Why high definition DVDs are good for privacy and security...

So here's the situation... nowadays, when crossing border control, and in particular when entering the US of A, you may be asked to turn over your laptop, and other electronic devices to border control who, fearful of terrorists crossing their border, will want to search your corporate data for any kind of document that my prove you are on your way to planning something nasty.

Bruce Schneier has commented many times on how you should prepare your laptops, cell phones, and other devices so that when seized, nothing bad happens.

There is one additional option that he doesn't mention (yet), but that I think will become more and more feasible given where the media industry is taking us.

Take a movie. Yes, one that you rightfully own, of course. Convert it into a Divx (you bought the movie, you should be able to view it on the player of your choice). Actually, my friend Darren Moffat suggests even better, take a personal home movie that you made with your own camcorder, so that there are no issues whatsoever about fair use or alternate formats... you made the movie, it's yourse to do what you want with it. If it's a normal movie, you get an 800MB file... that's small... but if you take an average HD-DVD (R.I.P.) or BluRay movie, then you get a multi gigabyte file. That's much better...

What can one do with a multi-GB file of seemingly random bytes. Well, you can tweak lower order bits to hide data inside it. That's called steganography. And with multi gigabytes of storage to start with, you can store a whole lot of useful information.

Suddenly, that 32 GB SDHC card you just bought can be used to watch a movie on the plane all while carrying your sentitive personal or corporate data. And all in perfect deniability. "Mr Officer, this is just a Divx which I've been watching on the plane during the flight where they had very boring movies scheduled. Here let me show you that movie." and you go on to play it in your favorite (open source) media player to prove your case.

I love technology!

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