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Thread: hacker ethics (split from: HD-TIVO exploit bounty)

  1. #1
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    hacker ethics (split from: HD-TIVO exploit bounty)

    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    I was under the impression that rc3105 already evaluated it and made sure it works?

    I was also under the impression that source code would be posted?

    Unless portions of the source code are "encrypted" ala the alarmtronic scripts incident, how is someone going to hide malicious code in there? Granted not everyone can read source code, but this isn't assembler we are taking about. High level languages are pretty readable.
    "Don't make the exploit free, because it will be abused by eBay sellers," that's what I hear.

    Hey, look at Xbox-Linux: "Free hardware or software mod; just ship your box to any one of an army of volunteers and include return postage."

    Look at Xbox-Linux: "Detailed step-by-step instructions; plus support via web, mailing list, and IRC".

    So what if someone elects to avoid the hassle or the risk by going to eBay? The markup may be disgusting, but even non-technical people can get the mod for free, period.

    What we need is a launching-pad, a breakthrough of sorts, and a community-building endeavor to take full advantage of the TiVo hardware. We need a Bourne Again shell as a starting point, not as an end unto itself.

    There are only going to be a certain number of vulnerabilities discovered. And yes, one vulnerability can lead to many hacks and many results. The result we need is the absolute most useful suite of software which we can compile for and execute on a TiVo.

    This might be a completely new Linux build which works on the hardware and is compatible with the service. Impossible? Ever hear of Openexchange server? Compatibility can be engineered by a dedicated team.

    Folks, this is about our right to the control of our hardware, and it is about our right to the fair use of those satellite signals which broadcasters ELECT to sell to us.

    We need to mobilize around this. This needs to be truly free to enable us.

    The BROADCAST FLAG is war on us, hobbyist hackers, not a war on pirates.

    Digital satellite is our target.

    To all the "Macromedias" out there, let's see you compete with a hacker community in the technical arena.

    You say that your system is unbeatable.

    Then we use pre-existing hardware and stock operating system utilities to reveal the truth:

    You can NOT deliberately deliver content to my home, to my receiver, and to my TV and prevent me from retaining a copy of it. Impossible.

    So, instead you call me a pirate, a cracker, a circumventor, a criminal. You say that my stock computer is a criminal tool, that it is illegal. My OS, you say that is illegal.

    Bullshit. Get with reality. If you can provide copy protection that is technically sound, all the power to you in the world.

    If you run to the legislatures and to the courts to infringe on my rights to my own hardware, our own software, and you try to throw me in jail for exercising my fair use rights to the signals that you sell me, then screw you.

    Folks, this is our war. It is not about piracy. They would like you to think that it is. But, it is not.

    Let's meet the challenge. We have the hardware tools. We have the software tools. Let's get this DONE.

    Will people abuse it, yes. Some will.

    Now, let's get DOWN TO BUSINESS.
    Last edited by decourl; 08-03-2004 at 08:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by decourl
    "Don't make the exploit free, because it will be abused by eBay sellers," that's what I hear.
    This excuse and those like it are what have ruined this and its related communities.

    We won't release xxx because people in the forums are flaming each other
    We won't release xxx because eBayers will make money off of it
    We won't release xxx because I put in so much time and effort and I want to get paid
    We won't release xxx because so and so...

    I remember the good old days when we shared information freely because it was the cool thing to do and we wanted to spur innovation.

    I think people that have donated have done so out of good faith and expect the exploit to be released sooner rather then later under the terms they donated under.

    As I said before, getting money involved will be the downfall of everything we are talking about.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by decourl
    To all the "Macromedias" out there, let's see you compete with a hacker community in the technical arena.

    You say that your system is unbeatable.
    Decourl: can I ask exactly what you mean by this, and how Macromedia has anything to do with this?

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    jeremyclark: my meaning of "Macromedias" and further expansion of the thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyclark
    Decourl: can I ask exactly what you mean by this, and how Macromedia has anything to do with this?
    "Macromedias" is a term that I use to represent the general class of companies that are pushing snake-oil DRM technologies. Snake-oil DRM technologies are technologies that, for example, prevent you from ripping an audio CD to your Windows computer UNLESS you disable the auto-execution ("Auto-Run") of some DRM executable.

