Judge largely dismisses suit against Sony over PSN breach

By on October 24, 2012, 5:30 PM

US District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia has largely dismissed (PDF) a class action suit over Sony's 2011 hacking fiasco. Shortly after Sony revealed that hackers had swiped the personal details of tens of millions of PlayStation customers in a massive security breach, users retaliated with a lawsuit claiming, among other things, that the company negligently failed to provide adequate safeguards, despite knowing that its network was vulnerable.

Judge Battaglia crushed that complaint, citing clauses in the privacy policy that Sony users must agree to. In that document, the company says that it'll take reasonable measures to protect the personal data collected from customers, including encryption on credit card numbers, but that it can't promise hackers will never gain unauthorized access. "There is no such thing as perfect security," the policy reads, adding that it can't ensure the security of any user information transmitted to the company's sites or services.

The plaintiffs also sought compensation for the loss of services that were inaccessible during the outage, such as Netflix, but Sony's Terms of Service has that covered. To access the PlayStation Network, users agree to terms that state no warranty is given for the quality, functionality or availability of Sony Online Services or any content offered through the platform. Additionally, if something is knocked offline, as PSN was for many weeks last year, Sony doesn't assume liability for users' inability to access content.

Those policies effectively neutered the plaintiffs' complaints, and it doesn't help that they've been unable to show a plausible loss of money or property. The judge also didn't buy that Sony intentionally deceived users about the security and availability of its services. Nonetheless, he hasn't fully dismissed the case, granting the plaintiffs until November 9 to amend their filing based on this week's ruling. It's unclear if they will take that opportunity, though it doesn't seem like they have a leg to stand on at this point.

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