Sony Action Against Hacker Exposes Visitors To His Web Site

Sony Action Against Hacker Exposes Visitors To His Web Site

Caught in the blast of Sony’s lawsuit against the man who jailbroke the PlayStation 3 is anyone who may have visited his website, under a court order that set off privacy advocates and further angered hackers.

A federal magistrate in San Francisco ruled Sony may subpoena the IP addresses of everyone who visited George Hotz’s personal Web site in the past 26 months. Those who did so and live in Northern California may be especially concerned, as Sony sought the subpoena on grounds to prove that the case belongs in federal court for that jurisdiction, and not in New Jersey, where Hotz (pictured) lives.

The subpoena covers and the YouTube account names of anyone who accessed a private video about the jailbreak on Hotz’s YouTube account. Additional subpoenas supply Sony with Tweets published by Hotz and information about his account on the Web site PSX-Scene.

Sony said it needed this information to assess “how rampant the access to and use of these circumvention devices has been in California in order to rebut Mr. Hotz’s suggestion that his illicit conduct was not aimed at the forum state.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation called Sony’s subpoena request “overly broad,” and a violation of Hotz’s freedom of speech, but to no avail. Sony’s request to the magistrate said Hotz himself had agreed not to oppose the subpoenas in exchange for Sony narrowing their scope.

Sony wins subpoenas revealing visitors to PS3 jailbreaker site [The Register]


  • This is pretty disgusting on Sony’s part. This guy outsmarted them because they took away linux support, and now they are just super mad enough to invade everyone’s privacy.

    I never visited the website, but what does this say for people who visited the site, but didn’t download the hack? Will they be treated as criminals, simply for VISITING A WEBSITE?

    • Actually the removal of linux happened long after this guy started tearing apart his ps3 trying to hack it.

      It wasn’t until he first displayed a modification to the systems GameOS that linux was removed.

    • I think you’re over-assuming things. Who said they were treating everyone like criminals?

      It’s no more disgusting for Sony to do this than it is for a federal agency to look into your internet activities if you visited a website on how to build bombs of weapons of mass destruction.

      The courts have obviously agreed that Geohotz has caused/contributed to the irreparable damage incurred to Sony because of what he and his affiliates did.

      But it does not mean anyone who’s merely visited the website is guilty, however they have been granted, and have every right to, find out if you’ve been doing something you shouldn’t have been.

    • Bogos do you ever research your claims you seem to have a bit of an anti sony theme happening here, read the terms of use. He violated them and now you defend him for doing the wrong thing sony is just following their terms of use, it makes sense for them to ignore their own terms of use. Oh wait no it doesn’t because that’d be a poor business move, why do people like you expect sony to say its ok to break our rules you were just doing it with good intentions. Try to justify breaking the rules however you want but the simple fact is break the rules and expect to face the consequences.

    • If you look at what they’re using the evidence for, in what’s been published anyway, it doesn’t seem as though they’re going after those people.

      All this is about trying to get the trial forum to be held California and not Hotz’ native New Jersey. This is common with IP infringement cases, where there’s a big legal wrangle over where the case should be heard and under what jurisdiction, as the internet allows IP to be infringed anywhere basically.

      Sony obviously believe they have a better chance at a good outcome in a Californian court, while Hotz is probably more worried about costs.

  • Hey, I visited his site!
    I don’t know why, but I did, and when all I saw was a crappy .txt file explaining how to go about things, I was like WHAT IS THIS and closed the tab.
    So I suppose if Sony hunts me down, I will tell them that in order to have recently played games like Uncharted 2 and NFS Hot Pursuit online, I have had to endure their official crappy firmware updates whenever someone claims to have hacked the system, which just so happens to have no added functionality to my PS3 and no actual benefit for me or my system.

  • Seems like they went overboard with this, fair enough they want to find who viewed his material, but how many of those purposely went to the site and used it with the intention of jailbreaking their device.

