• Judge allows Sony to see IPs of those visiting PS3 jailbreak site

    A federal magistrate is granting Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz’s website from January of 2009 to the present.
    Thursday’s decision by Magistrate Joseph Spero to allow Sony to subpoena Hotz’s Web provider (PDF) raises a host of web-privacy concerns.
    Respected for his iPhone hacks and now the PlayStation 3 jailbreak, Hotz is accused of breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws after he published an encryption key and software tools on his website that allow PlayStation owners to gain complete control of their consoles from the firmware on up.
    Sony also won subpoenas (PDF) for data from YouTube and Google, as part of its lawsuit against the 21-year-old New Jersey hacker, as well as Twitter account data linked to Hotz, who goes by the handle GeoHot.

    Bluehost maintains Hotz’s geohot.com site. The approved subpoena requires the company to turn over “documents reproducing all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms” tied to Hotz’s hosting. The Bluehost subpoena also demands “any other identifying information corresponding to persons or computers who have accessed or downloaded files hosted using your service and associated” with the www.geohot.com website, including but not limited to the “geohot.com/jailbreak.zip file.”
    Sony told Spero, a San Francisco magistrate, that it needed the information for at least two reasons.
    One is to prove the “defendant’s distribution” of the hack. The other involves a jurisdictional argument over whether Sony must sue Hotz in his home state of New Jersey rather than in San Francisco, which Sony would prefer. Sony said the server logs would demonstrate that many of those who downloaded Hotz’s hack reside in Northern California — thus making San Francisco a proper venue for the case.

    The DMCA prohibits the trafficking of so-called “circumvention devices” designed to crack copy-protection schemes. The law does not require Sony to prove that Hotz received payment for the hack, which was designed to allow PlayStation 3 owners the ability to run home-brewed software or alternative operating systems like Linux. It builds on a series of earlier jailbreaks that unlocked less protected levels of the PlayStation’s authentication process.
    Jailbreaking a console is also a prerequisite to running pirated copies of games, which Sony emphasizes in its lawsuit.
    “I think the these subpoenas, the information they seek, is inappropriate,” said Corynne McSherry, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In a letter to Magistrate Spero, she termed the subpoenas “overly broad.” (PDF)
    The judge also signed off on a Google subpoena seeking the logs for Hotz’s Blogger.com blog,geohotps.3.blogspot.com.
    A YouTube subpoena, also approved, seeks information connected to the “geohot” account that displayed a video of the hack being used: “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew.” The subpoena demands data to identify who watched the video and “documents reproducing all records or usernames and IP addresses that have posted or published comments in response to the video.”

    A fourth subpoena is directed at Twitter, demanding the disclosure of all of Hotz’s tweets, and “documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with the Twitter account.”
    Sony has threatened to sue anybody who posts the hacking tools or the encryption key. It is seeking unspecified damages from Hotz.

    A hearing on whether Hotz will be tried in San Francisco or New Jersey is set for next month in San Francisco federal court.

    Source: Ars Technica
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Sony is going all out on this, and appeals courts will set some nice precedents for this to not be done again.

      I have been to the Geohot site. I have not bothered to mod my PS3. I am absolutely certain that the courts will not allow Sony to do a shakedown of everyone who has visited a blog site, or watched a Youtube video. Talk about crippling the flow of information and free speech. Civil rights lawyers will eat this one up- and make it far more difficult for other corps to do this sort of thing.

      It will also act as another challenge against the overly broad DMCA.

      Have I mentioned that I will NEVER purchase another item from Sony? In my book, they just keep digging their own grave. Prick fucks!!!
    1. iLOVENZB's Avatar
      iLOVENZB -
      I wouldn't give it any time before:


    1. usr's Avatar
      usr -
      They want this info to keep the case in CA vs going to NJ where geohot is. CA laws are much better for them. I was sued over the DMCA and they tried to keep the case in CA, but they failed and were going to have to come to my state (they gave up at that point). If he can get it out of CA that would be a very good start, his hosting providers location might even be an option, about anything but CA..
    1. Funkin''s Avatar
      Funkin' -
      What bullshit. They are going way too far on this. You don't see Nintendo acting like such douchebags over their consoles, and people have been able to run homebrew and play downloaded commercial games on both the DS and Wii for years now. And it's now known that you can do the same on the 3DS(who Nintendo claimed was unhackable), and you don't see them going to the lengths that Sony is to stop it.

      There's only a select few games on the ps3 that I'm interested in. And I'm not sure it's worth it anymore to buy a console from these guys just to play those few games.
    1. darkmawl's Avatar
      darkmawl -
      I understand Sony needs this information to prove where the file was downloaded and how many times. I am pretty sure that those companies can create such a report for Sony without having to include IP adresses, real adresses and/or usernames.
    1. TheFoX's Avatar
      TheFoX -
      Sony are being total pricks over this. To expect total control over their hardware, after we have bought it, is disgraceful. After all, they cannot tell us what to watch on a Sony TV, so why dictate how we use our PS3s.

      Could you imagine if Ford or General Motors started suing motorists for modifying their cars from original spec. Also, what happens in 5 or 10 years time, when we are on PS4 or PS5. Would jailbreaking a PS3 still be a crime?

      And why is it a crime? Why can I not circumvent a measure that limits my use of my equipment? Why is MY equipment governed by someone else?

      If I buy a PS3, I should be able to do with it what I want, when I want, and how I want to. If someone offers a way to alter the PS3, it should be my choice whether to implement it or not. The most that SONY should be able to do is to void the waranty should I use such a circumvention, not sue me for tampering with something that I have legally purchased.

      Remember that when we buy a PS3, we buy a PS3, and not a license to use a PS3. The PS3 belongs to the consumer, and if you want to throw it out of the window, smash it with a sledgehammer, drive over it with your 4X4, or jailbreak it with some freely available software, why can't you?

      In my mind, SONY, using their weight, are bullying the consumer in to doing what they want, rather than what we want. This reminds me of the time SONY decided, without our knowledge, to install rootkits on our PCs.