> Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 23:56:48 -0400
> From: "Johnson, Tracy"
> Subject: Eugene Watch: Volokh Conspiracy Slashdotted
> Actually on topic in a way, does that also cover TurboImage hashing?

No. MD5 hashing in the sense presented is not a method of disc addressing
database entries but a method of (fairly) reliably identifying the
contents of one file by comparing its bit pattern "fingerprint" to the
"fingerprint" of another file having known contents. If the hash sums
match then, in the vast majority of cases (>99.99999...%), the contents do

The critical element in the issue at law is the purpose of said comparison
and whether of not agents of the state can execute a "search" for
"fingerprints" on private property without a warrant, for which they need
show "probable cause."

The sophistry involved by the authorities in their attempted evasion of
the the warrant requirement lies in the meaning they attribute to the word
search. Their contention is that if they do not actually "view" the file
contents, whatever that means given that an MD5 hash must by its nature
consider every single bit in a file, then they have not "searched" the

This sort of self-justification, ascribing particular and self-serving
limits to the meanings of words, is quite common. I am both surprised and
pleased that the Justices saw through it.

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