EFF pimps X-Box cracker ‘victory’

Not getting enough attention lately

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is pleased to announce that former MIT doctoral student Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang will present a paper explaining a security flaw in the Microsoft Xbox (TM) videogame system," a recent press release begins.

Of course the paper has been available from Huang's account at MIT since April, so any danger from his appearance at a conference is largely imaginary. Huang long ago notified MS of his paper with EFF supervision, presumably appealing to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exclusion for cryprographic research.

MS replied that while it would prefer that Huang not publish his findings, it had no intention of trying to jam him up with the DMCA. If there were an issue here worth reporting, it would have come up some time ago.

This is pure recycled news. Huang's talk is simply an occassion for the EFF to get some publicity mileage for its selfless struggle to liberate us all.

We recall the last non-issue which EFF inflated into gargantuan proportions as Princeton University Computer Science Professor Edward Felten -- who credited himself and his team with cracking the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) Public Challenge -- claimed his 'speech was being chilled' by a vague nastygram from the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) which cited potential DMCA complications if he delivered his findings in public.

After coaching Felten to voluntarily withdraw from a talk in which he was scheduled to spill the beans, the EFF trumpeted this as an example of protected speech being chilled by DMCA threats. Once he'd enacted that choreographed media stunt, Felten later gave his talk at a different conference and survived without a scratch.

EFF has apparently taught Huang to parrot its victim rap verbatim, as the gentleman is quoted in an organization press release fretting conspicuously that, "the DMCA clearly had a chilling effect on my work. I was afraid to submit my research for peer review until after the EFF's efforts to clear potential legal restraints."

Another close call with catastrophe narrowly averted by EFF vigilance, we're sure. ®

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