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Enigma

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the greatest-generation dept.

Movies 312

Peter Wayner writes: "In all of the scary stories Hollywood circulates about copyright piracy, nothing could be scarier that the gang of file swapping, copyright circumventing hackers in the new movie 'Enigma'. They laugh and love a bit, but mainly they spend their time building a big whirring and clicking machine to smash a copyright protection mechanism. When the machine delivers, they put the results into a Gnutella-like file sharing system called Ultra so their friends can track down the original artists and kill them." (Read on for the rest of Peter's review.)

Ooops. Wrong generation and wrong spin. "Enigma" is about good codebreakers -- the mathematicians and clerks of Great Britain's Bletchley Park who helped the Allied cause during World War II by breaking the German coding machine known as "Enigma." It's a wonderful story that's been told as non-fiction several times before by serious historians. This time around, the former newspaper columnist Robert Harris created a thinly fictionalized novel filled with composite characters based on reality. While the result is not factually perfect, it is close enough to capture the dangerous era. Abandoning the literal truth also allowed him to build a richly plotted yarn that evolves cleanly and smoothly.

The film closely follows the novel, although it does eliminate a few of the more subtle complexities. It was wildly popular in Britain when it was released there last year, probably because the story is told with gorgeously detailed sets dressed with nostalgia for a time of British patriotism and success. The film's costumes are lavish, the extras are everywhere, and the look is close enough to reality that the best complaint one ex-translator stationed at Bletchley Park could offer was that the canteen in the film was much nicer. Even Mick Jagger, one of the film's producer, couldn't resist the spirit and gave himself a cameo appearance as an officer relaxing in a club.

This film could represent the cultural high point for codeslinging nerds and other Slashdot types. Jagger produced this film with another cultural icon, Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels. If you secretly spend your days dreaming of strutting around the stage like Mick Jagger, you can now take some pride in the fact that Mick Jagger spent at least a few days dreaming of playing a code geek. And why not? According to one of the characters, the women go weak in the knees when they get to talk to codebreakers like the protagonist, Tom Jericho (Dougray Scott).

This movie is about sex and mathematics and the crucial satisfaction that comes from understanding the depth of their power. The two main threads of the film track Tom Jericho's search for 1) a missing lover (Saffron Burroughs) and 2) a new way to break the Germans' four rotor, Naval Enigma system known as Shark. His lover may have been mixed up in Germany's sudden decision to abandon the old codes and all of this must be untangled or else the war could be lost. Tom Stoppard, the screenwriter also responsible for Shakespeare In Love, weaves these two threads together with car chases, kissing, train whistles, moonlit nights, illicit file swapping and a few other romantic chords.

It seems like a lot of things happen in four days, but we must remember that this plays out in an era when people weren't couch potatoes taught that ignoring advertising is forbidden. The pacing is the biggest problem with the film because there's too much action packed into 117 minutes, leaving some transitions a bit confusing. The jumps are often too quick and in some places it's hard to know when the flashbacks begin and end.

Despite that, there's much for a geek to love in this movie. Both the Enigma machine and the cryptanalytic attack developed by the British are described in fairly good detail. We learn, perhaps too quickly, that much of the game is finding a crib, a term the codebreakers used to refer to a word or phrase that must be somewhere in the scrambled message. A weather broadcast, for instance, would include the word "rainy" on a wet day and the codebreakers would examine the possible combinations that might produce that word. That was one weakness the folks at Bletchley Park were able to exploit before Jericho's girlfriend disappeared.

Some of the other mathematical details are accurate but not explained in enough detail to be easily understood. Once the crib was identified, the codebreakers relied heavily on the fact that the Enigma machine could not encode one letter into itself. This weakness allowed them to eliminate many of the potential cribs quickly. Then they spent their time looking for potential "loops" in the coding. In a simple case, a loop is formed when the letter A is encoded as an R and a few letters later, an R is encoded as an A. Most of the loops are a chain of several letters strung out in an odd combination. This pencil-and-paper work by the codebreaker is turned over to a big machine that uses the loops to eliminate many of the potential positions of the rotors. The rest are tested quickly with plenty of whirring and clicking. On a good day, and there were many of them, the right settings for the rotors popped out and let the Allies read the encrypted traffic.

You get to see all of this in action, although the film does not describe much of it in the hopes of sparing those unanointed with the knee-weakening, code smashing gene. It's not really fair for me to concentrate on the machines and ignore the actors because most of the movie revolves around the emotional battles for the characters and their conflicting desires. These passions are well-constructed and intelligently arranged. Dougray Scott plays the mathematician with enough dash and sophistication while Kate Winslet fills out the role of the mousey clerk and co-conspirator. The real star is Jeremy Northam, who plays a sophisticated Foreign Office spy with the right amount of oily charm. He, like everyone else in this movie, is fighting a private little war which may or may not fit in with the larger battle between the Allied and Axis forces.