    It seems unjust to target people who clicked a link without knowing where it lead to, or only to read what was happening, but not to further it by jailbreaking their ps3

  • i believe they will also subpoena those who visit this news article, followed by visitors to the internets

  • Seems like this would only encourage more people to try to access the website, view this video, just to find out what the fuss is about. It would also then encourage more people to try the hack and do the exact opposite of what Sony wants.

  • God people READ the article, Sony are just doing this to tally up the people who use GeoHotz materials in San Fransisco so they can argue the case should be heard in San Fransisco as that is the hub and not in New Jersey where GeoHotz lives.

    NOT to incriminate people who use the material.

    Throwing around hate and assumptions is as good as running on to the streets and shouting WOULD SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!.

  • Sony is pathetic, the horse has bolted shutting the gate wont help!! Next time hire a proper security experts to do your crypto stuff and don’t piss off people who have more technical prowess than you by removing advertised features from your console (Linux Support) that they use.

  • What Sony are doing is very clever, if this passes then geohotz won’t win. It’s as simple as that.

  • Wow all this publicity makes me want to go have a geek and download whatever it is that’s making Sony all hot and sweaty!

    Yeah ride that little Sony pony! Yeah take it take it take it Baby Wooh!

    Sony is such a deadend company – just wiz on them when your done.

  • How about spending more time, I dont know… maybe encrypting fucking credit card information that gets sent to the internet instead of getting butthurt about the guy who exposed this massive privacy and security flaw.

      • Lol. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. doing the hack opens your PS3 to security flaws. it allows people to view your creditcard details.

        • If either of you had used basic reading and comprehension skills you would realize that thats not what I had said at all.

          It’s not “their” security Im worried about, it’s ours, the fact is that users credit card information, account information, etc is being transmitted, in plain text, over the internet to their servers with no encryption at all, which could easily be intercepted by any hacker worth their salt.

          And it may well be that the hacks expose your PS3 to others intercepting your data, but it was because of the hacks that we found out that this was the case, let me say again, CREDIT CARD INFORMATION and ACCOUNT INFORMATION are being transmitted IN PLAIN TEXT, with NO ENCRYPTION over the internet. Its like freely dangling a small child over a pit of pedophiles, those who are tall enough could reach up and grab it.

          So as far as I’m concerned, it was a horribly risky decision to make in the first place, and they should take their first steps in ratifying the problem before acting all butthurt at the guy who helped expose this massive privacy and security flaw.

  • I love this, people are upset with Sony because they’re taking action against someone that is showing others basically how to change their consoles so they might be able to play games for free instead of paying for them. Thank you Sony for sticking up for all of us developers who try to make a living from making games.

    • Good point cuddles, also this guy broke the terms of use agreement and people are defending him for it. They took away the ability to use linux because of him and now its sony’s fault for fulfilling their part of the terms of use, c’mon guys.

  • sucked in to this little dweeb if he was so smart why doesn’t he make his own gaming consol and software ? what a baby.

  • Everytime I hear another one of these stories I just picture a giant PS3 bouncing up and down, screaming like a little kid.

    They’re also implying that anyone who visited those sites is breaking some law. they’re websites that are open to anyone, whether they’re doing something or not.

    It’s a bit like saying Anyone who crosses the street is J-Walking, whether they were using pedestrian crossing or not. You know what, I’ve never heard of a Chicken joke involving pedestrian crossings. Maybe we should file a law suit against chickens in general and their j-walking ways!

    • No it isn’t and if you access a website that promotes illegal practises you are breaking the law which sony is trying to prove in court at the moment. Why cant anyone see how simple this is without bashing sony, buddy your just as bad as the ps3 you described.

      • I came across a website that promoted people getting shot, which in most places is illegal. By your logic by simply viewing that page I broke the law? Also bashing sony bashers is any better then sony bashing? Someway to treat your buddies.

        • Well no it isnt you idiot and i like what you did there with your name you are ever so clever. Perhaps i did word it wrong but if you come accross something that is illegal and the complaint filed against you(ie learning how to hack which is illegal) can be proven you can get in trouble with the law you silly bollocks. I was asking a question not hating on the individual, nice try trying to deconstruct my argument but you didnt do so well. Get over yourself buddy at the end of the day we use the same toilet.

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