Researchers crack privacy-unfriendly Dutch e-book watermark

Jun

27

2016

Researchers at the Institute for Biblio-Immunology, the Dutch BooXtream-DRM cracked because these watermarks on e-books insert containing the personal information of the original purchaser. The IBI considers this privacy-unfriendly.

The Institute for Biblio-Immunology, a group of researchers who do not identify themselves further, have contacted recorded by TorrentFreak, and all steps to defeat the DRM in a report posted. The book in question is “The Boy Who Could Change the World,” written by the late hacktivist Aaron Swartz and in this case published by Verso Books. The publisher uses the BooXstream watermark technology to track e-books in illegal distribution. BooXstream is a product of the Dutch Icontact. The executor of Swartz, Sean B. Palmer, called Verso Books to remove the watermark, as it violates the privacy of the buyer, which Swartz could not accept without doubt.

Verso did not meet the request Palmer, which the Institute for Biblio-Immunology decided to fully map the watermark, a technique for removing compile and publish all so others can do the same. In fact, they have on GitHub a Python script installed that allows users to automate the removal of a watermark.

The IBI removes a total of seven different watermarks of BooXstream. Three ‘explicit’, on the inside cover, and the disclaimer in the footer. In addition, there are found four hidden watermarks: In the file names, style sheets, and the timestamp in the metadata of images. The team say they have confidence that they therefore have traced all watermarks.

Apart from the non-public refusal to remove the watermarks, publisher Verso has not commented on the case. It is currently shown on the product page for the e-book that is not available in North America. Possibly this is a result of the actions of the IBI.

Aaron Swartz committed suicide in 2013. In 2011 he was sued for downloading documents from the science database JSTOR, with the intent to distribute it. The database has many scientific publications, but charging for access. The lawsuit against Swartz at the time of his suicide still ongoing, so there was speculation that the trial there had something to do with it.

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