Some of these battles are so crucial to the plot that it's impossible to comment on them without spoiling the ending. For this reason, I'm including several links for you to click after seeing the movie ( first, second, and third.) as well as a sentence encrypted with an Enigma simulator:

FBZ DDE NZA DJN PNI POH YBF NJR QFP DDZ TVP IHN YSJ IXX UAH YXF BZT ZXW BXS GES GYD IFO VXQ KHU LMA SYX YEG MGK

Using Enigma as a digital rights management device is not new-- Harris includes an encrypted dedication in the novel-- but it raises an interesting question: Is the movie and its detailed description of breaking the Enigma in violation of the DMCA? Is the extra detail in the movie just a cookbook for those who want to pirate the sentence I encrypted above? If so, should I be able to shut it down? While some reviewers may dream of writing something so powerful that it closes a movie immediately, I would hate to do it to this one. It's a pretty, nostalgic thriller that makes a good date movie--especially if you happen to be a knee-weakening, codebreaking type.


Peter Wayner's latest books are Disappearing Cryptography, an exploration about how to disguise information and Translucent Databases, a practical description of how to use encryption algorithms to protect sensitive information like credit cards and medical records. If they ever get made into a movie, he wants to be played by Keanu Reeves -- the one who played Ted "Theodore" Logan, not the one who played Neo.

cancel ×

312 comments

Features: First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510724)

Eat it.

Out of Date Already (-1, Troll)

spellcheckur (253528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510725)

Due to production delays, it's already out of date.

Isn't it supposed to be "Valhalla?"

Re:Out of Date Already (0, Flamebait)

dirvish (574948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510819)

It is a historical account. How could it be out of date?

Re:Out of Date Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510972)

Retard. Red Hat 7.2 codename "Enigma" and Red Hat 7.3 codename "Valhalla"

ANAKIN'S MOM SOLD TO SANDPEOPLE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510726)

She dies in his arms!
Also, Stormtroopers are CLONES. And ANAKIN GETS HIS ARM CHOPPED OFF BY COUNT DOOKU! [theforce.net]

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

puto (533470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510727)

Had To Break My Cherry!

would have been FP... (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510734)

but I just posted a comment. Don't worry, I'm still taking it like a man. For example, I just used your sister's back as a runway for my orgasmic ejaculations!

Re:would have been FP... (-1)

hettb (569863) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510833)

I just used your sister's back as a runway for my orgasmic ejaculations!

AHAHAHAHA! [phettberg.at]

TAKE IT [phettberg.at] like a MAN! [phettberg.at]

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510739)

fp

read Cryptonomicon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510740)

Just had to throw that in there.

Taco is a flag desecrator and an Anti-Delawarian! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510743)

I submit to you the following, to be used in whole or in part for the purpose of tormenting Cmdr Taco until he relents and corrects the icon. - PW :)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] [si.edu] [si.edu], the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states.


The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sourceforge.net] [sourceforge.net] [sourceforge.net]


This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

woah..... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510752)

Timothy, you had me there for a second, I was about ready to march down the the MPAA and kick there Arses for making such a wicked movie.

almost as bad as puting Linus's last name on a computer criminal in swordfish.

Another book on the topic... (5, Informative)

lord_dragonsfyre (89589) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510753)

... is, of course, Stephenson's much-loved Cryptonomicon.

I can't help thinking, though, that as much as many of us love to make the comparison, no court in America would accept that cracking enemy cyphers falls under the DMCA.

Peace,

James Vogel.

Re:Another book on the topic... (1)

QuodEratDemonstratum (569501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510838)

no court in America would accept

During a time of war, no court would accept the complaint from the enemy that would be needed to initiate a court case.

Re:Another book on the topic... (1)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510923)

If you don't start developing your code breaking ability before the war begins, the war will likely end (with you as the loser) before you can even make it to court to file the complaint.

Re:Another book on the topic... (1)

djweis (4792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510858)

If they made a movie of Cryptonomicon, I would watch it in a second. Is there any chance of it happening?

Can you believe it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510758)

I have the biggest, hairiest, and stinkiest balls around! (Including all the slashdot geeks too!)

WTF? (-1, Troll)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510761)

Using Enigma as a digital rights management device is not new-- Harris includes an encrypted dedication in the novel-- but it raises an interesting question: Is the movie and its detailed description of breaking the Enigma in violation of the DMCA?

God, you're an idiot.

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510774)

God, you're an idiot.
Thank you, Friedrich Nietzsche...

Re:WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510792)

This is surely more deserving of a +1 Funny than the parent is +1 Informative, heh.

Re:WTF? (2)

anomaly (15035) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510946)

Thanks, I didn't see the original comment, but I laughed out loud when I saw the response. Sadly, my guess is that too few will enjoy the irony in your posting.

