DAY 53 – Illegal

July 28th, 2013 § 0 comments

I haven’t yet broken the law on this blog, I’m ashamed to say, apart from trivial thefts of pictures without paying copyright.

I was moved to this thought by learning today from the Guardian that my old Brummie friend Flavio Garcia has been banned from publishing a research paper which explains how you can hack a Porsche remote ignition key. (I oversimplify, as usual.) You may remember that Flavio and his friends did publish – over howls of protest from the industry – the hugely popular ‘Dismantling MIFARE‘, which explained how to hack the commonest RFID tag, as used in Oyster cards. I look forward to the forthcoming battles over the Porsche injunction.

However, I just found a very simple way to break the law, namely by posting a rather long number, for which see the end of this post if you can wait that long.

jail

It’s an ‘illegal prime’, which I got from Wikipedia. So why isn’t, or aren’t, Wikipedia in jail? It’s illegal because – skipping the fancy footwork which you don’t want to read – if you feed it into the right kind of computer in the right way, you’ll get an ‘illegal programme’; remember that any programme, indeed any file, is – to a computer – just a number. (So I suppose you could write a number which ‘was’ a Word file containing, say, Edward Snowden’s revelations. Or a general incitement to sedition and riot.)

Anyway, the illegal number below translates into a file called DeCSS which ‘undoes’ the encryption system on a DVD. And you can see why that might be pursued by the law. A nicer version of DeCSS, with ruminations on the expressive function of computer language, poetics, and much else, is Seth Schoen’s haiku sequence, which would be today’s poem if it weren’t much too long – it contains all the digits of the illegal number in haiku form as well as invocations to the Muse and that kind of thing. I think that Schoen, like myself in an earlier post, landed up with the odd eight syllable line; and also broke the rule about including a reference to the season, which is natural when most of your verses are something pretty numerical like:

Eighty-one; and then
one hundred three -- two times; then
two hundred (less three);

You can’t go on and on talking about peach-blossom in that context.
boondocks-question

Around 2000, DeCSS had the whole motion picture industry in a twist as you can imagine. Jon Johansen, one of the three authors, was charged in Norway (as a teenager) and risked jail. In the US, Universal City Studios v. Corley (2001), imposed a permanent injunction. But the code for DeCSS is now universally accessible (links everywhere – including a version in 7 lines of Perl). This is why Wikipedia are still at large, and this is why it looks as if I’ll have to work harder at lawbreaking.

Meanwhile the Anglicans – in the form of our friend Justin Welby – are attempting to relaunch the Church’s age-old war against usury. Those of us who have been immersed in Foucauldian tracts on biopolitics, insurance and stuff – and who hasn’t, these heady, hot summer days?  (almost anything by Luis Lobo-Guerrero) – know well how hard it has been for the Church and the merchants to agree on the ethics of making a profit out of risk.usurers

Usurers in hell (Botticelli)

This I suppose is a cue for us to remind Justin of where banging on about usury got this week’s poet, Ezra Pound (fascism, insanity, and being caged in Pisa). In Islam, they say, there are no such problems – and they still manage to get mortgages…

Canto XLV

BY EZRA POUND

With Usura
 
With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face,
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luz
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stonecutter is kept from his tone
weaver is kept from his loom
WITH USURA
wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no gain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the maid’s hand
and stoppeth the spinner’s cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin’ not by usura
nor was ‘La Calunnia’ painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura St. Trophime
Not by usura Saint Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man’s courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom
                               CONTRA NATURAM
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.
 Tremble, Wonga! I don’t think I have yet posted any of the late Frank Zappa’s art, although it’s possible. In any case, many judges consider ‘Montana‘  - which says nothing about usury, but much about dental floss – one of the Meisterwerk of the 20th century, so here it is, complete with backing by Tina Turner and the Ikettes.

THE NUMBER: (Exercise – check that it’s a prime). (Hint: don’t try)

49310 83597 02850 19002 75777 67239 07649 57284 90777 21502 08632 08075 01840 97926 27885 09765 88645 57802 01366 00732 86795 44734 11283 17353 67831 20155 75359 81978 54505 48115 71939 34587 73300 38009 93261 95058 76452 50238 20408 11018 98850 42615 17657 99417 04250 88903 70291 19015 87003 04794 32826 07382 14695 41570 33022 79875 57681 89560 16240 30064 11151 69008 72879 83819 42582 71674 56477 48166 84347 92846 45809 29131 53186 00700 10043 35318 93631 93439 12948 60445 03709 91980 04770 94629 21558 18071 11691 53031 87628 84778 78354 15759 32891 09329 54473 50881 88246 54950 60005 01900 62747 05305 38116 42782 94267 47485 34965 25745 36815 11706 55028 19055 52656 22135 31463 10421 00866 28679 71144 46706 36692 19825 86158 11125 15556 50481 34207 68673 23407 65505 48591 08269 56266 69306 62367 99702 10481 23965 62518 00681 83236 53959 34839 56753 57557 53246 19023 48106 47009 87753 02795 61868 92925 38069 33052 04238 14996 99454 56945 77413 83356 89906 00587 08321 81270 48611 33682 02651 59051 66351 87402 90181 97693 93767 78529 28722 10955 04129 25792 57381 86605 84501 50552 50274 99477 18831 29310 45769 80909 15304 61335 94190 30258 81320 59322 77444 38525 50466 77902 45186 97062 62778 88919 79580 42306 57506 15669 83469 56177 97879 65920 16440 51939 96071 69811 12615 19561 02762 83233 98257 91423 32172 69614 43744 38105 64855 29348 87634 92103 09887 02878 74532 33132 53212 26786 33283 70279 25099 74996 94887 75936 91591 76445 88032 71838 47402 35933 02037 48885 06755 70658 79194 61134 19323 07814 85443 64543 75113 20709 86063 90746 41756 41216 35042 38800 29678 08558 67037 03875 09410 76982 11837 65499 20520 43682 55854 64228 85024 29963 32268 53691 24648 55000 75591 66402 47292 40716 45072 53196 74499 95294 48434 74190 21077 29606 82055 81309 23626 83798 79519 66199 79828 55258 87161 09613 65617 80745 66159 24886 60889 81645 68541 72136 29208 46656 27913 14784 66791 55096 51543 10113 53858 62081 96875 83688 35955 77893 91454 53935 68199 60988 08540 47659 07358 97289 89834 25047 12891 84162 65878 96821 85380 87956 27903 99786 29449 39760 54675 34821 25675 01215 17082 73710 76462 70712 46753 21024 83678 15940 00875 05452 54353 7.

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