Sony allowed to identify visitors to PS3 hacker's site

Subpoena also grants access to Twitter, Google and YouTube logs

A US court has granted a subpoena to Sony in its legal battle against PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz, allowing the firm to view visitor logs to his site as it attempts to examine the reach of the jailbreak.

Reports Wired, hosting services Google and Bluehost have been ordered to release "all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms" for Hotz' sites.

The order covers logs from January 2009 to the present date, and forms part of Sony's attempt to demonstrate that the case should be tried in its preferred locale of California, despite Hotz himself being based in New Jersey.

With the logs' help, it now seeks to prove that a relevant number of those potentially accessing the hack were based in California.

Also covered by the subpoena are YouTube and Twitter, with the former required to provide "all records or usernames and IP addresses that have posted or published comments" made in response to the video that demonstrated Hotz' jailbreaking of the PS3.

Twitter, meanwhile, must offer up "documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with [Hotz's] Twitter account".

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Latest comments (20)

Robert Kelly7 years ago
Hmm I'm a bit scared now since I "jailbroke" my spare PS3 (broken blu-ray drive). I only did it for a college society project :)
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Private Industry 7 years ago
Thats going a bit far, there is nothing usefull sony can do with my ip.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 7 years ago
Land of the free ? Sony is not even US based...
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Show all comments (20)
Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 7 years ago
Nothing to worry about. i visited the site and couldnt care less if sony knows that i was there. This is not what sony is after. Sony is just covering all the bases, just in case. I can imagine privacy groups in the States are going to have a field day with this one though....*sigh*
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Michael Bennett Jack of all trades, master of some. 7 years ago
I thought the point was to establish that modifying the PS3 is unlawful. I don't quite see how sifting through Hotz's personal contacts is going to achieve much beyond making Hotz feel uncomfortable that his privacy has been breached and giving Sony's opponents something to get wound up about. I suppose they could be looking to sue more people...
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Sam Brown Lead Audio Programmer, TT Games7 years ago
I would have thought that anyone Sony was really after would have been using an IP obfuscator anyway.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
@ Michael - this specific action relates to whether the case can be or should be held in a Californian court or not, i.e. this is why Sony need to prove that California were specifically targeted or were particularly receptive to the hacks.

I'm not sure if Sony know something we don't, but I can't particularly see this being the case. Unless like Sam alludes, there are ulterior motives for this.
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Niall McGuinness7 years ago
1984 Big Brother springs to mind.

I'm all for clamping down on piracy, but this battle against an individual is turning into target practice, accept its just shooting fish in a barrel
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William Kavanagh QA Technology, Codemasters7 years ago
I stand by the statement that if you buy hardware, you can do what you wish with it. Hacking should be encouraged. This is my personal opinion.
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Dave Sullivan Senior Audio Designer, Codemasters7 years ago
@ William

My personal opinion: I'd much sooner have a clean platform, with no hacking, no piracy and no on-line cheating due to hacks. I don't want my paid for experience ruined and I'm entitled to that.

What do you think hacking results in long term? Pfft.

I don't have any comment on the main story.
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 7 years ago
Good to see a half story.

Sony want the IP's for two reasons.
One is to prove "defendant's distribution" of the hack. The other involves a jurisdictional argument over whether Sony must sue Hotz in his home state of New Jersey rather than San Francisco

For the full story, check out...
Read more:
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Thanks, Graeme. I was wondering what the heck they wanted that information for. I'm actually a bit relieved to hear the whole story. I was a bit worried that they wanted the information to try to bring suit against individual users who visited these sites.
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Temi Web design 7 years ago
@ graeme @terence we all know they don't. Whatever backwards exploitation of the law they are going for will be just that. We all damn well know this thing is not significantly relevant to california; the guy doesn't even LIVE there. Any judge that accepts this argument is a total characterless fool. God I wish i was a judge in the cases these companies bring about. I'd make them QQ so hard

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Temi on 7th March 2011 6:59pm

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Zidaya Zenovka Blogger, Writer, freelance artist. 7 years ago
@Dave Sulllivan
"My personal opinion: I'd much sooner have a clean platform, with no hacking, no piracy and no on-line cheating due to hacks. I don't want my paid for experience ruined and I'm entitled to that. "-Dan

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.""-Ben Franklin
This is an egregious invasion of peoples privacy on Sony's part.
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Gerald Arndt 3d Character Animator 7 years ago
All we have to do is repost his link and make sure nobody from callifornia sees it. That way, majority of the people will NOT be from Cali and it's a Jersey court. Lol

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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 7 years ago
Yeah, to be honest I don't believe Sony for second on either of their reasons for the data. If anything, it'll prove them wrong.

Why are they so insistent on California? I assumed DMCA rulings are the same all over the US?

The odd thing is, they can't do anything with the info requested anyway as George didn't specifically release a security breaching hack nor part of sony copyrighted code. At no point does an IP, or associated data (including downloads), prove that i may or may not have patched my ps3.
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Private Industry 7 years ago
I think Hotz had besides of the security key in big letters on the top of the page also the tools provided for custom firmware and custom firmware download on his page. You could argue that releasing the key alone as it is part of the security is a security breaching issue. There was more on his website than only the key so there was clearly releasing and distribution of security breaching material on his website.

As for the specific state, I think the guys in the US have a very very varied law system changing from state to state. Plus given how many companies are based in CA they might think it would be favorable for them to have it all carried out there. And there is always the mater that Hotz has to be there for the case so flying back and forth is a nice little extra on expenses for him.

As always I don`t feel bad for Hotz. He might have had the best intentions or just pretend to have the best intentions in hacking the system, but he should have know it would enable piracy and he doesn`t come off very mature. As it stands piracy didn`t help PC gaming and if a closed system is required to prevent consoles from following PC`s in 4-5 years than so be it. People want to create something cool? Get into Android or get a PC to join a mod community or try to do something new like the Minecraft guy or just go to the store and BUY Little Big Planet 2. Lot`s of things people can do that many people will actually appreciate and is perfectly legal while being creative and doing new stuff compared to programs to unlock trophies or enabling piracy.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Blank audio tapes, blank CD's, blank DVD's, audio/video codec's, audio/video rippers, etc.... All capable of allowing one to pirate software yet they aren't illegal? Why is that? Hotz releases a tool to allow homebrew that could also be used for piracy if a person wrote further code to it. Yet he's being pursued while the makers of blank media are not? He's being pursued while the authors of media ripping software are not?

If the premise of this case is built around the fact that Hotz tools "could" be used to pirate software, then either the case will get thrown out or we will see a landmark case that determines consumer rights like few cases ever before it.

If the premise of the case is built around the fact that Hotz circumvented security measures, then the defense can point to precedent (incidentally involving Hotz himself) with the jailbreak of the iPhone. A case that actually had the laws rewritten in his favor.

As for holding the case in California...what ever happened to the right to a speedy and fair trial?
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James Verity7 years ago
just because someone visited or registered at a particular site dosnt mean they are actually using the information... I have an account at a couple of game hacking sites, so I know what I am up against when there cheating... same goes for watching some YouTube videos...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Verity on 8th March 2011 9:24am

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Shane Sweeney Academic 7 years ago
@ William
If you don't like hacking on your own hardware you don't have to do it. The question really is that do you feel so strongly about your view that you should is should be imposed on everyone else so that they *cant* do it.
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