Kudos.

Regards,
Anomaly

Re:WTF? (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510799)

God, you're an idiot.

That coming from a hockey fan. Go figure.

interesting approach (2, Insightful)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510762)

I have to say, I'm struck by the approach taken by the review. Most readers aren't going to click through to the full review, taking the snippet on the front page to be a summary.

In this case it is an irrelevent rant that needlessly attacks Hollywood studios. I would argue that this editorial content almost certainly does not belong in a movie review (which should be studio-agnostic, IMO), and without doubt should not be representing the review on the main page.

This doesn't even address the fact that comparing Gnutella users to the codebreakers in WW2 is a stretch, at best. Remember, those guys invented the computer in order to defeat Nazis. This is very different from sharing one's collection of Beck songs and downloading Simpsons episodes.

Re:interesting approach (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510821)

This doesn't even address the fact that comparing Gnutella users to the codebreakers in WW2 is a stretch, at best. Remember, those guys invented the computer in order to defeat Nazis. This is very different from sharing one's collection of Beck songs and downloading Simpsons episodes.

Not that I agree with them but a great many Gnutella users think that they're using it to defeat Nazis too. It's just that their definition of Nazis is based on greedy businessmen in Hollywood rather than fascist murderers in wartime Germany.

Oh, and by the way, the code breakers at Bletchley Park didn't invent the computer - Charles Babbage did that a great many years earlier.

Re:interesting approach (3, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510853)

It's just that their definition of Nazis is based on greedy businessmen in Hollywood rather than fascist murderers in wartime Germany.

I could define Nazis to mean bran muffins, and fight fascism during breakfast.

Re:interesting approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510944)

Sounds tasty!

But seriously, there is a little more evidence to the "media companies are nazis" argument than the "bran muffins are nazis" one.

Re:interesting approach (2, Insightful)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3511002)

No, there is no "evidence" for this claim. By comparing media conglomerates to Nazis, you trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. It is not even an issue of degree; there is simply no context in which fighting file-sharing can be likened to genocide.

Re:interesting approach (4, Informative)

lildogie (54998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510905)

Charles invented the stored-program computer, but Blechley Park built the first electronic one. Theirs predated ENIAC, but it was secret, so the ENIAC builders thought they were first. See "The Code Book" by Simon Singh.

Re:interesting approach (4, Informative)

dunstan (97493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510934)

Bollocks. The computers used *were* invented at Bletchley Park. Alan Turing invented the Bombes, and Tommy Flowers invented Colossus. And this was all years before Eniac BTW. But history missed out on this, because Churchill had everything from Bletchley Park destroyed at the end of the war - presumably to stop it from possible falling into Stalin's hands.

Dunstan

Re:interesting approach (3, Insightful)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510982)

That's the problem with /. If you seriously think that the systematic murder of six million plus the engulfing of the entire world into a disastrous war is morally equivalent to charging $5 too much for a CD and/or arresting two probably innocent encryption-breakers, you need to reevaluate your priorities.

Gnutella is compared to Ultra (1)

clion999 (565741) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510900)

Ultra was the general mechanism for distributing the intercepts. It was a complicated, very secret group that went out of its way to avoid letting the Nazis know that the codes were broken. They were sharing files.

Gnutella is one of the most decentralized file sharing systems. So it has the potential to be the most secret. I suppose a better comparison might be to the warez traders.

Re:interesting approach (2)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510950)

Damn straight, the article intro is, simply put, bullshit. It's also important to remember that, outside of the context of a war, shooting large numbers of people with a gun is about the most evil thing one can do, but no one tries to make the argument that "because it was okay to do this to the Nazis in WWII, it's okay to do it to Hollywood today." Well, no one aside from that dumbfuck with the .sig saying that Osama should have bombed Hollywood and Disneyland.

Re:interesting approach (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510980)

"Remember, those guys invented the computer in order to defeat Nazis."

I didn't realize Babbage was so long-lived...

Whoops (1)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510763)

Someone's been watching the History Channel again...

LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510766)

LUNIX SUCKS!!!

Re:LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510780)

to stupid to spell it correctly.

it is LINUX, not LUNIX.

Re:LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510822)

too stupid to spell "too" correctly.

too stupid to ignore the troll.

Re:LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510836)

AC, I spelled it incorrectly to piss off Slashbots like you. YHBT! YHL! HAND!

Re:LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510848)

haha you got trolled....

Slashdot FUD? (4, Insightful)

Chibi (232518) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510771)

So, what's the point of using a purposefully misleading intro paragraph? Slashdot is where I learned of the acronym "FUD" ("Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt," for those who do not know) but it seems like putting a misleading intro like this will help spread it, rather than help stop it.

How many people do you think will only read the main page, and go away thinking it's the truth? Yeah, it's their own fault for not reading the entire story, but everyone is guilty of this from time to time.

