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Sony granted permission to identify hacker Geohot's website visitors

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Were you one of the many who logged on to Geohot's (aka George Hotz) website within the last year? Don't be surprised if Sony finds out. A US judge had granted the electronics giant permission to reveal the identities of anyone who visited Hotz' site from January 2009 and beyond.

The controversial decision was made last week as part of Sony's ongoing legal fracas with the young man its lawyers claim was instrumental in developing and distributing the means to jailbreak the PlayStation 3. The subpeona forces the internet host for Hotz's site, Bluehost, to provide “documents reproducing all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms.” It also demands Bluehost pass on user information for all others who came in contact with the hack file in question, geohot.com/jailbreak.zip.

According to Sony, the reason it is seeking this information is to first prove that Hotz did indeed distribute the hack and, more importantly, to sway the court into trying the case in San Francisco rather than Hotz's home state of New Jersey. It intends to do this by using the subpeonaed  info to prove the majority of those who downloaded the PS3 jailbreak file did so from Northern California.

In addition to subpeonaing Bluehost, Sony has also won similar permissions to obtain logs and user details associated with Hotz's Google blog, his “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew” YouTube video , and his Twitter account.

Worried? Don't be. Sony isn't out to sic its legal dogs on anyone who downloaded Geohot's hack. It's only out to strengthen its case against Hotz and bring the fight to its preferred state. Of course, if you're concerned about the wanton disregard for internet privacy and the ability for multinational companies to find out where you live and what you browse – then yes, this is good cause to sleep with one eye open. 

[Source: Wired ] 

Mar 7, 2011

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40 comments

  • MaelstromKING - March 10, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    I know better than to expect privacy to exist these days. It's not exactly how things are meant to be, but isn't it a little naive to believe that everything you do on the net is private? On topic though, you can't blame a company for sticking up for itself.
  • Higgins - March 10, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    Hey Mr. Lawful! I like the definition you copy/pasted. It's fancy. Yeah, I admit the word "illegal" was a little strong here. It's scary stuff nonetheless. It seems like any company with enough power can have access to anybody's personal information these days. They even took logs of his YouTube video. In my opinion, they just needed the view count to make their point. Why would they need this kind of info? You don't see any evil in this? How do you like your privacy? (I don't own a PS3 and never went on PS3 hacking websites. Just to let you know I'm not biased.)
  • MaelstromKING - March 8, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    @Higgins What exactly did they do that was illegal, Mr. Rebel? Definition of a subpoena: A subpoena that commands a person to bring certain evidence, usually documents or papers, is called a Subpoena Duces Tecum, from the Latin "under penalty to bring with you." This type of subpoena is often used in a civil lawsuit where one party resists giving the other party documents through the discovery process. If a court is convinced that the document request is legitimate, it will order the production of documents using a subpoena duces tecum. Such evil, am I right?
  • Lionzest7 - March 8, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    Please sony, fix your internal problems. Stop sending and retrieving my credit card info back and forth everytime I login to PSN...
  • Higgins - March 8, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    Sony has no right to do that. Fighting crime with illegal methods has a name. It's called vigilantism. Sony = Charles Bronson.
  • BAbaracus1983 - March 8, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    @ Scoob Sony actually is not setting any new precedent here. Nintendo has a long record of elaborate crack-downs on pirated Nintendo software in Asia. Valve also took some elaborate measures to apprehend the hacker who stole the source code for the Half-life 2 engine. Simply put, Geohotz has got to be the dumbest guy on the block. In an age where Google can remote-kill malicious apps on every Android phone, MS can brick ripped copies of Windows-7 once you connect to the net, and XBL can detect modded consoles and ban the console from XBL, he somehow thought that violating the TOS and distributing that software crack would not have any legal repercussions. Finally, I simply can't feel bad for somebody who makes official statements via rap/webcam. Even T.I. knows to wear a suit to court.
  • TheMadderHatter - March 8, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    Sony can afford to get the rights to THOSE privileges, but they're getting all pissy over an eensy bit of money they didn't get because of some piracy? Grade A corporate bull. Sony is burying itself in a nice big pile of steaming turd right now. -_-
  • purple_omlet - March 8, 2011 4:11 a.m.

