Cryptographic Techniques for Digital Rights Management

Stuart Haber

InterTrust STAR Lab

The modern digital world, in which computation and communication are (nearly) free and (almost) unlimited, poses critical new challenges for management of rights and information. For example, there is much hullabaloo today about "the end of intellectual property", postulating a world where information is completely uncontrolled, and "the end of fair use" in the opposite world where information is tightly locked up. These and similar apocalyptic visions are inspired by an absolutist interpretation of various technologies, whereas in reality the picture is not so simple and clear-cut. In this talk, we will discuss the concepts and mechanisms of digital rights management (DRM) technology and how it can act as a moderating factor in such visions.

It is clear that cryptographic techniques can be useful in the design of a DRM system. However, they must be applied with care to the DRM setting. For example, unlike the situation in some other cryptographic scenarios, the typical end users of a DRM system may not be fully trusted by the designers of the system. Furthermore, security measures must be as unobstrusive as possible if the DRM system is going to be successfully deployed. These real-world constraints will be illustrated with a number of examples of cryptographic techniques as they apply to the architecture of a DRM system, including encryption schemes, authentication, key management, public-key infrastructure, trust management, and secure data storage.

Gates 4B, 11/14/00, 4:15 PM