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Sony granted subpoena for GeoHot visitors

by Steve Watts, Mar 07, 2011 10:30am PST

A federal magistrate has granted Sony the ability to issue subpoenas, in a move the company hopes will reveal the identities of PlayStation 3 hackers. Wired reports that the decision granted by Magistrate Joseph Spero will allow Sony to subpoena the web provider of PS3 hacker George Hotz, as well as sites like YouTube and Google.

The subpoena will require the web provider, Bluehost, to give "all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms" on Hotz's site. It can also be used more broadly to obtain "any other identifying information corresponding to persons or computers who have accessed or downloaded files" connected to the hacks.

Sony argued it needed the information to prove that Hotz had distributed the hack, and to settle jurisdictional confusion that has already resulted in a delay of the case. If Sony can prove that Hotz distributed the hack to California residents, it can sue Hotz as planned in San Francisco.

On the other hand, the subpoena is raising privacy concerns. Corynne McSherry, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sent a letter to Magistrate Spero calling the subpoenas "overly broad" and "inappropriate."

Besides Bluehost, Sony will be able to obtain information from YouTube regarding the IP addresses of those who watched a demonstration video, and Twitter for Hotz's tweets.

Sony is aggressively going after the hackers, threatening to sue anyone who distributed the software key. The company recently issued an ultimatum for hackers, which resulted soon after in bans from the PlayStation Network.




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