Get a grip, man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510842)

It was a pretty dumb idea for a teaser, but to accuse /. of using the teaser to spread FUD is even dumber.

No one of any value to society is going to act solely on a one-paragraph blurb on /., and everyone else who reads it will get curious and either read the rest of the review or get suspicious when the story isn't backed up by other news sources.

Re:Slashdot FUD? (1)

RealTimeFreeAgent (551563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510843)

Not to mention the "Could this movie be a violation of the DMCA" strawman. Yeah, I'm sure the Nazi leaders are going to rise from the grave, have any living members of the Enigma decoding team arrested and convicted using an ex post facto reading of the DMCA.

Nazi leaders aren't the only ones on the line (1)

clion999 (565741) | more than 12 years ago | (#3511001)

The movie makers might be sued by anyone using the Enigma as a copyright protection mechanism. The reviewer is one such person. Talk about a review that could shut down a movie!

Re:Slashdot FUD? (2)

rodentia (102779) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510851)

I thought it rather refreshing to lead off with such a bald troll.

Re:Slashdot FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510856)

Yeah, it's their own fault for not reading the entire story

Especially since a lot of Slashdot regulars do not like to read the movie reviews, since they often contain spoilers. Of course, said regulars should also be used to the BS FUD that Slashdot itself spreads, but whatever...

Re:Slashdot FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510908)

Chris almighty, it was a joke. Laugh, chuckles, or come up with something funnier.

Re:Slashdot FUD? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510926)

I thought it was pretty funny. It was obviously not true: Hollywood is incapable of producing anything so technically accurate, even when to portray people in a bad light. The opening paragraph sucked me in to see what the real story was about. The whole thing is good because it is about a film that sounds reasonably accurate. I think it was well written!

Re:Slashdot FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510943)

It's of course just a way to lead off the inevitable 'so do we like MPAA this week?' comments. They can then say, hey, we took a stab at them in the summary. Now go watch the movie and support your local chapter of the MPAA!

Re:Slashdot FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510961)

Yeah, it's their own fault for not reading the entire story, but everyone is guilty of this from time to time.

Guilty? I'm a pretty big slashdot addict, but even I can't read every single story. Timothy is the only guilty party here. He should be made an honorary member of the troll council for a troll like that.

But is it better than Cryptonomicon? (2, Interesting)

MeepMeep (111932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510773)

I was hoping Neal (Stephenson) would have been able to get Crypto made into a movie...perhaps it would be redundant now.

I just wanted to see who they would cast as America Shaftoe! (and maybe Glory too, except for the leprosy...)

[offtopic]Re:But is it better than Cryptonomicon? (1)

forkboy (8644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510808)

I had Willem Dafoe cast as Shaftoe in the mental casting of this book that I invariably perform on books that I read. This is way before Spiderman was even announced...I just pictured the character in my head as looking and acting like Dafoe's character in Platoon.

Re:[offtopic]Re:But is it better than Cryptonomico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510893)

I think you've got the wrong shaftoe. The thought of Willem Dafoe in drag just scares me...

America, not Douglas MacArthur.

DMCA violation (5, Funny)

jpm242 (202316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510779)

You bet it is, I wouldn't be surprised if Hitler takes this to the courts!

JP

NAZI's and DMCA (3, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510781)

I can just imagine Hitler waving the DMCA at the British during WWII when they finally cracked the Enigma! Still interesting to think about how the NAZI's would of felt about the DMCA. Control of the flow of information and ownership of information (and everything else) is a basic principal of any fascist state. I don't think the NAZI's would look too lightly on any sort of circumvention devices.

WHY YOU SHOULD WORK FOR MICROSOFT (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510788)

Let me tell you a little story -- In March, I was invited to Microsoft. I was going to meet one of Microsoft's most Senior Software Developers (they call them "Researchers"). He was going to take me on a tour of the "campus" -- complete with beautiful parks, amazing buildings and impressive monuments. I had never been on Mr. Gates's turf -- and was thrilled to be able to see it for the first time! When I walked into the engineer's office, he was grinning. (Hey, I just thought he was a generally happy guy!) After a few minutes of small talk, he showed me an image on his computer -- a photo of a beautiful Ferrari, glowing in this wild deep purple hue. I thought he had found the photo at Car and Driver's website. "Ben, can you believe this is my car? My wife and I flew to Italy to watch as it was being built on Ferrari's assembly line. We wanted to make sure the color was perfect!" As you can imagine, I was floored! That was HIS car in HIS driveway! So I asked -- "How long have you been working here at Microsoft?" He told me that he'd been there just under 10 years. And noted -- he was thinking about retiring soon. As we toured more of the "campus", I discovered that Microsoft has created nearly 21,000 millionaires and multi-millionaires in its brief 20-year existence. Impressive!

