Judge lets Sony see identities of visitors to GeoHot's PS3 hacking site

By on March 6, 2011, 9:59 PM
Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero has awarded Sony a subpoena that allows the company to obtain the IP addresses of everyone who visited geohot.com, the personal website of PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz, also known as GeoHot, for the past 26 months (since January 2009). Furthermore, Sony's request for subpoenas on the account names of anyone who has accessed a PS3 jailbreak video on the 21-year-old's YouTube account, his tweets relating to the hacking on Twitter, information on people who posted comments to his blog on Blogspot, and information about his account on the PSX-Scene website, have all been granted, according to Wired.

As a result, Sony can now ask GeoHot's Web provider, Bluehost, for the IP addresses of visitors to his website who accessed or downloaded files from it. Court documents show that Sony rejected arguments submitted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that the requests were "overly broad" and violated GeoHot's rights to Free Speech. GeoHot has reportedly agreed not to oppose the subpoenas in exchange for Sony narrowing the scope of some of them.

Last month, Sony demanded that Google hand over the identities of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video posted on YouTube. GeoHot posted the video on January 7, later made it private, and then pulled it on a judge's orders.

Sony's legal attacks against the hackers that released the PS3 root key and custom firmware began two months ago. The group known as fail0verflow is accused of posting a rudimentary hack in December 2010 after finding security codes for the PS3. It was refined by GeoHot weeks later when he independently found and published the PS3 root key. The resulting hacks allow homebrew apps and pirated software to run on unmodified consoles. Sony is still threatening to sue anybody posting or distributing PS3 jailbreak code, despite the fact that the company accidentally tweeted the PlayStation 3 security key.

Sony's official stance is if you crack your PS3, you'll get banned. GeoHot meanwhile says "beating them in court is just a start."


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