EFF says Sony’s hacking suit sends a “dangrous message to researchers”

Saturday, 22nd January 2011 18:48 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called Sony’s lawsuit against GeoHot and fail0verflow an act which could negatively impact legitimate security research.

According to the EFF, if Sony is successful in its suit against the PS3 hackers, those who are pursuing research into hardware security could be punished for publishing the findings.

“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,” wrote the EFF.  “We’ve also been concerned that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes.”

“We’ve never been sorrier to be right. These two things are precisely what’s happening in Sony v. Hotz.

“Sony is sending another dangerous message: that it has rights in the computer it sells you even after you buy it, and therefore can decide whether your tinkering with that computer is legal or not. We disagree. Once you buy a computer, it’s yours. It shouldn’t be a crime for you to access your own computer, regardless of whether Sony or any other company likes what you’re doing.”

A rumor from earlier in the week stated that Sony plans to implement a new security feature in PS3 discs, which would require consumers to enter a serial key into the console before the game can be played.

Sony has yet to comment on the rumor.

Thanks, Gamespot.



  1. TheWulf

    I love the EFF because they understand the future.

    These old conglomerations of giant organisations just strike me as dinosaurs struggling in their tar, making their last screams before they’re consumed forever.

    The world is changing around them. People change. Attitudes change. Evolution is a constant thing. And the rule for them is adapt or die. And at this point, those old dinosaurs are going to need to evolve jetpacks to get out of their respective tar pits.

    I can’t see them being around for that much longer. I give them a generation at best, maybe, whilst other systems and structures are built up around them. Then one day they’ll wake up and find out how entirely obsolete they are.

    People are curious, people are concerned about rights, and people won’t be bullied or treated like bitches. More and more these days people are intellectual and clued in to this notion of power to the person – where each person is a living being, entitled to the dignity and respect thereof.

    Sony is treating their customers as a source of money doing this, which shows how outmoded they are. Microsoft seems to be the fastest to adapt, it seems, and I say this not as a bias but simply as an observation. The invitation to hack their phone presented to GeoHot was very clever.

    If they can keep that attitude, they might actually stand a chance in the world we’re just beginning to wrap our heads around today. Things might seem slow, but they’re moving faster today than they ever were, and that means that people and even corporate entities can become obsolete as well.

    But people want rights – if not of ownership specifically, then to do what they want with what they’ve spent money on. And that’s entirely fair. Otherwise they’ll just take their business elsewhere, to people who are more accommodating, and these old dinosaurs will just turn to dust.

    Give it a generation, and even more people will be aware of what they can do with what they’ve bought.

    Sony, think long and hard about what you’re doing today.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. TheWulf


    If the admins saw a few attempts to spam a post there – my apologies. I didn’t catch that WP had switched from being buggy (posting too fast) to ‘not logged in’ a few attempts in.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Razor

    lol EFF

    #3 4 years ago
  4. TheTwelve

    Great idealism, TheWulf. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where everything is free, all people followed the rules, and everybody stayed on the good side of their “rights”.

    Unfortunately, in reality people do abuse and take advantage of rights. I applaud Sony for taking a stand against people who would take away an untold number of jobs or people’s salaries through piracy.

    You see, it’s the bad guys (thieves, pirates, terrorists) who mess up our “rights”, not the other way around.


    #4 4 years ago
  5. NeoSquall

    First, GeoHot wasn’t a legitimate researcher when he published his “results”, neither were the people at failoverflow when they showed the root key code at a hacker conference and released it on the net.

    I’d like to remember that, many years ago, Norio Ohga wasn’t being satisfied with a Sony tape recorder and you know what? He sent a critical letter to Sony.
    Was he ignored? Was he sued or arrested?

    No, they hired him and he rose trough the company management untile he became President, then CEO of Sony Corporation.

    Now he’s retired and living an happy life, whilst George Hotz probably won’t, for a long time, if Justice makes its course.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. SwiftRanger

    seeing a dangerous typo somewhere…

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Freek

    Screaming “piracy” or “terrorism” in resonpse to free speech or technological inovation and research is never a good thing. It’s hyperbolic fear mongering that doesn’t protect anybody. It just leads to convoluted laws and pointless lawsuites.

    Orignizations like the EFF provide a vital counter balance so that big companies can’t simply create the laws they want by throwing lots of money at a court room.

    It is perfectly legitimate to publish research data and jail break your own devices. That isn’t piracy.
    You can use that same knowledge for piracy, but then and only then are you breaking the law and it is those people that should be stopped. Not the hacker community that simply gives you control over the device you bought.
    Control you can use for both good and bad things.

    The fact that people can sometimes do bad things is the price you pay for living in a free society, freedoms we should not easely give up.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Crysis

    @7, But you forget that it’s much easier to protect an entire system than to govern millions of individuals movements, so it’s understandable why a hardware manufacturer’s is furious when their main source of income comes from the software in the hardware & why they went to all that trouble to protect it, if there were only guys that exploited this for homebrew then it’s fine, but that’s far from the case.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Crysis

    The way i see it, you get what you pay for, if you want an open system get a computer with Windows or some open form of Linux (like Ubuntu or Android).
    You know what you’re paying for & you don’t own the system you’re running, so if you don’t want the system buy something else. Want homebrew? Get a pc running windows or linux.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Freek

    With that kind of attitud we would never have the ability to ripp our CDs and DVDs to other devices or back them up. Or instal what ever custom theme or setting you want on your Iphone.

    Why can we do that? Because some hacker broke the DRM and made it possible for hundreds of other companies to create their own software and gives us, the consumers, far more capabilities to enjoy the media we own.

    As far as the media companies are concerned they would be much happier if we all just shut and played dumb. Create a walled off garden of DRM and DMCA protected goods that nobody can do anything to. That is their ideal world.
    A world in wich the consumer has no rights and no other smaller companies could ever create new, innovative and disruptive technologies.

    Piracy is something that will always exist and the only right way to deal with them is to go after the people who actually commit the crime. Not the community that provides genuinely interesting technology and research.

    And in the end is not even the defining feature that leads to succes. The PS3 was piracy proof, was it also the biggest and most succesfull console?
    Nope. It’s sitting in third place after the already cracked Wii and Xbox 360. Both in terms of hardware and software sales.
    And at this moment it is still piracy proof. The security might have been comprised but software to allow pirated games has not materialized yet.

    #10 4 years ago

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