Re:NAZI's and DMCA (2, Informative)

peddrenth (575761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510927)

The original codebreaking was never in question here, the author's point is:

One of the uses to which this movie can be put is to decode something which the reviewer used to copy-protect his work. (remember, the infringing use does not have to be the primary use of a circumvention device)

With a copy of this movie, I would be able to do something illegal (i.e. read and copy a paragraph of encrypted text) which would not be otherwise possible.

Now, everyone check your browser settings. If it caches any pages, I'm suing you all for copying this post.

Re:NAZI's and DMCA (4, Insightful)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510939)

"Control of the flow of information and ownership of information (and everything else) is a basic principal of any fascist state."

And complete lack of control/ownership of information (and everything else) is a basic principal of any anarchistic state.

Any government requires citizens to give up certain freedoms in order to exist. For example, I am generally prohibited from walking into a busy shopping mall and firing a gun into the air. The goal is to walk the careful balance between too many freedoms (allowing people to randomly shoot people on the street, allowing strangers to wander through your house at 3 am) and too few freedoms (disallowing political dissent, making all property owned by the state).

It's unfair to reject the notion of controlling information simply because it's something that fascists took to the extreme. You're welcome to argue that the current information control in "free" countries is too far towards the fascist side, but that requires a more detailed, relative judgement.

To further make the point, incarceration of law breakers is also a basic principal of any fascist state. And yet that doesn't make our jail system inherently wrong.

All that being said, I do believe that the DMCA does go too far at times. I do not, however, disagree with the underlying motive of reducing copyright infringement.

Re:NAZI's and DMCA (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510945)

Why would they bother with such a law? They already demonstrated in many other situations that they didn't need courts as they were happy to send around jack-booted stormtroopers to take people away in the middle of the night, are just whip up hysteria and let the people deal with it.

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510783)

This movie is about sex and mathematics..

I'm not even gonna say it ;)

Re:Wow. I will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510998)

Maybe we'll get to see Dr. Turing getting hot with 18 year old boys.

English, know it much? (1)

DirkDaring (91233) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510785)

"In all of the scary stories Hollywood circulates about copyright piracy, nothing could be scarier that the gang of file swapping, copyright circumventing hackers in the new movie 'Enigma'."

...in the new movie 'Emigma' WHAT? That they... WHAT!?

Complete your damn sentence!

Re:English, know it much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510861)

Apparently the spelling of Enigma has changed. -Don't bitch about grammar if you can't spell.

Re:English, know it much? (1)

Wildcat J (552122) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510958)

I believe that's actually a typo rather than an incomplete sentence. I think he meant "nothing could be could be scarier than the gang of file swapping, copyright circumventing hackers..."

-J

Gosh, I'm glad this is about WWII... (0, Insightful)

Qwerpafw (315600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510789)

When I read the beginning of the review on the main page, i thought it was some nightmarish procution dreamed up by the DMCA nazis in the music/viedo industry. Actually, I got pretty worked up about by the time i clecked "Read More..." I was all ready to post a giant rant about the MPAA, the RIAA, and how they suck ass.

While I am sure that this serves as a terrific attention-getting device, in the future try not to have such blatantly BS and non-factual headlines. Its deception for the purpose of getting hits, something I didn't think slashdot would stoop to. And its "Bait and Switch," kinda, in that you come expecting something, see the add, then actually read something else.

That said, it looks like a great film. Maybe I'll go see it, though I am pretty well read on the enigma story as it is. Of course, I saw LoTR, so thats a cheesy argument ;)

Re:Gosh, I'm glad this is about WWII... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510806)

While slightly bad taste, I think it was just a lame attempt at some satire. Maybe they need a disclaimer when it's not so obvious to everyone?

Re:Gosh, I'm glad this is about WWII... (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510810)

The Engineer invited me into one of Microsoft's Secret Development Labs -- if I promised not to tell anyone about what I was getting ready to see. I leapt at the opportunity! (I must have looked like a dog with my tongue wagging!) Using a keypad, he punched in his secret code and the door opened. (I thought I was on the Starship Enterprise!) I can't tell you much -- but I'll tell you this -- Microsoft spends "truckloads" of money in researching new ideas and new technologies. He showed me around -- demonstrating some of the "cool stuff" (he liked saying that) that Microsoft would soon be releasing to the public. (Hint: Think X-Box-ish!) While we were in that Lab, he stopped, thought for a moment and said, "Rodney, everyday it still amazes me -- every single day we're generating killer ideas, using our magic system to turn these ideas into software, and getting people to shell out millions of dollars to buy our software all around the world. "Listen -- we're taking a $20,000 operating system and burning it on to a CD that costs us pennies. In any other industry, you measure margins with a razor -- but not with software industry! We have fat margins! "Look -- there is no question in my mind or Bill's mind (he calls him Bill!) that creating and publishing software is and will continue to be the most profitable business in the world for the next 50 years!" I was dumbfounded. And I was mad! I was mad that companies like Microsoft thought they had some kind of magic pixie dust they could sprinkle on their ideas -- and turn them into raging software successes! Not true! But he was also "dead-on" -- there is no single business in the world that can match the sheer potential of the software business. Bill Gates is living proof! -- To Be Continued --

Re:Gosh, I'm glad this is about WWII... (5, Funny)

redhatbox (569534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510904)


"While I am sure that this serves as a terrific attention-getting device, in the future try not to have such blatantly BS and non-factual headlines. Its deception for the purpose of getting hits, something I didn't think slashdot would stoop to. And its "Bait and Switch," kinda, in that you come expecting something, see the add, then actually read something else."

