Magazine article ASEE Prism

State of Siege?

Magazine article ASEE Prism

State of Siege?

Article excerpt

NIELS PROVOS doubts that the police will come knocking on his door anytime soon. If at all. Still, the University of Michigan computer science graduate student moved his research from the school's Web server to one in Holland. Just as a precaution. Provos, who is from Germany, is an expert in the burgeoning field of STEGANOGRAPHY: the art of secreting messages online, as well as detecting hidden data and ferreting out possible hackers. But Michigan lawmakers recently enacted a copyright protection act that Provos thinks is worded so vaguely it could make him liable to prosecution. The law was initially aimed at stopping cable-service theft, but-at the insistence of the Motion Picture Association of America-was broadened to help fight video and film piracy. What bothers Provos is language that prohibits the developing of devices that "conceal the existence or place of origin or destination of any telecommunications service. …

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