    My point is this: Companies like Macromedia claim an "unbeatable" DRM system,
    but are commonly confronted with the fact that some trivial, normal configuration of standard hardware and software renders their DRM ineffective.

    In my view, these "Macromedias", that is DRM-pushing companies in general, turn to
    the Congress and the courts and make claims such as: MS Windows is a DRM-
    circumvention device and the users/makers of it should be held accountable for
    "inducing copyright infringement" or "violating the DMCA".

    Okay, maybe not Windows. But what about a standard bit-by-bit read-and-copy type disc duplication package that WAS found to be a DMCA violation by an inept judge?

    The point is this: read-and-copy is not some new idea purposely designed to defeat
    copy protection. It is an existing technique and technology that is suddenly found to be illegal because Hollywood wants it that way.

    jeremyclark, if you follow my post, you will realize that indeed it does not seem to have much "to do with this", that being who contributes to a bounty for a TiVo exploit, or who gets the money.

    In my previous post, and again now, I make a separate argument. Understand that I am not interested in hacking TiVo simply to run an ssh daemon or a web server out some serial port using PPP or SLIP.

    What I am talking about goes to the possibilities for the future of TiVo hacking. I am talking about taking satellite-coupled, HDTV-enabled TiVos, and transfering HD-quality content to a computer in usable format.

    I see this as the largest motivation for TiVo hacking. With respect to rather or not the exploit code should be released under a truly free license, I argue that it should. I say this because I feel that true freedom will enable and drive further development of this concept (that is, controlling your own hardware) better than would restrictive licensing.

    I point out that some certainly will abuse the developments if they come to fruition. I point out that people motivated by money will modify TiVos with the free code and sell them for huge profits on eBay. Also, if the further developments of HDTV capture which I advocate the development of come to fruition, some people will abuse this capacity for theft.

    However, I also believe that as consumers and as hackers, we should have a right to do as we please with our own hardware. If we are forced to be radiated with satellite signals, we should be free to do with them as we are technically able. If Congress says that we must not circumvent a flatly-bogus DRM scheme, I suggest that we ignore them.

    I believe that a software-only Bourne Again shell is a start. But, I also believe that if our community, that is those of us who are relatively like-minded, come together in a development effort, then the TiVo will be a device for which the uses are limited only by our imaginations, not by corporate-driven laws or manufacturer-willingness.

    I suggest that lumped together, the DMCA, the BROADCAST FLAG, and the INDUCE act are a basic affront to our rights to experiment and to fair use.

    "Hackers" who break into others' computers go to jail, and rightly. I consider myself a true hacker, and I hack hardware and software that I bought or even built myself. This is my hobby and I consider it a legitimate one, not a criminal empire.

    I am not suggesting that we seek to receive satellite television without paying for it. I believe that we should pay for it out of a sense of responsibility. I am not suggesting that we capture HDTV-quality movies off of a cable network and sell (or even give) them to hundreds of people. I believe that these actions would be wrong.

    However, I do not agree that a technology should be banned merely because of its capabilities. Computers, by nature, are able to make copies of digital stuff. This is what they are designed to do.

    I believe that there are likely some current/future models of TiVos or similar devices which, in terms of hardware, bring together that which we need to proceed to confront the plague that is the broadcast flag. Namely, a digital satellite receiver, an HD video recorder, and a Linux computer. This is what I see as a TiVo, and this is why I think that my post relates to the topic that is presented in this thread.

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    look at the sevasoft model of GNU distribution

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    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    This excuse and those like it are what have ruined this and its related communities.

    We won't release xxx because people in the forums are flaming each other
    We won't release xxx because eBayers will make money off of it
    We won't release xxx because I put in so much time and effort and I want to get paid
    We won't release xxx because so and so...
    You blame the developers.

    The developers blame the people abusing their hard work, and the non-developer whiners who have taken over their forums.