(shakes head) Funny... I actually found the intro paragraph *humorous*. Sure, it's bound to increase clickthroughs and pageviews (and bandwidth used by millions of /.ers, and the national deficit, and my dick size, errr... never mind). I say "more power to 'em", because it was meant to be funny for God's sake.

Was the humor factor really lost on that many people? Maybe this is just Monday Syndrome.

Alan Turing (1)

sspacepyro (519437) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510790)

It's too bad it sounds like it left out the most important player in the whole operation - Alan Turing.

Re:Alan Turing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510832)

Well, of course. He was homosexual, and everybody knows that the only homosexuals allowed in movies are either blatant queens or people dying from incurable diseases.

Re:Alan Turing (1)

Dante (3418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510886)

I agree; and the fact that he way gay probably had somthing to do with that. I think thats a shame, romance and gay still don't mix in Hollywood's minds.

There was a play on Turing though.BREAKING THE CODE [turing.org.uk] I allways wanted to see it. Derek Jacobi rocks!

Wish There Was An Alan Turing Film (3, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510994)

The true story of Alan Turing (see my post below) is a fascinating, albeit disturbing story. Y'know, it's too bad that Hollywood would never make a movie about him and the battles that he faced. I mean, Hollywood is notorious for copying successful movies. When Star Wars came out, everyone was making space films and TV shows. Now that Spider-man is a big hit, there's going to be a slew of comic book movies. I wish that the success of "A Beautiful Mind" would convince Hollywood that there are some fascinating stories about brilliant scientists and the incredible challenges they faced. There are a lot of fascinating stories out there.

GMD

intro copy (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510797)

the intro copy probably was as funny as PetsorFood.com [petsorfood.com]

no, actually that place is funnier, if a bit sick.

I think the PBS documentary on Enigma was probably more on the money, but not as viable for Hollywood type profit motives.

Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510800)

I balk at your comparison between Big Media and the Nazis. And l33t H4x0rz vs. Bletchley Park? Todebreakers of that time don't have too much in common with today's copyright-circumventing hackers.

The fictional encomium to hacking (the Cryptonomicon) tries to draw a parallel, but let's not forget that the codebreakers of WW2 were trying to save their country. They didn't think "information wants to be free"-as a matter of fact, the fact that Enigma was broken was one of the most jealously guarded secrets of the war.

Today's hackers (or "crackers" if you prefer) are mostly motivated by challenge and ego. Although there is a mythological character called "the good hacker," he coincides with reality about as much as the "honorable thief."

Re:Hmmm (1)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510953)

The code breakers at Betchley Park didnt even know what they going to work at when they were interviewed. Some were asked to complete crosswords in interviews.

http://www.enigma-themovie.com (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510816)

That's the right link to the Enigma move site. Not http://www.enigmathemovie.com

Society Only Appreciates Scientists In Movies (5, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510840)

This movie may dramatize the codebreakers as sex symbols and symbols of power but this was certainly not the case in real life. Consider the case of brilliant Alan Turing. He essentially led the effort to break the Engima code. How did society repay him? He was an outcast for being an "out" homosexual. He was harrassed throughout his life (read more [lambda.net] ). The British government let the professional and personal attacks on him continue because they didn't want to reveal his role in helping to crack the code, even years after the war was over. Unable to accept the fact that the same government he did an incredible service for now actively attacked him, he committed suicide. The "we need to keep his role secret" excuse is rediculous. No one raised a stink when Churchil published his memoroirs, which were filled with sensitive material.

I don't suppose the true story of Turing made it into this film at all.

GMD

Re:Society Only Appreciates Scientists In Movies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510857)

homosexuals should be harassed until they stop acting upon their disgusting learnt "needs".

it's better for a society to lose a mathematical genius than to let him spread his sickness all around as if was supposedly acceptable (fuck you you "open minded" liberals who are destroying our society as we speak now!).

