A 16-year-old Norwegian boy who reportedly helped develop a program that decrypts commercial DVDs was arrested Jan. 24 at his home in Larvik, Norway, by agents of the National Authority of Fraud Investigation, a Norwegian agency responsible for environmental, computer, and economic crime. The arrest triggered a public outcry from computer hobbyists and civil-liberties groups, who say Johansen has done nothing illegal.

The arrested boy, Jon Johansen, is known in the digital world as the co-founder of a hacker hobbyist group called MoRE (Masters of Reverse Engineering). He and other members of his group developed DeCSS, a program that decrypts the CSS (Content Scrambling System) that is used to encrypt commercial DVD-ROMs. The program DeCSS is itself the subject of three cases in the United States; the Motion Picture Association of America and a group of movie studios have sued several Web site operators who published or linked to the DeCSS source code.

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