Kocher: To me, quantum cryptography is useless. It purports to solve a problem thats already solved. It is an interesting research problem, though. But, youre not going to see quantum computers showing up to do useful things probably in my lifetime and possibly never. But it is the most interesting problem in computing in the last 30 years. Its absolutely fascinating. But, of all the things that keep us awake at night, thats way down there with alien invasions.
eWEEK: Tell me about the work youre doing on copy protection.
Kocher: The studios have real problems. Piracy is illegal, and my job is to solve those security problems. Both sides in this debate are missing the point. Mandating copy protection isnt realistic. The hardware model doesnt work. In our technology, the player carries software with it that runs in a virtual machine. The security is player-centric and is associated with the content. So if the security is broken, its just one movie [thats compromised], not all of them.
eWEEK: I understand that you also found a way to trace illegal copies back to their original owners.
Kocher: If you just use a watermark for forensic purposes, it can be made provably secure. You can apply this to digital content. As decryption occurs, we can encode little differences. Each player has different keys and decrypts differently. The code in the content will decide how that happens. If you copy it, we can trace it to the original owner. Then the studio can take measures to prevent future movies from playing in that player. Were building a stalemate. Attackers will break the security, but then the content owner can have countermeasures.
eWEEK: Have you had discussions with Hollywood about this?
Kocher: Were talking to some studios now. It takes time. Its 20,000 people who all have different opinions. But once we can show them how the technology can work for them, they usually get it.
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