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First lawsuit filed over PSN breach

Class status sought as Sony accused of not taking "reasonable care"

A PlayStation 3 owner in Alabama has been the first to initiate a lawsuit against Sony, following the security breachand potential theft of data from the PlayStation Network.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Birmingham, Alabama resident Kristopher Johns, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Johns is asking for the lawsuit to be raised to a class action, which if granted would allow any US PlayStation Network user to become a plaintiff in the case.

The details of the lawsuit, as first reported by CNET, cover the basics of the case as already reported. Sony is accused of not taking, "reasonable care to protect, encrypt, and secure the private and sensitive data of its users".

Sony is also accused of taking too long to notify customers of the seriousness of the problem and that personal information was at risk. This, argues the lawsuit, made it impossible for customers to, "make an informed decision as to whether to change credit card numbers, close the exposed accounts, check their credit reports, or take other mitigating actions".

Johns is seeking compensation and free credit reporting services - the latter something which US Senator Richard Blumenthal has already demanded from Sony for all US customers.

Although Sony has already been heavily criticised on both of the lawsuit's two main complaints so far there is still no evidence of fraud or misuse of any stolen data. If such evidence does emerge then Sony's position could weaken significantly.

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Latest comments (14)

Here we go, people smell money, lawsuits follow...

Kick them when they're down right? awesome.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joffrie Diependaele on 28th April 2011 9:02am

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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam8 years ago
"Johns is seeking compensation and free credit reporting services - the latter something which US Senator Richard Blumenthal has already demanded from Sony for all US customers"

From Sony's statement, quoted in one of the linked articles - "U.S. residents are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus". Problem solved. Next?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
The fact they took so long to let people know is definitely an issue. They argue the didn't know the extant of the problem, but taking the service online suggests the at least suspected it may be major. As the article said, this will be more major if any instances of fraud using the data become apparent.
As for the first complaint, not taking reasonable care, whilst this may (or may not) be true, surely that still needs to be established, and before the investigative bodies have determined this, is the case maybe a bit premature? We can argue all day whether the security was addequate, but unless we know what security they did have, we are just guessing.
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Show all comments (14)
Robert Mills Freelance 8 years ago
"As for the first complaint, not taking reasonable care, whilst this may (or may not) be true, surely that still needs to be established, and before the investigative bodies have determined this, is the case maybe a bit premature? We can argue all day whether the security was addequate, but unless we know what security they did have, we are just guessing."

I assume the security issue is over why Sony left personal data unencrypted on its network. That has been admitted by Sony and the issue will be whether Sony was justified in leaving it so.
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert8 years ago
That´s just the first sue against sony on this case. And there will be many more to come. Sounds a bit like fate to me, watching sony hunting (and sueing) gehotz at first and now getting punch by nearly every online customer they have.
Don´t get me wrong, I dislike the whole situation as well but maybe this is the wake up call sony needed.
The worst thing to imagine would be the end of the sony console era. Even if I play most titles on the Xbox, the end of SCE would be horrible. All money they will loose on this "hacker"-attack can´t be compared to the unpayable Image loss it creates.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
Just a law firm looking to make money...

Any system can be hacked and cracked. Some harder than others. SONY just happened to be targeted this time. I feel there is no way to protect any form of digital data. As information systems update, so do hacking and piracy methods. Its a constant never ending battle.

And I think that SONY did the best thing it could do, which was take the network down IMMEDIATLY and resolve the problem internally. Rather than leave the network up with holes.

And naturally, just as hackers evolve, the NETWORK will evolve. major credit card companies and banks have been hacked in the past. I dont the think that the XBOX live network is any less vulnerable to hacks. SONY just happened to be the target this time.

Naturally a breach like this, would require some time to figure out what happened. I truely doubt SONY would have details of the breach as soon as it happened. I know people want to know immediatly what happened, but I think rather then post information based on assumption of what happened, it took SONY time to study the nature of the hack and post accurate information. Once they had it, they informed people.

Its like investigating a crime scene, were you need to gather information and evidence to know what happened. You dont tell people what you assumed happened.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
@Rick:
"Its like investigating a crime scene, were you need to gather information and evidence to know what happened. You dont tell people what you assumed happened. "

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True. But then again if a family was killed in a very gruesome way the police would certainly inform the neighbors (if not the whole city) to stay indoors, keep doors locked, never go out alone, etc.... They would warn the people to take certain precautions just in case.

The very minute that Sony learned the data could have been compromised, they should have told everyone to take care of business. If not for the actual care and concern of your customers then at the least as a means of covering your posterior to prevent issues like this article is covering.
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Jacob N. Høegh Studying Digital Design, Aarhus University8 years ago
I'm sure Sony didn't want this to happen, and I fail to see how a lawsuit could even begin to better things. Yes, they should have been more careful but come on: who can ever promise total internet security? Am I then to file a lawsuit against Norton Internet Security, or whoever, for not protecting my computer against viral attacks they didn't know existed? In this case I'm actually paying them for protection. It seems more likely that this guy is in need of money rather than it being based upon a principle.

I support Sony all the way. They haven't done me wrong because I haven't done them wrong.

Anywho, this is just my thoughts. Don't hate :-)
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Brian Robison Studying Digital Game and Simulation, Pima Community College8 years ago
Sony didn't ask to be hacked, and as a matter of fact anyone can be hacked! What the heck is everyone's problem? Sony gave you free network for years and one problem hack and its, oh Sony you suck blah blah blah I'm suing! Get over yourselves! Nobody has lost any money or data as of yet so why all the hostility? I still love you Sony! And I hope they catch this Jack@*$ and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Meanwhile I will play my Xbox or Wii and wait for Sony Get 'r Done. If you want something to cry about, how about this! Cheater in games! Focus on those jerks for a minute!
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
Now, yes everyone can be hacked. The question is did Sony make a reasonable attempt at avoiding it? I don't know the answer, hopefully we will soon. If they didn't, then cases will be successful. Any bank could be robbed in theory, but if a bank just used that as an excuse to tie money bags down with string in a room with a £5 lock, you wouldn't say, "well even a bank with a 3 foot thick concrete and steel vault could be hacked, so we can't blame the stringy bank. "
It's quite right to question whether this could have been avoided. The answer may be no, Sony may have done everything to avoid it, but if your details are included and you don't want to find out how responsible the company holding them was prior to the fact, you are deluded.
If B&Q online lost your details, you wouldn't be defending them until you found out they had done all they could, in fact, you probably would assume the worst, so don't act like people shouldn't act the same with a company because they sold you fun games rather than a box of nails and 3 rolls of loft insulation.
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James Verity8 years ago
credit cards can be stopped and replaced... personal details cannot... Sony didnt do enough to protect personal information they held...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
As predicted... I also predict MORE lawsuits to come, for at least the next few months (as this probably seems like easy money to some swimming blood sniffers looking for what they perceive to be an open and shut case)... stay tuned...
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Colin.J.C. Garstang Intellectual artist 8 years ago
and so the vultures circle....... The good news is that site such as PayPal & Playspan etc will do a roaring trade. Large games providers will simply no longer be willing to take the risk of holding ANY personal data for fear of the type of Lawsuits we will see Sony subjeted to over the coming weeks/months
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Ari Aumala mobile development, usability/quality 8 years ago
Having the information unencrypted, I don't see this as such a big issue. When your system is cracked and data has been downloaded to an offline system, cracking the encryption is just a function of time. Any legal action should target the fact that this data could be stolen at all, not whether it is encrypted or not?
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