Sony given green light to comb IP addresses in Hotz PS3 jailbreak case

Sony has won the rights to comb PS3 hacker George Hotz’s website for IP addresses – anyone at all who visited from January 2009.

The hosting company for Hotz’s geohot.com is Bluehost. It must now hand over server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms. As well as information on the unsuspecting public in its legion, Bluehost has to let Sony know any “other identifying information” about anyone who have downloaded files from geohot. Not just the PS3 jailbreak file – but anything else, too. 

Sony’s big idea is to force Hotz into the courts in San Francisco, instead of his home state of New Jersey. The server logs will reveal the damage Hotz jailbreak has caused, in Sony’s eyes, and prove that plenty who downloaded the file live in Northern California. If proved right, Sony may be able to force the case into San Francisco courts.

While some may argue that going after Hotz is an agreeable conclusion for Sony – after all, the files could be used to pirate games, though they are intended for the homebrew community – Sony should perhaps consider its heavy-handed bully-boy actions that pull in a group of people who are not neccessarily implicit at all.

January 2009 to present is two full years, and it  could be argued merely commenting on a website should not be justification enough for Sony to harvest sensitive, private information. 

Big Brother Watch’s director, Daniel Hamilton, tells TechEye: “It’s astonishing to think that Mr Hotz was even able to so easily hack into the Playstation’s operating system.

“Nevertheless, he broke the law and Sony has a legal right to pursue him in a court of law, regardless of one’s view as to whether or not Mr Hotz’s “crime” should be punished at all.

“What’s astonishing, however, is that a magistrate believes it is appropriate and proportionate to hand over the details of thousands of people whose only crime is to log onto a website. I sincerely hope that if a similar request is brought to a British court, it is rejected out of hand”.