updated 07:05 pm EST, Fri March 4, 2011
Judge lets Sony spy on Geohot visitors in PS3 suit
George Hotz faced another setback in his defense against Sony's anti-jailbreaking lawsuit late Thursday after a judge granted Sony a potentially controversial amount of information access. It now has permission to get the IP addresses, accounts and other details of anyone who has visited either his main Geohot site or his PS3 jailbreak Blogger site between January 2009 and the modern day. Sony made clear that the access wouldn't be limited to those who downloaded the jailbreak code.
The company had already received permission to track as much information as possible about those who had seen a private YouTube video of the jailbreak, including their comments. Sony has also been petitioning the court for permission to see all of Hotz' Twitter updates.
Sony has argued that it needs the complete records to show how Hotz was distributing the hack. It also wanted to prove that some of the traffic came from Northern California so that it could keep the lawsuit in its preferred area instead of being pushed to move it to New Jersey. A hearing on the decision is due in April.
The company has argued that Hotz was actively helping out pirates by posting a jailbreak that would users run their own code on the PS3. Hotz has denied this and noted that his jailbreak code was written in such a way as to prevent casual piracy.
Sony's subpoena requests have already been challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as too wide-ranging. The agency has contended that Sony is making no distinction between actual infringers versus simple observers and may have too much access to private data that has no relation to the case.
The attitude is nonetheless consistent with Sony's scorched earth policy to the jailbreak, where it has threatened lawsuits to anyone posting the code and to silence as much talk about it as possible. It has faced some opposition both from Hotz and from a countersuit over feature limitations, since the same patch to close down piracy also removed popular support for installing Linux. [via Wired]