Anyone who visited GeoHot’s PS3 jailbreak website is now part of Sony lawsuit
Wired reports that a US federal magistrate judge has ruled that Sony may learn the identities of anyone who visited the website of PlayStation 3 jailbreak hacker George Hotz since January 2009.
George Hotz – or GeoHot as you all may know him, is renowned for his input into the jailbreak scene on the iDevice but spread his knowledge to the PS3, only to be promptly sued by Sony for violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. After completing the jailbreak hack, he published an encryption key and software tools on his website so that anyone could recreate the jailbreak.
The subpoena, issued by Magistrate Joseph Spero of San Francisco, requires Bluehost who host geohot.com, to provide Sony with “documents reproducing all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms” related to Hotz’s website. This includes “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 also filed additional subpoena’s allowing them to access information from YouTube about anyone who watched a video showing the jailbreak or even just commented on the video. Google must hand over logs related to Hotz’s Blogger.com blog, and Twitter must also provide any information related to Hotz’s tweets, including “documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with the Twitter account.
Why is Sony doing this? Well, it could be a number of reasons but two stick out. Sony need to prove the jailbreak hit a wide audience in order to reinforce their point of it’s influence and the damage to their brand. The second reason is so they can provide evidence that a large number of people in northern California downloaded the jailbreak file, which would help justify them suing Hotz in San Francisco rather his home-state of New Jersey.
Sony maintain that the jailbreak GeoHot created opens up the closed-system to allow pirated copies of games to be run, while Hotz argues that it was written in such a way that it discouraged piracy.
Is Sony asking too much? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) “think the these subpoenas, the information they seek, is inappropriate”.
How do you feel about having your information readily available to Sony for simply viewing a video, maybe by accident, and then used in Federal court? Is it a breach of human rights?
We’ve opened up this thread for you to let us know what you think.