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Sony Gains Access To "Identifying Information" From GeoHot Visitors

Jonathan Lester
Games news, Geohot, Hackers, PS3, Security breach, Subpoena

Sony Gains Access To "Identifying Information" From GeoHot Visitors

Have you visited geohot.com to follow the latest in Sony's lawsuit? Checked out one of his Youtube videos or downloaded any of his hosted files?

Sony know.

A clutch of online-related subpoenas have now been approved, granting them access to the IP addresses and "any identifying information" from visitors to GeoHot's site, as well as those who grabbed any of his files (including the infamous jailbreak.zip). It's a worrying precedent to be sure, and we have the details below.

A federal magistrate has granted Sony access to records from Geohot's web hosting provider, Youtube account and Google; overturning last month's denial that witheld this information for privacy reasons. Sony can now peruse "all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms" from geohot.com... and more worryingly, the following broad statement is also included in one of the subpoenas.

[Sony will have access to] any other identifying information corresponding to persons or computers who have accessed or downloaded files hosted using your service and associated with the www.geohot.com website, including but not limited to the “geohot.com/jailbreak.zip file.

Youtube and Google accounts are also fair game.

Sony plans to use this information to prove the scale of the distribution of the jailbreak.exe file (and hence potential legal damages), but it also opens up a massive potential breach of online privacy. The more cynical amongst us might even suggest that they're trying to set a precedent by which companies can legally retain ownership of their wares after sale... and access previously-confidential online files in order to punish those who attempt aftermarket modifications. Personally, though, we just reckon that they're trying to deter any further embarrassing breaches of the "uncrackable" PS3. [Wired]

Right, it's time to have your say. Are you comfortable with massive companies being able to access online data that could help them prosecute hackers? Is it all a little too... Orwellian... for your tastes? And where do you stand on the bigger picture? Have your say in the comments!

Add a comment3 comments
fanpages  Mar. 6, 2011 at 15:05

I sense many Pete Townshend-style "research purposes" excuses pending :)



Jonathan Lester  Mar. 6, 2011 at 15:08

Yeah... we were just researching the story for a news roundup. Honest.

CheeseHead  Mar. 6, 2011 at 16:36

Surely there must now be a campaign for everyone to access GeoHot's files just to swamp Sony with data


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