May 3, 2007

[Digg] The Digg Revolt of 2007

Yesterday (GMT+8), something wonderful/horrible happened. People Power, cyberspace style.


In what is undoubtedly a landmark in social news, the Digg Revolt has forced Digg to bring back Dugged items that were taken down due to a cease-and-desist order by the Advanced Access Content System (AACS).

The said letter had called on Digg to delete items that contained a sixteen digit hex code that can be used to decrypt AACS-encrypted HD DVDs. The Digg CEO had explained the reason for the take down.

Not accepting the explanation (and due to the unpopularity of DRM in general), bloggers and Diggers had continued blogging and digging the hex code, to the point that the Digg system was almost threatened by shutdown due to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. It was a clear message to Digg.

The Diggers have spoken. The founder of Digg has heeded the Diggers' call.

1. It is hard to balance free speech with copyright laws.
2. Censorship does not really work, specially in these times.
3. A Web 2.0 app can be taken down by a DDoS, just like any other Web site.
4. There is a thin line that divides legitimate dissent and a simple DDoS.

My View:
Digg could have saved itself the trouble. The AACS key in question applies only to older HD DVDs. Newer ones can have new encryption keys. Besides, if someone can encrypt, another one can decrypt.

DRM is really a contentious issue. It all boils down on how a digital property is used. And the hex code is not the end of the controversy.

(Crossposted here.)

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