Sony Given Access To Hacker’s PayPal Records

Sony Given Access To Hacker’s PayPal Records

Sony Given Access To Hacker’s PayPal RecordsAccording to Wired a Federal Magistrate has allowed Sony to access George ‘Geohotz’ Hotz’s PayPal account as part of its civil lawsuit against Hotz. Sony is claiming that Hotz received payment through PayPal for his PS3 hack.

Apparently Sony would rather try the case in San Francisco, as opposed to New Jersey, where Hotz resides. If Sony can use the PayPal history to prove that George Hotz received donations from Northern California, then Sony can convince the courts to try the case in San Francisco.

Hotz is currently claiming that he did not receive any payments for the hack.

This is the latest in a number of attempts by Sony to gain information from George Hotz, after successfully winning subpoena’s for data from Youtube, Google and Twitter. Sony were also granted the right to the IP address of anyone who visited his site.

[Protip: do not click the afore mentioned link, in case the courts grant Sony the right to rummage through your garbage]

Sony to Get PS3 Hacker’s PayPal Records [Wired]


  • I think its good that they’re tearing his life apart. This guy is responsible for opening the piracy floodgate on the PS3, effectively costing developers millions upon millions of dollars over the course of the next 5-10 years, annually.

    As gamers, we should all be outraged at this douche – he, and people like him, are the reason console developers have to invest so much money in console security and why every time you buy a PC game now you’ve got to run through 20 security checks before you can even play it.

    • Originally I was going to post a long post about how DRM has been around for many many MANY years and how he didnt actually enable the ability to play backups and all his releases have had that feature lacking because he did it for the homebrew side of the scene, and while he is a douche you cannot blame him solely, but then I realised it would fall on deaf ears so I say this. DO. YOU. RESEARCH.

    • What a load of crap. So he’s praised when he unlocked the iPhone for everyone to use how they wanted, but he’s a horrible bad guy when he does the same thing for the PS3?

      He didn’t release any tools for playing pirated games. In fact, it’s my understanding that he put measures in place to try to stop it. He gave people the freedom to use the hardware they paid for in the way they wanted to, for free, and you side with the billion-dollar corporation who wants nothing but your money?

      Pirating games is bad, cheating online is bad, but homebrew is fantastic, legal, and nobody should be condemned for giving people the freedom to use their own hardware how they see fit.

      • Not a load of crap at all.

        In fact I think you should check your sources. George Hotz publicly flaunted the “keys to the front door” for unlocking the PS3. Opening the way for piracy, multiplayer cheating, and everyone’s favourite excuse…home-brew.

        Also what’s wrong with siding with a billion-dollar company? They spent a significant amount of money to bring you this platform and more cash again to support it via the PSN, exclusives and developer support. It boggles my mind more that people flock to support the person who has compromised the PS3 to varying degrees.

        Home-brew? Really? So you bought your $500 PS3 to play Mario? Sure.

        The iPhone vs PS3 “jail-breaking” is a long-bow to stretch and I think I’ve rambled enough.

    • I think for a moment you need to look a bit beyond just gaming and piracy.
      The actions being taken by Sony here set a very dangerous precedent. What essentially is being said is that you do not have the right to use hardware how you would like.
      How would you like to be told you were not allowed to run a certain program on your computer, because the manufacturer did not approve it?

      You can say this or that about pirates and whatnot, but look at what is being done to his life, he is being tracked and pressed down upon like he is a murderer or rapist. All he has done is play around with his ps3 which HE OWNED.

      He is not committing piracy, he has not committed any actual crime.

      I have said this before, but by your logic, a gun manufacturer should be prosecuted during a murder case. As should car manufacturers in driving deaths or accidents.

      There extends a lot further than you and your friends complaining about video games. I think its time you opened your mind a little bit before you condemn someone who was only satisfying their curiosity. Striving for knowledge and learning with the tools available should be encouraged, not smacked down by the guys who think they have the real power [and this just proves that they really actually do!]

      • My understanding is that Sony aren’t going after him for hacking around with his PS3 to satisfy his curiosity. It’s the publishing of the information that’s causing the issue.

        He could have satisfied his curiosity without putting the information out into the public domain and nobody would have ever known or cared.

        One thing I would be interested to know is how Sony’s recent firmware update – which apparently closed the loophole that Hotz and Failoverflow’s work used – might affect this case. Presumably they’d be suing him for X dollars based on projected losses due to piracy etc. But if this has now been nipped in the bud by Sony’s fix then presumably those losses will be much, much smaller than might have been projected when this case started.

      • my personal view here is tough titties it’s a console.

        The company demanding you can’t install X doesn’t really come into it when it comes to computers. because unless every company took a stand. the company speaking up would simply be boycotted.

