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Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Judge says Sony can see visitors to hacker's site

By Hayley Tsukayama

A judge has said its okay for Sony to get the IP address of every user who has visited a Web site containing a hack for the PlayStation 3. The court order, issued by U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero, grants Sony permission to acquire the IP address of anyone who visited hacker George Hotz's Web site from January 2009 to the present from his Web provider. The judge also signed off on subpoenas of Google, YouTube and Twitter seeking the logs for visits to Hotz's Web site, the identities of those who watched a video of the hack on his YouTube account, and his tweets and contact information associated with his Twitter account.

Hotz published a hack to enable users to run other operating systems on the console after Sony decided to discontinue that feature on the PS3. The subpoena of hosting site Bluehost asks for, among other things, "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 Web site, including but not limited to the "geohot.com/jailbreak.zip file."

According to Wired, Sony wants the information to prove the distribution of the hack and to try to bolster its case to have Hotz tried in San Francisco instead of his home state of New Jersey. The logs, Sony said, should show that a substantial amount of users who downloaded the file are from Northern California.

A hearing to decide whether Hotz can be tried in California is set for next month.

Related Stories:

Court approves Sony's restraining order against George Hotz

Sony takes legal action over PS3 hacks

Sony: We will ban any PS3 hackers

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 7, 2011; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Gaming, Privacy, Security  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Google activates 'kill switch' to remove Android malware
Next: Sony bumps PSPGo back to $200

Comments

Is there an expectation of privacy when you view a video on YouTube or visit a web page whether or not the video or web page contains directions for defeating a security measure? So could Master Lock obtain the names of everyone who watched the bump lock videos posted a few years ago? If you attend a sports event and someone tapes and posts it online can the producers obtain the names and addresses of everyone who bought tickets online since everyone who bought tickets is now a suspect? I think there needs to be a third party that is trusted and non-interested involved to make sure peoples right to privacy is not infringed.

Posted by: Cleveland666 | March 7, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I bought a soda, chewing gum and a hotdog on my credit card at a store which later was found to also sell illegal knockoffs of Bulgari jewelry, for cash. Is Bulgari entitled to my name, address, cc#?

For me, this ruling has deep and troubling implications.

Posted by: evan1138 | March 7, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

What Sony is doing right now is completely illegal, not to mention useless. They do not have the right to restrict customers as to what they can do with their products after they have purchased them. I did not sign anything to buy a PS3, there was no agreement that I would not hack it, and hacking and piracy are not one and the same. GeoHotz worked hard to find a flaw in the PS3's security system that did not allow for piracy and yet piracy is exactly what sony is suing him for. As for the seizing of IP's that visited Geohotz' website, that site hosted iPhone Jailbreak files for years after January 2009, so not only is that an illegitimate source of how many people have acted upon the hole, but Geohotz' website itself is not the sole source of the root key. For example: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19

Sue me sony. Anyway, the only way that sony will learn that this is not acceptable is to teach them this. Personally I will stop buying sony products or promoting them in any way, otherwise we simply admit that this kind of activity is acceptable, which it certainly is not. I suggest and hope you all do the same if you appreciate your freedom to do what you wish with what you buy.

Posted by: DonotPromoteSonyProducts | March 7, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

What Sony is doing right now is completely illegal, not to mention useless. They do not have the right to restrict customers as to what they can do with their products after they have purchased them. I did not sign anything to buy a PS3, there was no agreement that I would not hack it, and hacking and piracy are not one and the same. GeoHotz worked hard to find a flaw in the PS3's security system that did not allow for piracy and yet piracy is exactly what sony is suing him for. As for the seizing of IP's that visited Geohotz' website, that site hosted iPhone Jailbreak files for years after January 2009, so not only is that an illegitimate source of how many people have acted upon the hole, but Geohotz' website itself is not the sole source of the root key. For example: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19

Sue me sony. Anyway, the only way that sony will learn that this is not acceptable is to teach them this. Personally I will stop buying sony products or promoting them in any way, otherwise we simply admit that this kind of activity is acceptable, which it certainly is not. I suggest and hope you all do the same if you appreciate your freedom to do what you wish with what you buy.

Posted by: DonotPromoteSonyProducts | March 7, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19

Posted by: jackhoff | March 7, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Guys, this isn't about "you're all suspects now."

Sony is doing this to try to prove that the hack was distributed back on the West Coast so that they can get Hotz, who lives in Jersey, tried in San Fran. They just want to prove there was enough interest and distribution there.

Either way, I think Sony is just giving themselves a bunch of bad PR and can potentially open the floodgates for future lawsuits from other companies, like Apple.

Posted by: 8bitjay | March 8, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

So I bought a car that manuf painted yellow. My thought later was "that's too damn loud". Painted beast British racing green. Am I abusing ownership? Is the paint mauf? Or the painter?
Had I painted over a Picasso... Doubt Sony is in that league.
Had the owner-viewers stolen their toy that's something else. Bag of cats case.

Posted by: beergas | March 11, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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