Princeton prof Ed Felten (whose work with Alex Halderman on the Sony DRM mess was nothing short of genius) has begun a new series unpicking the failings in HDCP, a crippleware system for home video that is being built into next-gen PCs, game-consoles and home-theater equipment.
The official story is that HDMI is a security measure, designed to stop infringers. It's been known for years that HDMI has serious security flaws; even Wikipedia discusses them. HDMI's security woes make a pretty interesting story, which I'll explore over several posts. First I'll talk about what HDMI is trying to do. Then I'll go under the hood and talk about how the critical part of HDMI works and its well-known security flaws. (This part is already in the academic literature; I'll give a more accessible description.) Finally, I'll get to what is probably the most interesting part: what the history of HDMI security tells us about the industry's goals and practices.