    I find it to be bullshit that sony can have a say in what a person wants to do with the console that they have bought. It feels more like renting the fucking thing, since you have to abide by sony's rules. Same with Microsoft. I say, if I payed money for it, I am allowed to do anything with it that I please. tl;dr: Fuck sony
  • celticwhisper - March 8, 2011 3:49 a.m.

    I am absolutely against Sony on this and I absolutely support Geohot and everyone who visited his site. Someone on the first page said that "Sony wants this to act as a warning." Sony needs to be reminded that it's not in the business of issuing warnings, it's in the business of making video games. If something illegal is happening, leave that to the police and the courts. I really want someone at Sony to go to jail over this blatant campaign of harassment and attempted (and hopefully utterly failed) intimidation. Revoke Sony's charter! Let 2011 be the year Sony died and the year their senior executives went to federal prison! No more PS3! No more AACS! No more BD+ No more SCMS or MagicGate or XCP or SDMI! No more corporate facsism! Is the above hyperbole? Yes, a bit. Does the principle stand? Most certainly.
  • QWERTYCommander - March 8, 2011 2:39 a.m.

    But I do think Geohot is an entitled douchebag.
  • QWERTYCommander - March 8, 2011 2:37 a.m.

    No matter what you think of PS3 hacking, you can't help but be pissed at Sony. This just makes me want to pirate all first-party PS3 games, share download links on every site I know, and probably even write the download link on some paper and tape the papers around town. Good job Sony, good job. You could just, you know, bend over and accept your console has been hacked, just like every other console out right now. But nope! You have to invade people's privacy, throw lawsuits and police everywhere, and give the finger to the 4th amendment. Good job Sony. Also Sony, no matter how much you kick and scream, you are not going to get your way.
  • Shagnasty - March 8, 2011 1:33 a.m.

    Go get'em, Sony. Hurry this filth.
  • ZenPhoenix - March 8, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    Yeah, I'm sure they won't selectively choose which locations they report.
  • Blue2 - March 8, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    Here is the thing. I with sony, Geohot want to run a calculator on the ps3, thats fine but he open the door that hard to shut and if people start pirates games then it's not just sony will die, gaming will die. First companies will make more DRM. Then when sony gaming department dies, Microsoft don't have any competition so they will spike prices up for anything. Then most the developers will be closed down because no income and fear but all you get is Call of duties clones, people get bored of gaming, stamp collection would be more fun. So Please if you have passion gaming, please buy your games.
  • SideOfBeef - March 7, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    Now hold on a second, what does "identity" mean? If it's only location data, there's nothing personal about that so I see no problem.
  • NightCrawler_358 - March 7, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    Sony is right. Its stealing, (which is against the law.) If we don't pay for our games, then guess what? There aren't going to be any games left to play. I'm sure anybody who didn't actually jailbreak their PS3s will be fine.
  • KolbitosFruitJuice - March 7, 2011 11:18 p.m.

    Without knowing all the facts and details of the case, I can't make an educated comment. However, my uneducated comment is this: As long as Sony isn't sharing the information with anyone and is just using it to strengthen their case, then I'm all for it. Even if I was one of the people that visited the site, whats the worst that could happen? More junkmail? That sure makes me upset. Because junkmail is sooooooo hard to deal with.
  • FOZ - March 7, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    Why does Sony need that information? That someone visited the website doesn't guarantee they have a hacked PS3.
  • vadorsoul - March 7, 2011 10:41 p.m.

    This genuinely angers me so much that im going to post a comment saying how angry on gamesradar, you know, instead of doing something about it. And i agree with farsided, this reCAPTCHA sucks.
  • CoryM1134 - March 7, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    I've gotta say, every time I see this kid's twerpy little face I want to punch it. These feeling are independent of his hacker status and Sony's lawsuits.

Showing 1-20 of 40 comments

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