Sony Aims to Send Harsh Message to Security Researchers
By on January 23rd, 2011

The hot topic in the Sony PlayStation community has been the security breach of the PS3 devices by computer security analysts and hackers as was revealed in the Chaos Communication Congress. When hacker George Hotz (of the legalizediPhone jailbreak fame) managed to use root keys to make the PS3 run unauthorized code, there was havoc. Geohotz’s method allows anyone with a PS3 to use his hack to run homebrew games or applications (software that is not authorized by Sony) and pirated games. While Geohotz claims that the purpose of his hack was to enable the running of homebrew software something the PS3′s smaller sibling, the PlayStation Portable, is highly sought-after for the inevitability of piracy landing on the unhackablePS3 is quite obvious.

800px-PS3Versions

Thus, Sony is suing George Hotz, and some other security analysts under certain laws of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA is supposed to be a champion for the cause of intellectual property rights and royalty rights, and is also the key support on which Digital Rights Management (DRM) stands.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that tries to preserve our rights of speech and privacy in this age of electronic devices and networks, has always warned the general public about the DMCA. Corrynne McSherry and Marcia Hofmann of the EFF write:-

For years, EFF has been warning that the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be used to chill speech, particularly security research, because legitimate researchers will be afraid to publish their results lest they be accused of circumventing a technological protection measure. We’ve also been concerned that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes.

The DMCA is also strangely inconsistent. While Geohotz is being tried under this law, earlier he was released by the same law when he allowed the jailbreaking of Apple’s iPhone. Sony also words its complaint harshly stating that Hotz and his defendants breached the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well:

by transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to obtain information from a protected computer without authorization, or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer.

(The entire lawsuit is embedded below)

Complaint

How Sony will ever remove the hack from the depths of the internet is something that will keep the tech world interested in the coming days. It would be the nearest that the net will come to seeing a slapstick comedy performed live by a huge technology company.

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Author: Kaushik Google Profile for Kaushik
A mobile technology lover and a Strategy and RPG-game fanatic. I also enjoy astronomy and programming. I am a biotechnology engineer learning through this fascinating subject while poring over computer science. Hit me up on Twitter for more

TCA Lakshmi Narasimhan has written and can be contacted at kaushik@techie-buzz.com.

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