    You may be right.. you may be wrong.. but unless you're the one holding the code, does it really matter? Hacking is a meritocracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alldeadhomiez
    You blame the developers.

    The developers blame the people abusing their hard work, and the non-developer whiners who have taken over their forums.

    You may be right.. you may be wrong.. but unless you're the one holding the code, does it really matter? Hacking is a meritocracy.
    I'm not blaming anyone... I think both sides have become whiners... but its a chicken and the egg question:

    Which came first, whining developers or whining "non developers"?

    Damn, I might make that my tag line here at DDB, its a pretty profound question.

    Its really hard to say... but developers need to realize when they get into the gray area of hacking that there can't be much payoff because of the legal stuff and the nature of the work.

    And FYI, while porting the superpatch to 4.01b may not be considered "development" by "real" developers, the fact of the matter is that I don't even OWN a series 2 box (I own a series 1) much less even own two TVs. So I really had no incentive or selfish purpose to do it. A friend at work wanted to try out HMO and we couldn't find a 4.0 image. It was his box and my two weeks (and the time of other people). I had no incentive to release it and at one point almost didn't because of some selfish responses I got while looking for it, but at the end I got sick of seeing people "hold onto shit privately" and/or making ridiculous demands (like wanting to "copyright" hacks or fixes) and didn't want to become one of those people.

    So someone makes a buck off of someones hack. I'd like to see the developer sue that person for violating his "copyright".

    P.S. putting the word "copyright" in your code doesn't make it a legal copyright.
    Last edited by SledgeHammer; 08-04-2004 at 02:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    P.S. putting the word "copyright" in your code doesn't make it a legal copyright.
    Very true: You don't even need to do that much. It's copyrighted as soon as it's written.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenroc
    Very true: You don't even need to do that much. It's copyrighted as soon as it's written.
    Are you sure about that?

    You can't copyright something that violates someone elses copyright if they don't allow it (i.e. license the rights). Tivo definitely has a copyright on the hardware and software and the word "PRIOPRIETARY" is emblazened on the motherboards.

    I'm no lawyer, and may be speaking out of my ass, but I would think in that situation any hack will be violating Tivos' prioprietary copyright.

    What you are saying would be akin to a virus author trying to copyright his virus.

    A case in point... several software companies came out with DVD copying software. They copyrighted it and trademarked the names, etc. But when push came to shove, all that was ruled invalid and they were shutdown.

    Now, I'm not trying to stop people from releasing hacks or telling people that its wrong since I of course do it too and am trying to encourage the exact opposite... I'm saying trying to copyright hacks / utils or putting in license agreements when you are clearly not legally authorized/entitled to do so is laughable.

    Tivo/DTV is clearly trying to stop hacking or they wouldn't put all this security/protection on the boxes.

    Fact of the matter is, circumventing security/protection is a violation of the DMCA (not that I agree with that law either). We have been violating the DMCA since day one by disabling Tivos' protection of its file system.

    If anyone here has real legal knowledge of where we stand and where trying to copyright / license hacks stands, I'd like to hear if I am speaking out of my ass
    Last edited by SledgeHammer; 08-04-2004 at 03:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    Quote Originally Posted by Lenroc
    Very true: You don't even need to do that much. It's copyrighted as soon as it's written.
    Are you sure about that?
    Yes, absolutely. Do you know what a copyright is?

    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    What you are saying would be akin to a virus author trying to copyright his virus.
    And what exactly is wrong with that? If the virus writer wrote original code, it is protected by copyright at the moment it is written. Hell, in the current system, if he created an innovative process to break into something, he could probably apply for a receive a patent!

    The DMCA may make the use of the process illegal, but I'm not sure that would make the Patent invalid.

    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    A case in point... several software companies came out with DVD copying software. They copyrighted it and trademarked the names, etc. But when push came to shove, all that was ruled invalid and they were shutdown.
    If you look into it, the company you're talking about (321 Studios, I assume) did not have it's Copyrights or Trademarks "ruled invalid". What they were doing was deemed to be illegal (in fact, the programs were deemed to violate copyright law), and so they can't make or sell their product any more, but their Copyrights and Trademarks are still valid (or were... I'm not sure now that the company is insolvent).

