Thursday, July 16, 2009

FBI charges satellite descramblers under DMCA

arstechnica
The people behind the Viewsat satellite receiver have been arrested and charged with conspiring to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act thanks to their not-so-undercover efforts to crack DISH Network's latest encryption scheme.

The FBI has set its sights on satellite descramblers, charging three individuals behind the Viewsat satellite receiver with conspiracy to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The indictment was unsealed this week after Viewtech owner Jung Kwak was arrested in San Diego, where he is currently being held without bail. Several associates were also arrested. The group faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine each.

Some of our readers may be familiar with the Viewsat—it's a free-to-air (FTA) satellite receiver box that claims to provide users with access to free satellite programming, such as religious and cultural content. However, as most Viewsat customers also know, the device is engineered in such a way that makes it simple for users to grab what is otherwise designated as for-pay satellite programming. All that's required is for the FTA boxes to spoof DISH's smartcards so that the DISH Network can see that the boxes are authorized.

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