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Sony to subpoena GeoHot's PayPal account

Jailbreak lawsuit continues as Sony edges closer towards Californian trial

Sony has been given permission to subpoena the PayPal account of hacker George 'GeoHot' Hotz, following his public release of jailbreak software for the PlayStation 3.

Magistrates have already given Sony the go ahead to acquire the internet IP addresses of visitors to Hotz's website, as well as data from YouTube, Twitter, and Google.

Hotz is primarily accused of breaking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, after he released software and information allowing other users to hack the PlayStation 3 and allow it to run unauthorised software (a process known as jailbreaking).

According to Wired, Sony is able to seize any documents "sufficient to identify the source of funds" that were sent to Hotz's PayPal account. The funds must pertain specifically to California though, if Sony is to continue to fight its lawsuit in San Francisco rather than Hotz's home state of New Jersey.

By law Sony does not need to prove that Hotz received any payments for his jailbreak software, although Hotz has denied he received donations.

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Latest comments (16)

Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 7 years ago
Luckily I dont earn enough to donate money to people I dont personally know.
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Ken Addeh7 years ago
I'd rather use my money to donate to indie developers I don't know personally.
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Robert Kelly7 years ago
This is getting more and more interesting with every story that breaks. Wasn't there a rumour that Microsoft donated to him? Guess we'll know now then.
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Show all comments (16)
Craig Burkey Software Engineer 7 years ago
Surely there are privacy laws that prevent stuff like this
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Private Industry 7 years ago
I think MS only send him or said they want to send him a windows 7 phone after the hack release.
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John McGrath Student - Computer Games Development BSc 7 years ago
Wouldn't Sony would make more money employing someone like GeoHotz than trying to sue him? Sony might have the first working 'holodeck' with him on their side :D
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
On a skill level, Geohotz probably would be an asset, but putting trust in him would be a liability. He doesn't strike me as the sort of guy who could treat an NDA seriously. And after claiming that he believes in freedom to use your device in any way you wish, he'd have to be a complete hypocrite to take a job with Sony trying to make devices more secure. To be honest, on a technical skill level the guy seems like a genius, but in actual day to day thought, he seems a bit clueless.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
I agree with Andrew; he seems far too narcissistic and immature to put any trust in him as an employee; particularly one who would be contributing to keeping Sony's hardware secure, which is a pretty important position.

Will be interesting to see what comes from this review of his PayPal account - did he accept donations from those who downloaded his jailbreak key or something? The thing would be with Sony proving this was the case; surely that prove difficult.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
@Andrew. Although in theory laws should be consistant, at the end of the day, laws and precidents are interpreted by a judge, who is human, and it could easily come down to who is judging. The iPhone case set certain precedents, but they only fully involve phones. One judge may decide that what was set there also applies here, but another judge may decide that the actions clearly break the digital millenium act thingie.
Don't underestimate interpretation, on a different day with a different judge, the ruling on jailbreaking iPhones may have ended differently.
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James Boulton Owner, Retro HQ Ltd7 years ago
People do stuff like this to entertain themselves. It's a challenge. If you offered someone a stack of cash to do what they love for a living, I would imagine they'd jump at it. Hypocritical? Yes. But if it means you're set up for life and have a job you enjoy, I think it's probably an easy moral decision to justify.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
That may be the case, but if someone's actions had potentially cost you and your partner companies hundreds of millions of dollars, would your first inclination be to give them a job, and put trust in them?
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd7 years ago
(Craig)Surely there are privacy laws that prevent stuff like this
Yes, but Sony hacked the legal system through a corporate exploit :-)

(Andrew) On a skill level, Geohotz probably would be an asset, but putting trust in him would be a liability
Just think of Frank Abagnale Jr.. But seriously, when you see how these guys work you'll understand that it takes their high level of skill, persistence and talent to make any sort of circumvention impossible.

A console at the most basic level is a device consisting of components that communicate with each other. I can't paint the picture any simpler, and in conclusion it is extremely difficult to efficiently obscure the communication to make any form of hacking impossible. Remember that each component works in isolation.

Of course, if anyone can create a tamper proof system, I imagine they could become very rich.
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Avalon Gonzales7 years ago
i think sony could utilize some like that in further development of the playstation line of products
he clearly shows the systems venerabilities and how he was able to exploit them to run other applications
i think he should be given a chance , why waste intelligence of that level.
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
It seems hard to believe that laws granted Sony access to private information such as money individuals could give. It looks like a privacy violation to me. By the way, GeoHotz just show off that the PS3 is not safe.

By the way, im not familiar with the jailbreak technic but isn't it a firmware matter to counter GeoHotz? Sony has just to update its system no?
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Private Industry 7 years ago
I read that one I was thinking it`s 1st of April. If it is true he did not turn in all of his equipment as ordered (my money is on pirated software on his HDD) by the court than it is for him pretty much, to say it in programming language, End of Line. :D

Guess that`s what the "legal bill" donation money goes to, if you count leaving the country as a legal measure.
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