Re:Society Only Appreciates Scientists In Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510922)

riiiight. so you realize society would be basically nowhere close to where it is now without all the homo's in the past who have contributed so much? Newton, for instance? There's a ton more. Get your head out of the ground. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the main reason people lash out at gays is because they have issues with their own sexuality. They hate the fact that gays have accepted what they are, and live with it, and don't deny themselves. You probably go around saying how gays choose to be gay, since you obviously have "chosen" to be straight. well honey, it's gonna hit you sooner or later in your miserable life that denying who you are is a self destructive illness, and it aint gonna get you anywhere except for a public bathroom late at night getting anonymous blowjobs from other closeted pricks, while your wifey is at home getting ploughed by the mailman.

Re:Society Only Appreciates Scientists In Movies (2)

blamanj (253811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510894)

I don't suppose the true story of Turing made it into this film at all.

According to IMDB [imdb.com] , there's no character named "Turing" at all, so unless they all have fictionalized names, he doesn't even play a part.

It would be sad, though, if he was left out completely, and there wasn't a least a character who "represented" him.

Re:Society Only Appreciates Scientists In Movies (1)

clion999 (565741) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510933)

According to one of the links above [geocities.com] , Turing was one of the codebreakers who served as a model for the protagonist. They left out the gayness, however, because the protogonist was obviously ga-ga over a girl.

False advertising (1, Redundant)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510859)

That is absolutely the worst introductory paragraph for a review that I have ever seen. I am not fond of the DMCA either, but don't you think that the opening paragraph describing the review should have at least some resemblance to what the movie is actually about?

I am very disappointed in Slashdot (timothy in particular) for using that first paragraph as the summary on the main page. If you're going to publish the review at all, for heaven's sake, take the time to write two sentences describing the review, or excerpt a useful section, instead of using the useless and misleading first paragraph! Here, I'll do it for you:

Peter Waner reviews Enigma, writing "Enigma" is about good codebreakers -- the mathematicians and clerks of Great Britain's Bletchley Park who helped the Allied cause during World War II by breaking the German coding machine known as "Enigma." (Read on for the rest of Peter's review.)

National Cryptologic Museum has an Enigma (3, Informative)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510863)

If you're interested in cryptography, and you can get to Maryland (USA), visit the National Cryptologic Museum [nsa.gov] . Among other things, they have an Enigma there. If you can't go and visit yourself, here's their picture and a short description of the Enigma [nsa.gov] . They have lots of other exhibits too, and there's no entrance fee. Last time I visited, they even let you play with an Enigma, so you could encrypt and decrypt messages with it.

-1, Troll (2, Flamebait)

foobar104 (206452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510864)

I really, really wish you could moderate stories as well as comments.

Ambitious Subject (2, Funny)

Mignon (34109) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510866)

This movie is about sex and mathematics and the crucial satisfaction that comes from understanding the depth of their power.

Sex and mathematics?

The Real Story (5, Insightful)

instinctdesign (534196) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510868)

I've heard good things about the film, and hopefully it will get to a screen near me. I would also highly recommend, if your interested in documentaries about the real story, Nova's excellent "Breaking the Code. [pbs.org] "

Its really amazing some of the details that people never hear about breaking the Enigma code. One quick fact/story that I remember (obviously paraphrased and correct me if I make any errors, its been a bit since I last saw it): One of the first versions of the Enigma code that the British were able to crack, was the Luftwaffe code. How? To set up the machine to decode the enigma code, you needed to base the rotors off a three letter unencrypted sequence and another three letters that were encrypted. Unfortunately for the Germans, the operators got lazy all too often. If the first three letters were HIL, any guess what the next three encrypted were? Yup, TER, spelling out "Hitler." Other operators would use their names or their girlfriend's. It wasn't that the code was flawed, it took the German operators, inadvertently of course, to help the British break their own enigma.

Its in many ways analogous to the great majority of system problems now, open ports, unpatched software, etc. Any system can be nearly perfect, until you add a human to run it. ;-)

Re:The Real Story (0, Troll)

Yankovic (97540) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510891)

who the fuck is hilter?

Re:The Real Story (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510989)

Mr. Hilter [uibk.ac.at] was the National Bocalist candidate from North Minehead.

Alan Turing (5, Informative)

gwernol (167574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510870)

My biggest concern about the movie, which I haven't yet had the chance to see, is that it seems to miss out the role of Alan Turing. Turing, for those who don't know, was one of the founders of computing. He lead the team that built one of the first digital computers and developed the theoretical foundation for all of modern computing. He is an absolutely key figure in 20th. century science, perhaps as important as Einstein.

He was also a leading figure at Bletchely Park and it is highly doubtful that Enigma would have been broken without him. If you were to single out one figure as the key to breaking the code it has to be Turing.

So its worrying that a film of this critical moment in world history seems to muddy [cryptographic.co.uk] the role of Turing. Andrew Hodges who wrote the review I link to, wrote an excellent biography [amazon.com] of Turing that should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves even remotely a geek. Turing achieved more in his sadly shortened life than most of us could dream of. The fact that the story of Bletchley Park has been turned into a film that excludes Turing is truly sad.