        Homebrew is a crap excuse in my mind, you can do that stuff on a PC theres no need to do it on the 360 or PS3. admittedly, half this problem would go away entirely if they had their own indy equivilant of the 360.

        the point i take issue with is that they were able to add other OS without releasing the code.

        surely he could have taken step’s himself

    • Congratulations, you are what’s wrong with the world today, you fully support a multi-million dollar company doing whatever it likes to individuals that do something it doesn’t like.

      What Sony is doing is disgusting, regardless of what Hotz did, which in this case was to publish some information online, exercise the “Free Speach” that Americans have always been so proud of, and your barracking for the company determined to ruin his life for it. It is a disgrace that the US legal system are allowing it.

      • Actually, you are whats wrong with the world. You have blind support for a pathological lying brat (check his ‘history’ ie – ‘retires’ from jailbreaking iPhone, a few weeks later he releases a new jailbreak; says he wont hack the PS3, a few months later he releases security keys) and for some reason have it in your head that he can do what ever he likes without reprise.

        Life doesnt work like that buddy.

        To use one of the stupidest analogies going around, but it seems to be what you pro-Geohot people listen to: if this brat broke into your house, stole your items and then bragged about it, you’d want your revenge. But imagine thousands of people supporting him by saying stuff like “you only had one lock on your door, you didnt bolt and nail down your belonging etc”

        This whole case is boring now. Move on, nothing to see. He is yesterday’s news and quite frankly after that ridiculous little “rap” I dont know how ANYONE can defend him… he buried himself and now all these “sympathisers” are coming out of the woodwork to support him… quite funny really.

  • I’m not aiming this at anyone in particular, but I love Kotaku, so I am saddened when this kind of attacking and name calling takes place. I mean, is it really necessary to attack someone just because they’re view is different?

    I can see both sides of the argument, but I generally think the whole situation is just kinda sad. I just hope that the industry can move forward and use this incident as a way to improve the gaming landscape for all.

    • I agree completely qbo. There are many places on the internet where it’s fine to verbally attack people for having a difference of opinion, these places are filled with the type of people who get off on starting fights. Before you grab your keyboard and start typing. Just think has this person done anything wrong by my to call them names and at the end of the day we are talking about a ps3 hacker, not hitler or sad am hussien.

  • I don’t necessarily support what the guy did, but it’s more what Sony are doing that worries me. It also paints a very bad image of Sony as a company in my eyes.

    I don’t agree with them wanting to gather information about other people. Somebody who watched a damn video shouldn’t be involved at all. That’s just plain ridicuous. It’s a massive invasion of privacy and it sets a precedent for things like this in the future, which I think everyone should be worried about. (I’m not really talking about games here by the way, but basically any technology)

    • This, so much this. It seems the courts are granting every random claim that Sony is making. That’s a very dangerous legal precedent.

      • This is how I feel as well. The guy over-stepped the bounds of the law, we can argue back and forth over motives and whether or not the laws should be there, but he’s getting charged either way.

        What Sony is doing, and being allowed to do is certainly beyond what I thought they could though. Beyond getting every minor detail of his life they are getting information on everyone who might have seen his hack? Isn’t there a law against this… I’m sure it has a name but it isn’t coming to me at the moment.

        I’m also confused on the move of venue for the trial. No doubt Sony thinks that they have a better chance in San Francisco and that’s why they want it there, but if he has received money for his hack, I’m sure it’s not only from San Francisco. Surely he can argue that any other city/state that had people that donated money to him would be just as suitable a location?

  • I think instead of sueing the guy, give him a job, its obvious he know the system inside out so he would be the man to improve the security of the system, Sony are just pissed that their star product got broken.

    Remember if it wasnt for Sony pulling “other OS” from the PS3, none of this would have happened and the homebrew community would have been happy.

    • yeah but then he’s not the freedom fighter he believes he is because he’s become an employee of the man.

      It’s why he has a list of demands that he want’s sony to adhere to

    • Wait, wait… people HONESTLY believe this is all about OtherOS and homebrew?

      LOL – and they say the government brainwashes people.. looks like hackers, crackers and pirates are just as able!

  • I find it hilarious that there are still so many people out there who go to great lengths to defend a huge, wealthy company when it uses its team of expensive lawyers to crush anyone they don’t like.

    Here’s a hint: Sony doesn’t give a shit about you.

    This is the company that brought you rootkit-based DRM on your music CDs, and took away OtherOS, a feature that you paid for. As long as you keep paying them money, they will happily keep screwing you.

    GG guys.

    • If your idea of them screwing us is providing great entertainment for a system we are perfectly happy with the way it is and feel no need for hacks/changes, then I welcome them to make a pass at me anytime.

    • Yeah, Sony would be much happier if there was noone to buy their products. They HATE doing business.

      Corporations are not mobs, they are a big group made up of little groups. Decisions are never made based on consensus nor are they made by one person.

