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GeoHot is confident he can defeat Sony's effort in court -- and he has a new haircut.  (Source: The Feed)

Anonymous has created a boycott against Sony over the lawsuit.
Sony tries to choke out would-be jailbreakers of its console

Sony's harassment of the infamous young iPhone hacker George "GeoHot" Hotz continues in the wake of his posting root keys to the Sony Playstation 3 via an Android Phone hacking process.  The hack, which gets around the PS3 scheme for verifying "authentic" apps, was authored by GeoHot and his German friends at fail0verflow, who developed the initial portion of the hack.

I. Federal Government Hands Sony Hacker's Accounts Without Pause

In Californian federal court in San Francisco, a federal magistrate, Joseph Spero, gave Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) the right to subpoena the paypal records of GeoHot.  Writes [PDF] the magistrate "documents sufficient to identify the source of funds in California that went into any PayPal account associated with for the period of January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011."

Ostensibly the subpoena is to determine whether GeoHot received donations for the hack from people in California for the hack as Sony claims.

SCEA wants to sue GeoHot in San Francisco, near its home base.  By contrast GeoHot is trying to force the company to sue him in New Jersey -- his home state.  Donations for the hack could determine which region has jurisdiction.  SCEA is claiming people in northern California sent GeoHot donations, so the case would be under the local San Francisco court's jurisdiction.

GeoHot says, however, that he received no donations for the hack, which only went one day live before Sony aired its lawsuit.

If GeoHot has any secrets they will surely be exposed, given the permissiveness of the federal court system.  They have thus far had Sony access to the Twitter; YouTube and Google [PDF]; and the IP addresses of visitors [PDF] to his website.

An attorney for GeoHot criticized in a court letter [PDF] Magistrate Spero's decision to grant the subpoena, saying they were "overly broad" and commenting, "I think the these subpoenas, the information they seek, is inappropriate."

II. GeoHot Did Seek Donations -- For the LAWSUIT

We covered this story since the release of the leak, and feel its possible SCEA is a bit confused here.  We are unaware of GeoHot requesting/accepting donations when he posted the hack.  He did not include a donate link.  

Only after the lawsuit landed did GeoHot reach out to the community for donations for his legal defense.  Thus any donations after January 12, 2011 should be presumed to be from this effort.

Mr. Hotz has said SCEA is just bitter that their big bad copy protections were undone. 

In his initial post he even offers to help console makers secure their future consoles, writing, "if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me. any of you 3."

And on his homepage where he originally posted the hack -- which has since been revamped as a page on the legal defense effort -- he now writes:

What if SCEA tries to settle?

Lets just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it. It'd be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it. I'm also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.

GeoHot clarifies that his hack has nothing to do with cheating in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.

The page states that he has 2 lawyers, while Sony has 5.  His legal expenses have totaled $10k USD thus far.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provided him legal support, according to the blog, though it was unclear if they were paying for one of these lawyers or just doing research to support his case.

It's possible GeoHot's legal representation team may be growing in size and approaching Sony's due to the success of the donations campaign.  In response to a successful round of fundraising he blogs, "Thank you so so much for all of your help, things are looking up money wise. Expect to see a few more lawyers on my responses!"

He says that any leftover money will be donated to the EFF.

And he says that if you can't donate, just spread the word about Sony's tactics.  He writes, "Let people know how you feel about what Sony is doing. Let Sony know how you feel about what Sony is doing."

III. Library of Congress -- No Love for the PS3?

Honestly, lawmakers often aren't aware of why people would want to jailbreak consoles and install Linux on them.  In fact they're probably, for the most part, not even aware people do such things.

Thus while smart phones received official endorsement to be jailbroken, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act seems to still outlaw jailbreaks on the iPhone.  Ultimately, these seemingly contradictory stances may offer the legal team of GeoHot grounds to challenge the legality of enforcing some jailbreaking provisions, but not others.

III. Why so Long Before a Hack -- Isn't the PS3 5 Years Old?

To better understand when it took five years for the PS3 to be fully cracked, you must understand that early in the device's life cycle Sony promoted openness and allowed users to install Linux on their consoles.  This made it the favorite console among many developers, hackers, and tech enthusiasts.

Then in Sept. 2009 Sony did an abrupt about face and banned Linux from its latest hardware refresh.

The effort to jailbreak the console was born out of the frustration of the company's users at this decision.

Sony's reputation is now in the dumps and is growing worse as they continue to attack GeoHot and threaten to sue anyone who posts the jailbreaking tools.

Microsoft's next-generation console, the Xbox 360 was hacked far quicker, and the company has since been waging war against the homebrew, modding, and piracy scene, banning users from Xbox Live.  While it's been criticized for that move, Sony has received even worse admonishment of late.  That's because, by contrast, Sony initially tried to appear "open" and now has slammed the door shut on enthusiasts/modders.

Members of Anonymous, the massive loosely organized collective of cheeky 4-Chan hackers, have proposed a boycott on all Sony products in wake of the lawsuit and Sony's tactics.

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RE: I don't get it
By Suntan on 3/17/2011 1:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me that they just want to intimidate people who may have donated or want to donate funds to a guy that embarrassed them.

So you didn't read the article did you?

Pretty much made it clear that they wanted to deturmine if anyone from the San Fran area donated so they could claim jurisdiction...

Not saying what they are doing is right or wrong, just saying you should understand what it is you are getting upset over.


RE: I don't get it
By tng on 3/17/2011 2:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much made it clear that they wanted to deturmine if anyone from the San Fran area donated so they could claim jurisdiction...

OK I did miss that about the New Jersey thing, but does that explain it all?

I could see plenty of room for abuse of personal information by Sony here.

Even if the people were not from CA, I would think that this gives Sony a unfair insight into people who support the guy and how to discourage that support somehow.

RE: I don't get it
By Suntan on 3/17/2011 5:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
It’s called discovery and it’s the foundation of open legal hearings. Both sides get to know *all* the pertinent information (as decided by the judge) about a given case. And no, I don’t think it is likely that Sony is strong-arming a federal judge to give them preferential treatment.

If Sony tried to later on use that information to take legal action against someone else, it most likely would get thrown out as inadmissible.

Jeez guys. There’s umpteen hundred different lawyer shows on TV. Try listening to what goes on during the show instead of just looking at the short skirts that they always put on the assistant attorney…


RE: I don't get it
By tng on 3/18/2011 11:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
Jeez guys. There’s umpteen hundred different lawyer shows on TV. Try listening to what goes on during the show instead of just looking at the short skirts that they always put on the assistant attorney…

I understand, but I really don't like all of the Law and Order shows, plus all of the other shows like it, even all the CSI shows have gotten tiresome. Never have liked courtroom dramas, so the short skirts are the only reason to tune in....

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