Re:Alan Turing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3510890)

well of course. I mean, they'd have a hard time making the fact that he was gay "Socially acceptable". Much easier to leave him out entirely. They managed to white wash Nash's sexuality, and look at the piece of crap movie that turned out there. Just a bunch of hollywood fluff for the masses.

Re:Alan Turing (2, Insightful)

Dante (3418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510973)

I agree; and the fact that he way gay probably had somthing to do with that. I think thats a shame, romance and gay still don't mix in Hollywood's minds.

There was a play on Turing though.BREAKING THE CODE [turing.org.uk] I allways wanted to see it. Derek Jacobi rocks!

BTW I own a first addition American of the Hodges book.

Well... (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510874)

It's almost the same, excepts "artists" isn't the real term - say "soldiers". Ultra is the war effort kiddies. You get the rest. Hence Paragraph 1 is relevant, but a bit of teaser.

The movie seems interesting. Is it me, or would a serious 2 hours spent on just the cracking of the code have been more entertaining? I understand the made-for-TV versions are there (probably better), but there's something important to give the public a sense of just how difficult, important and exciting hacking can be. And I'm not talking about having numbers and letters glow as in A Beautiful Mind - sheesh.

With that said, by the time these are well-documented, they are old. I don't expect a movie of The Cuckoo's Egg or the fun of the young Doug Hofstadler's (sp.) GEB.

If this movies gets some attention, maybe Wolfenstien v?.0 will have an Engima machine in there somewhere, althought I don't expect it to beyond a puzzle of Myst-level.

mug

A few minor changes (5, Insightful)

return 42 (459012) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510876)

Producer: What a great idea! Let's tell the story of how brilliant hackers cracked the German codes and won WWII. Oh, wait, little problem here. The chief hacker was (gasp) a poofter. Horrors! The audience won't like that!

Writer: I know! We'll fictionalize it, then we can have a nice straight protagonist, the audience will like it, and we'll still get to tell a cool story!

Someone way down on the totem pole: But isn't that kind of dishonoring the memory of the genius who actually did the work?

Producer: (Hands over ears) LA LA LA LA I can't hear you...

Role of the Poles (5, Interesting)

dunstan (97493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510880)

We Brits often complain about how war films are slanted to play up the American involvement because that's where the money for the films comes from (cf Memphis Belle). After the British release I heard an interesting radio interview where a Polish veteran was complaining about how the Poles don't get a proper share of the glory in this story.

[minor spoiler alert] The point he was making was that not only did the Poles find the machine in the first place, but if they hadn't kept quiet about it for the duration of the war then Hitler would have abandoned Enigma much sooner, or at least have had an inkling that his communications were being intercepted. But the secrecy surrounding the codebreaking operation was so good from *all* parties that Rommel went to his grave cursing the spy who was giving away information from his signals back to Germany.

There was an excellent series on Channel 4 about the operation about three years ago, and I would assume that it has been aired on PBS (though maybe not because it isn't exactly complimentery towards our American allies). Enigma makes the whole subject into a story, but the subject also bears telling in a documentary style.

Dunstan

What?! (0, Redundant)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510895)

How does this guy pull off trying to make a link between the Enigma machine and Gnutella?

Sure, both are going against some sort of protection, but seriously, do you want to get your story posted that bad that you have to throw in something about Copywrite protection and the DMCA? This entire article was pointless....

This film is like rewriting the life of JFK.. (1)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510912)

...and making him a commie pheadophiliac homosexual.

A bad movie trying to solely cash in and not honour the actual people it pretends to.

And to my knowledge it didnt do well here in the UK either.

So, let us summarize (1)

motek (179836) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510919)

Turing: gone.
The Poles: absent.
The vilian: A Pole working at Bletchley Park(beep! there were none in the Real Life!), sspying for the Nazis.

And you call it 'slightly fictionalized'? That's a fine spin, thank you very much!

-m-

All's fair in love and warez. (0, Offtopic)

blair1q (305137) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510925)

Law can't stop crime. Law can only direct authority to apprehend and punish criminals.

Just thought I'd mention that.

--Blair

I loved it..... (1)

diorio (244324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3510957)

....seeing as I haven't seen any comments or opinions about the movie....I loved it. Kate Winslet does a great job as the mousey/nerdy girl and I would kill my whole family to spend one night with Saffron Burrows! While the reviewer is correct that they do speak about how they broke the codes and the lingo is right on.....I still could have used a little more info on that half of the plot....it was more love story than code breaking 75/25 split. Go see it, it's worth your time. (my mom even loved it)
.

William Tutte (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3511003)

Here's a story [theglobeandmail.com] about William Tutte who also worked at Bletchley, but he worked on breaking FISH. I went to what was probably his last lecture, about three months ago.
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