thick, the windows have easily breakable glass... in short, any fool with a bulldozer or a bit of semtex (hello echelon!!) could break in if they really wanted to. But there's still a law against their doing so. Without which I'd have no legal recourse if they chose to do so. It's my responsibility to take some reasonable precautions, and if I do, then an Insurance company (not the state) will mitigate my losses. But it's not my responsibility to make sure my house is a castle with a moat, portcullis, 12 foot thick granite walls and an army ready with the boiling tar.

    You cannot copmare tangible goods to IP. They are not the same. If someone takes your stereo, you are deprived of a stereo and must spend money to get a new one. If someone copies your prize essay, you still have your essay. You do not need to rewrite it. The only thing is you have lost a potenital revenue stream. This is what everyone is trying to protect.


  • by Prior Restraint (179698) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @07:00AM (#77337)

    A lawyer is unnecessary. Here is the actual wording of the law:

    17 USC, 1201(a)(3)(B) a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

    Source is here. [cornell.edu] So Adobe implements ROT-x encryption, sets x = 13 (which must be "applied" to gain access), and has full rights under the DMCA.

  • by xmutex (191032) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:02AM (#77345) Homepage
    Scary... they write poor encryption nowadays and make up for it by simply arresting anyone who cracks it.

    That's some excellent logic. We should have arrested the families that lost people in the Ford/Firestone wrecks because they managed to find a way to strip their tires of tread.

    I love America.
  • by cbowland (205263) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:20AM (#77358)
    Here is a link to the NY Times article [nytimes.com] on this story.

    Welcome to the future as owned by coporate america.

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

  • by h4x0r-3l337 (219532) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @10:37AM (#77365)
    This idea that a citizen of one country, engaged in acts within that country which are legal in that country, can be arrested in another country for those acts, is truely scary. Though it does seem to be the latest trend.

    This is perfectly normal. It is legal for me to have (consensual) sex with a 16 year old in most European countries. If I tried this in the US, I'd be arrested and sent to jail. When in a country, obey the laws of the country, even if they are different from the laws in your home country.
    Don't forget that this is about more than just breaking the encryption. This person was giving a presentation on how to do so in the US, where giving such a presentation is (probably) illegal under the DMCA.

  • Then only the outlaws will have decryption tools.

    Am I the only one who finds this scary?

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • by Heywood Yabuzof (255017) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @06:23AM (#77398)
    I was wondering what, exactly, he was arrested for (selling, distributing, or creating the product) but then I read this from the complaint:

    2. Title 17, United States Code, Section 1201(b) states in relevant part:

    (1) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -

    (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof;

    Yikes! Am I reading this correctly - you can't even write such software just for testing purposes? Or as proof-of-concept? I thought Adobe was upset about him selling the product, but I guess he can be arrested just for making it.

    I also found this interesting from the Reuters article:

    U.S. copyright protection law conflicts with laws in Russia, Germany and Scandinavian countries which require software makers to provide a way for users to create a backup copy, Katalov said. ``So, in reality, Adobe software is illegal in Russia,'' he said.


    Is that really correct? Anybody know anything about copyright law in those countries? It just sounds kind of strange.
  • by jeffl56 (468789) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @08:44AM (#77466)
    It would seem to me writing to Adobe is of moderate use. To me, writing to the PRESS and making sure they get it is probably of better use of people's eloquence. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, SF Examiner, Boston Globe, Washington Post and the like are going to be dying to cover this story but will probably get it wrong ("hacker arrested"). : Furious activity is no substitute for getting things done.

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