After a settlement was reached between hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony earlier this week many wondered as to the details of that settlement. Did Sony agree to drop their suit because they felt they had no grounds or did Hotz agree to an “I will never do it again” settlement that kept him from paying any penalties?
Now that some of the details of the settlement have appeared online it looks like the latter is the case, with Hotz being forbidden from participating in a variety of hack-related activities. Of course, all of these hacks are focused on products and software owned by Sony so that doesn’t mean we have seen the last of GeoHot.
Basically, the settlement says that Hotz is forbidden from bypassing the security on or taking apart any Sony product. Furthermore, he is also discouraged from helping increase the traffic of any site or individual, like fail0verflow, that has hacked a piece of Sony software or hardware.
Over the course of his lawsuit with Sony, Hotz had made several comments that expressed his interest in “checking out” the new Sony smart phone, the Xperia Play. Sony, being well aware of everything Hotz did from the second he put the PS3 root key on the net, made sure that this settlement would protect all of their properties from Hotz.
If Hotz does perform any of these activities he will not make it out with merely a slap on the wrist like he did with the initial case. For every instance of malfeasance — being caught doing any of the activities outlined below — Hotz will be fined $10,000. Subsequent acts will cost Hotz another $10,000 with a penalty cap of $250,000
- "Reverse engineering, decompiling, or disassembling any portion of [a] Sony Product."
- "Using any tools to bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, or authentication mechanism in [a] Sony Product."
- "Using any hardware or software to cause the Sony Product to accept or use unauthorized, illegal or pirated software or hardware."
- "Exploiting any Sony Product to design, develop, update or distribute unauthorized software or hardware for use with [a] Sony Product."
For Hotz, if it is made by Sony or even remotely connected to Sony, it would be best if he just stay away from it lest temptation get the better of him. Sure, Hotz can still operate his PSP or PlayStation 3 console as if nothing happened, but as a noted hacker of other devices who’s to know if he legitimately games on these machines.
Hotz may be exempt from misusing Sony products, but that doesn’t mean his hacking days are behind him. Though we expect Hotz to take some time off and get past this lawsuit, a small spark in the back of our mind says that GeoHot, now having gained a ton of notoriety, is not done.
Who do you think came out of this whole situation the “winner:” Hotz or Sony? Do you think this settlement and the details contained within will discourage others from hacking the PS3 or other Sony products?
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