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Cypherpunk MP3 storage system

A secure audio storage system for the people
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Recently in Taiwan, police have begun raiding the university dorm rooms of students suspected of MP3 piracy, at the behest of the recording industry. The industry intends to make an example of them. Students are taking it so seriously that some are physically destroying their hard drives to avoid prosecution and ruin.

This can be a sign of things to come; in a world where moneyed corporations can buy laws (witness the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the recent European copyright directive which all but abolishes fair use, and similar laws elsewhere). As such, it is not that far-fetched to think that, in the not-too-distant future, possession of illegally copied music may be punished more harshly than that of drugs, given that it threatens The Man more directly.

One way of dealing with such a possible situation would be to encrypt MP3 collections. MP3s are highly compressed, low-entropy data, and thus (excepting headers), should be difficult targets for cryptanalysis.

A cypherpunk MP3 storage system would consist of library code or plug-ins linked into players, rippers and such. The MP3 files would be stored encrypted on the hard disk; a list of the files, giving names (highly incriminating) would also be encrypted. The user would have to enter a passphrase to access the key and unlock the data, before being able to play MP3s or even see what's on the system. Ripping software, and even Napsteroid clients and web downloaders, could use the library to write their booty into the encrypted store, without leaving a trace in plaintext. Various duress mechanisms (or even a "dead man's switch", like not pressing a key or moving the mouse for more than N seconds) could cause the system to forget part or all of the passphrase.

acb, Apr 14 2001

Recording industry sues file swapping students http://www.taipeiti...14/story/0000081624
The news story about the dorm room raids in Taiwan [acb, Apr 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       This is baked in many ways. (After all, "cypherpunks write code". Or at least they used to.) Most of the free operating systems have encrypted filesystem support. I think there's even a steganographic filesystem out there; steganography is really what you want here.   

       On the Napster front, see systems like Eternity, Freenet, etc., which are designed to let people store, publish, and exchange politically unpopular information.
wiml, Apr 15 2001

       Don't you mean *high* entropy data?   

       Otherwise, what [wiml] said. I would add that code is not the answer; if things go as you describe, the Man will ultimately make it illegal to use or distribute cryptographic or steganographic techniques, or any other technology which could be used to circumvent direct enforcement of copyright and other content control laws.   

       I don't think this social problem has a (purely) technological solution.
egnor, Apr 15 2001

       Or you could just use a filesystem that's encrypted instead. Several OS's already provide encrypted filesystems including linux, *bsd and even w*dows
lapax, Dec 14 2002


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