The Washington Post

Judge says Sony can see visitors to hacker’s site

A judge has said its okay for Sony to get the IP address of every user who has visited a Web site containing a hack for the PlayStation 3. The court order, issued by U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero, grants Sony permission to acquire the IP address of anyone who visited hacker George Hotz’s Web site from January 2009 to the present from his Web provider. The judge also signed off on subpoenas of Google, YouTube and Twitter seeking the logs for visits to Hotz’s Web site, the identities of those who watched a video of the hack on his YouTube account, and his tweets and contact information associated with his Twitter account.

Hotz published a hack to enable users to run other operating systems on the console after Sony decided to discontinue that feature on the PS3. The subpoena of hosting site Bluehost asks for, among other things, “any other identifying information corresponding to persons or computers who have accessed or downloaded files hosted using your service and associated” with the Web site, including but not limited to the “ file.”

According to Wired, Sony wants the information to prove the distribution of the hack and to try to bolster its case to have Hotz tried in San Francisco instead of his home state of New Jersey. The logs, Sony said, should show that a substantial amount of users who downloaded the file are from Northern California.

A hearing to decide whether Hotz can be tried in California is set for next month.

Related Stories:

Court approves Sony’s restraining order against George Hotz

Sony takes legal action over PS3 hacks

Sony: We will ban any PS3 hackers

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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