Post by Dan @ 04:39pm 13/01/11 | 20 Comments
Following the recent developments in the PlayStation modding scene that have resulted in exposure of the console's encryption keys -- allowing both homebrew applications and inevitably piracy -- Sony have responded with a heavy hand, pursuing legal action against over 100 hackers including the notorious George "Geohot" Hotz (of iPhone jailbreaking fame) and the fail0verflow team.
According to documentation posted by Hotz on his website Sony is accusing the defendants of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) among other acts and local state laws of California and is requesting a Temporary Restraining Order against him in an attempt to stem any further hacking progress and publishing of hack-related info.
The charges referred to are numerous, but probably the biggest example of their over-zealousness is the alleged "Intent to Extort" accusation:
Finally, SCEA will likely prevail on its claim under §1030(a)(7)(B), which prohibits “intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value” by threatening “to obtain information from a protected computer without authorization or in excess of authorization or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer without authorization or by exceeding authorized access.” Hotz violated this provision when, in the same post in which the published SCEA’s Keys, he attempted to obtain from SCEA “a thing of value” in the form of employment: “if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me.”Despite Hotz's often egotistical musings that have made him very unpopular among some vocal online observers, it's difficult for the average consumer to view Sony as anything but the big bad guy in this scenario.
Additionally, despite Hotz's continued contributions to unlocking iPhone hardware, Apple have yet to pursue any similar legal action against him.
Hotz, the Fail0verflow team and many of the other prominent hackers in the PlayStation mod scene have also made many efforts to display a hard-line anti-piracy ethos, claiming that their efforts are purely for unlocking the hardware for homebrew development.
Whatever the result of these legal actions, it is unlikely to have any affect on the future modability of existing PlayStation 3 (or PlayStation Portable) consoles as the cat is now already well and truly out of the proverbial bag.