Thursday, August 31, 2006

Intel eyes copy protection for wireless

I finally got to talk with Stephen Balogh, director of content protection for Intel Corp. today. He gave the DisplayPort group backhanded compliments for their efforts on an extra strength copyright protection scheme. But wireless, not greater security, is where the action is in copy protection today, he said.

Intel is interested in moving to a wireless transport like ultrawideband its High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology used in the wired High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) now shipping on millions of digital TVs and set-tops. The company is having “lots of good discussions with lots of people but nothing has gelled yet,” Balogh said.

Philips is leapfrogging Intel with its DisplayPort Copy Protection (DPCP) by moving from 40- to 128-bit keys, supporting new crypto algorithms such as AES and providing features that make sure transmitters and receivers are not distant points across the Internet.

“They are doing a pretty good job as far as the state of the art for copy protection…but it’s a Fort Knox in the least likely place for people to try to steal content. There are lots of easier places for people to go steal content,” he said.

Disney and Warner Brothers have signed on to use HDCP. Maintaining compatibility with that technology is more important than bolstering security, he said.

HDCP is “still vibrant enough to meet the studio’s requests. There isn’t a strong push from them one way or another, so we don’t have any plans to upgrade encryption or key exchange,” Balogh said.--rbm

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