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That Key

I didn't bother blogging the 09-F9 key when the rest of the global intarnets were going bos about it, because, well, the rest of the global intarnets were going bos about it. However, I've been asked what my favicon is:


I gave a brief description of what the 09-F9 key is in my last post. I also described how posting the key on my website, as follows:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
makes me a violator of the DMCA, and thus naughty in the eyes of American law. However, a lot of questions arose during the whole debacle. One of them was that, since simply posting a piece of text containing the number is illegal, would it not also be illegal to post an image of the number? What about a song whose lyrics contained the number? What if you encoded the number and made it into an image? Are all of these things also suddenly illegal, because the AACSLA picked that number and said "it's ours"?

To return to the point, the insightful among you will have gathered that my favicon is an encoding of the 09-F9 key. The top half of the key is a binary encoding of the numbers: each black block is a zero, each white one is a one, and they form the binary representation of each number in the key. The bottom half of the key is what you get if you take each part of the key as a colour index, and band that colour across the image. I just thought it was cute, and made it my favicon. It's not the most attractive icon, and I'll probably get bored of it after a while, but there you have it.

Ban the blog

A while back, David Bullard published an article calling all bloggers "anonymous, scrofulous nerds". The response was amusing. Bloggers from all over South Africa lashed out at him, apparently causing the largest amount of traffic on the South African blogosphere ever.

I'm not going to comment on that whole little fiasco, apart from saying that trolls should always be ignored, without exception. What I do find interesting, though, is a headline from today: De Lille urges crackdown on Internet blogs.

If Patricia de Lille knew anything about the internet, she would know this is a surefire losing technique. She has basically picked the most vocal, and by far the most enabled community in the whole country, and then gone ahead and pissed them the hell off. "Bullardgate" shows that bloggers are keen for a fight. But the 09 F9 fiasco of a few weeks ago1 shows that you cannot censor the internet. Anyway, why the hell would you want to? Because somebody said something mean about your dude? Shame, man.

1. The 09F9 fiasco happened when the AACS Licensing Association sent out takedown notices to a number of websites which had a certain number on them. This number, to be precise:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
This number is the key that certain software needs in order to play encrypted DVDs - using this key, one can bypass the encryption and copy protection, and thus allow the DVD to be played anywhere. When they sent these takedown notices out, there were only a few sites hosting the key, and it had received relatively little attention. The takedown notices outraged the freedom-loving citizens of the internet, however, and the key started springing up everywhere. It appeared on all the major user-provided news sites, which then tried to suppress it, resulting in an all out revolt on the part of the users. If you google for the number now, you get about 2 million matches, all of which host the number illegally, according to the AACSLA. Just by showing the number above, my blog becomes one of these illegal sites. I'm okay with that, though.
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