      Don’t be so ignorant. A company exists to make moneu, but its made up of people, not monsters.

      • Actually like the mob is exactly how corporations like to act now days, crush people who annoy you to scare others into doing as you say.
        They are a business and all they care about is money, but their behavior here is disgusting.
        If they want to stop piracy they could go the MPAA or RIAA way and start sueing the downloaders of copyright material… But no they want to crush the guy who released information they didn’t want released.
        The white hat hackers who release information about security faults so people are aware of what to defend against should worried about the precident being set here.

        • What alot of people (especially Goehot supporters) dont seem to understand is there is a difference between:

          1) Telling everyone there is a security flaw in your system, and here’s how you can fix it


          2) Releasing the security keys to the world, knowing damnwell it would enable piracy (coz I doubt a guy this ‘smart’ would be so naive as to think piracy would not be a result of this) and then making a rap about it to goad a corporation.

          Sometimes being humble is more important that bragging rights. He wanted the world to know he enabled PS3 piracy (oops sorry the return of OtherOS and homebrew – hows that going by the way?). I mean, can ANYONE tell me who was the first people to create a PSone mod-chip?

    • i dont think you have to worry, as the court has already told him to remove all content on his site (only his view and somewhat blog on events), but i think sony will be interested to multiple visits to the site, i mean what use for someone visiting once?

  • Access to a paypal account in a civil case? First the cops raid the guys house, now his finances, sounds like Sony is running the show…

  • I hope Sony and the Courts fry this little wanker and he is penniless for all eternity.
    A bonus would be if he spends some quality time in a cell with a large, amorous, tattooed individual form the Blue Oyster Bar.

  • I hope people didn’t forget that his initial exploits to the PS3 was why linux was originally removed. The goals after that were to put linux back, which he could’ve easily done without releasing the PS3 keys.

    If he wasn’t a show off and posted the keys, none of this would’ve happened to him. He can crack the security of the console, keep it in his basement and say he did it with a couple of videos would’ve been enough and nobody would even care. But if he wanted fame, he had to release tools so everybody else could do it. If he kept it to himself, while it would still make Sony unhappy… they would also not bother about it.

    While you own the hardware you buy… the software (PS3 OS) has a license agreement with it which you have to agree to and people most likely skip it. If you read the license agreement and don’t agree with it, just delete all of Sony’s software and make your own or just return the product.

    As for all you homebrew supporters. Sony initally gave people a homebrew path with linux, but with that privelege abused… they removed it. And if you wanted to make homebrew for PS3 OS, then there are devkits you may purchase. Then when that doesn’t work, people who says “I can’t afford a PS3 devkit” will come along and circumventing security suddenly becomes A OK. Also applies to people who say “I can’t afford to buy PS3 games” who also thinks it is ok.

    His past success win with iPhone jailbreaking against network locks won’t be an apples apples case against PS3. If PS3 had region locks he would’ve been able to use it as his upper hand.

    Sorry for long post. But TLDR version is… if these guys kept these hacks/exploits to themselves… then none of this would be happening. Or report these security flaws to the original maker and gain some professional recognition and fame from that instead.

    It is a shame he chose to gain fame from releasing it to the public and then a terrible rap.

    • There was no abuse of the otherOS feature, the guy who discovered the exploits said that he had found them, but was not going to release them, and was instead going to try and use them so that the homebrew community could have better access to the hardware(otherOS was VERY limited with how much of the ps3s power it could access), and so sony removed it. People were then(rightly) pissed off about it, so they went about cracking it. The thing was, the whole thing spawned out of wanting to be able to run better homebrew in OtherOS, which sony was limiting. If he hadn’t of released the keys, he would be going against his whole ideal, that the platform should be open for people to develop for. Pirates are going to pirate, no matter what, it just means that now many bought ps3s so they could pirate the few games that are ps3 exclusives, they were never going to buy them in the first place.

      I have my ps3 jailbroken, I have no pirated ps3 games, the only games I do have pirated are ones that either my copies of them have become unsuable(due to degredation of the medium) or ones that you cannot get. I use mine in an arcade machine, it allows me to run the latest games(such as SF4) as well as mame games and other emulated games. I have purchased every one of my 25+ ps3 games the I currently own, with having traded in many before that.

      THe issue with the courtcase isnt the fact they are going after pirates, its the fact they are going after a guy that is against piracy, tried to keep the platform pirate free while still enabling a more open system, and the fact that sony is seemingly able to get the courts to give them access to what ever they want when really, the guy has broken no laws.

  • I laugh at people who think Sony is some poor little company that got their console hacked for no reason at all. Hey Sony shut the hell up, patch the hole already and stop crying.

  • I have no sympathy for this snot nosed brat- all the more so when I saw the gall he had to ask for donations.

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