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"miTaKaTTa" CD-ROM key service
A multi-media information exchange system
Starting information sales of the multimedia age.
Computers are rapidly becoming ever more popular, and with this has come the increasing use of CD-ROM technology to provide software. This has served to suddenly expand the application software market.
Amidst this background, in 1995 (Heisei 7) NTT, in a joint venture with Microsoft, developed "miTaKaTTa", a key service which provides features for managing software right of use and software charge collection using inexpensive, high capacity CD-ROMs.
CD-ROM sales companies often put many pieces of software they would like to sell on a CD-ROM and then get it into the hands of PC users by such means as including it inside a computer magazine. CD-ROMs can store up to 600 MB of data. That's equivalent to 600 floppies, or 150 books. With this kind of storage capacity they can be used to supply a variety of software. Except for demo portions, most of this software is locked (guarded) so that it cannot be used as-is.
The user can try out the demo and, if he decides he wants to buy it, get the key needed to access the software with his PC from a center such as NTT Telemarketing which represents the software sales company. The user can then freely utilize the software. There are two main ways to pay for use of software: one is to buy the software upon copying it, the other is to pay a fee each time a game is played or dictionary is looked up. Payment is made immediately by credit card.
This allows the customer to purchase software 24 hours a day from his PC without having to go to a store. This approach lowers costs since a CD-ROM and packaging are not required for each separate piece of software.
Guarding software with coded keys
The main technological issue presented by this service is how to ensure security such that unauthorized use of information on the CD-ROM is not permitted and that keys are not stolen.
Each piece of software on the CD-ROM is guarded by its own encrypted key. Encryption technology developed independently by NTT whereby data is repeatedly mixed is used. This technology is named FEAL (Fast Data Encipherment Algorithm).
Since this technology allows efficient, high speed encryption, it is widely used in communications equipment and IC cards.
The key to unlocking the coded CD-ROM software can be transmitted from the center to the terminal via public phone lines. In order to prevent the key from being stolen during transmission, the "InfoKet-C System" was developed. Under this technology dual encryption and a complicated transmission protocol are used. By combining several encryption methods, the coded key is changed many times during transmission under this system.
Once the key is copied and the product opened, random numbers are used so that the coded key cannot be used again so that someone else cannot buy software pretending to be the original buyer.
Also, while the key received from the center is decrypting the encoded CD-ROM software, the CD-ROM driver of the terminal places the key in access program memory which cannot be reached by the user, and then automatically deletes the key after it has been used.
Any attempt to analyze the encryption key requires highly intensive calculation. The calculation would take a workstation two years to solve. And since it would take a programing genius to analyze the CD-ROM driver program, this security is considered impossible to break.
CD-ROM information encryption technology and key transfer technology the "miTaKaTTa" CD-ROM key service was provided and developed by NTT, while CD-ROM driver technology was provided and developed by Microsoft.
Direct marketing using multimedia
Beginning in May of 1995 (Heisei 7), the "miTaKaTTa" CD-ROM key service was used to guard Internet navigation software, screen saver software and electronic art distributed on CD-ROM in magazines and books. In October of the same year, it was used in the sales of a CD-ROM map of Japan. Expanded use, from movies, to music, games and PC software, is expected in the future.
This is how "miTaKaTTa" has been used in direct marketing using multimedia. The use of this CD-ROM key service has allows producer and consumer to be directly connected over a network to create a new commerce channel. The encryption key know-how utilized by this service is expected to expand onto the Internet and satellite services in the future, with many diverse uses expected among multimedia companies.