    Note that I am not involved in the rest of this discussion. I am not speaking at all about whether anything is ok in relation to TiVo hacking, etc. I am merely trying to clarify some points about Copyright.

    Try looking up what a Copyright, Trademark, and Patent each protect before you continue using the terms. :-P
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    Quote Originally Posted by decourl
    "Macromedias" is a term that I use to represent the general class of companies that are pushing snake-oil DRM technologies. Snake-oil DRM technologies are technologies that, for example, prevent you from ripping an audio CD to your Windows computer UNLESS you disable the auto-execution ("Auto-Run") of some DRM executable.
    I must admit I'm very confused by this. WTF does Macromedia (the people that make Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.) have to do with any of this?

    Do you mean Microsoft? Or maybe Real Networks? Or the RIAA? Apple?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenroc
    Try looking up what a Copyright, Trademark, and Patent each protect before you continue using the terms. :-P
    Sounds like you need to as well. Just for the sake of the argument *I* did.

    Yes, you are correct if you come up with something original then you are entitled to copyright it "by default".

    However, there are exceptions:

    What if I take someone else's writings, text, HTML or graphic image and change it around to suit my needs? I own the "new" version, right? If you did any of that with the original owner's permission, and according to his/her terms and conditions than you own the "new" version. If not you may be committing copyright infringement and/or plagiarism.

    Would this not imply that any hack you perform is "modifying the Tivo to suit your own needs"? Did you have Tivos' permission to do so? clearly not. So are you not committing copyright infringment just by writing a hack? If so, you can definitely not copyright a hack.

    The debate was not what is a copyright, but if you can legally copyright a hack.

    I say modifying your tivo is a violation of tivos copyright (they did not give you a right to do so) and so you can not legally copyright anything to do with it.
    Last edited by SledgeHammer; 08-04-2004 at 04:22 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SledgeHammer
    What if I take someone else's writings, text, HTML or graphic image and change it around to suit my needs? I own the "new" version, right? If you did any of that with the original owner's permission, and according to his/her terms and conditions than you own the "new" version. If not you may be committing copyright infringement and/or plagiarism.

    Would this not imply that any hack you perform is "modifying the Tivo to suit your own needs"?
    No, in many cases it would not. For example, TivoWeb "modifies" a TiVo by running a HTTP server on it. That does not make TivoWeb a derivative work of anything copyrighted by TiVo, Inc.

    Similarly, the new killhdinitrd is a block of code that is copyrightable. It happens to take a Tivo kernel as input, and output something that is a derivative of a Tivo kernel, but that does not mean that the killhdinitrd code is a derivative work itself.

    The debate was not what is a copyright, but if you can legally copyright a hack.
    As mentioned, I was not part of the original debate. But you certainly need to know what a copyright is and does before you start such a debate, no?

    I say modifying your tivo is a violation of tivos copyright (they did not give you a right to do so) and so you can not legally copyright anything to do with it.
    This is generally wrong. However modifying your Tivo is prohibited by the agreement you signed when you activated your TiVo (for SA users, at least, I know this is true. I can only assume there is similar language for DTiVo users...). Again, hacking your TiVo is prohibited by TiVo, Inc. It is a breach of your contract with them. Releasing tools to hack your TiVo may or may not be illegal, but in most cases it is not a copyright issue (if anything, I'd suspect the DMCA).
    Last edited by lenroc; 08-04-2004 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Oops... it's killhdinitrd, not killinitrd ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenroc
    I must admit I'm very confused by this. WTF does Macromedia (the people that make Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.) have to do with any of this?

    Do you mean Microsoft? Or maybe Real Networks? Or the RIAA? Apple?
    Okay, you've got me here. My intent was to refer to Macrovision :-)

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    Lenroc,
    Your talking out your ass!
    Try looking up what a Copyright, Trademark, and Patent each protect before you continue using the terms. :-P

    http://www.patents.com/copyrigh.htm

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