09 F9 11 02 and the death of DRM

Okay, I don’t usually comment on things like this but something really exciting is happening right now on the internet and I have to document it. I just came on line right now and dig.com, the social news website is flooded with the hex number “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0”. I then look at my Jaiku feeds (an internet presence feed) and see that flooded with the hexadecimal number “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0”. I even notice that the greatest tech journalist of all time and CheifTWIT Leo Laporte has even posted “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0” to his Jaiku feed. So what’s going on?

So I do a Google search of the number “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56
C5 63 56 88 C0” I find a Wikipedia article and go to the page only to
find a message that the article has been removed and blocked from being
! Wikipedia denied me information! I go to Wikipedia to find
the answer to everything…. what is going on?!

Well… it turns out that this number 16 hex pairs number is the HD-DVD processing key that was discovered months ago. This little number allows the unauthorized playback of copy protected HD-DVD’s. So why all the fuss today?

This number is flooding the internet because the AACS, the company who created and manages the HD-DVD copy protection, issued cease and desist orders to Google, Blogger.com, Digg, and other websites ordering that they stop the dissemination of this number. You can see the letter to Google here. Google and Blogger.com forwarded the letter to users of their products that had the number in emails or other data stored on their servers requiring them to delete the information. Digg took a more drastic approach deleting articles and banning users. In response almost every article on Digg now is about the hex number or has the hex number in a comment. People are creating email addresses with the number, people have created pictures with the number, there is a mySpace page for the number!

As far as I know you can’t copy protect a number, I mean I really like the number 23 but can I own it? What has made people so upset it that Google, Digg and other blogging sites have stretched forth the heavy hand of censorship. It’s one thing to be actively encouraging the breaking of laws and instructing on how to do it, it’s an entirely different matter to be discussing it.

Long live freedom of Speech!

We’ll see if Digg and this post survive to see May 2nd.


Update: 10:50pm, I noticed that the story has even made it to The Drudge Report


and of course Gizmodo