In another round of what will undoubtedly be a long legal struggle, Sony has won a restraining order against George “Geohot” Hotz which prevents him from assisting in any way the hacking or “jailbreaking” of their PlayStation 3 console.
According to papers obtained by Engadget, the temporary order prevents Mr. Hotz or anyone working in concert with him from “offering to the public, creating, posting online, marketing, advertising, promoting, installing, distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking in” anything regarding the PlayStation jailbreak. The court order also orders the computers of Mr. Hotz to be impounded. Mr. Hotz has ten days to respond.
Sony released firmware 3.56 on Wednesday to combat the latest hacking efforts. The firmware was reportedly cracked within hours. There have since been reports that as a result of 3.56, Call of Duty modders and hackers have been banned from playing online, though predictably, most of them are proclaiming their innocence.
This restraining order is not the victory that some make it out to be. All it does is prevent Hotz himself from distributing the initial hack. However, the hardware signing keys – which makes the entire security system on the PS3 completely useless – are already publicly available, and while some American based mirrors have taken down their mirrors temporarily as a result of the court ruling, other mirrors that are not bound by United States law are still up as I speak. Simply put, the only thing Sony can hope to get out of this is to punish George Hotz personally – something they’re not above, if their actions in the past against importing company Lik-Sang are indicative – and putting a chill on anyone else who hacks their devices. This is like closing the gate after the horse has left the barn and knocked up the neighbour’s mares.
I have to ask, though: the PlayStation 3 has been out since 2006. It’s taken this long to have the ability to permaban people?
Christopher Bowen is the News Editor at Diehard GameFAN. He has also written for Talking About Games, Daily Games News and Not A True Ending in his six years of working as a journalist in the industry, and is a frequent guest on the Post Game Report podcast. He specializes in issues relating to industry business, politics and law. Prior to joining the games industry, Christopher worked in IT as a Network Security Engineer and spent four years in the United States Navy, fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom before separating in 2004. He is engaged to Associate Editor Aileen Coe.