A federal magistrate is granting has granted Sony a subpoena that would allow the company to see the IP addresses of internet users who had visited PS3 hacker George Hotz?s website from January of 2009 to the present.
According to court documents obtained by Wired magazine
, a judge in San Francisco granted the electronics giant a subpoena that would allow it obtain IP addresses from the web-hosting company Bluehost.
George Hotz has been working on iPhone hacks for some time now and lately, he was accused by Sony of breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws after he published an encryption key and software tools on his website that allow Playstation owners to gain complete control of their consoles and thus, run home-brewed software or alternative operating systems like Linux.
The obtained IP addresses could be used to trace the real-world geographical locations of users who accessed George Hotz's website, Geohot.com. However, Sony will most probably not take legal action against those found to have downloaded the software crack.
In the court documents, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) said that it had reached agreement with defendant George Hotz "on the scope of third party subpoenas that may be served by SCEA
to seek jurisdictional discovery."
"SCEA needs to determine how rampant the access to and use of these circumvention devices has been in California in order to rebut Mr Hotz's suggestion that his illicit conduct was not aimed at the forum state," the document reads.
The subpoena also grants Sony the right to access information relating to the case from Twitter, Google Blogspot and YouTube. The Twitter subpoena seeks "Tweets" published by Mr. Hotz, many of which SCEA believes relate directly to his hacking of the PS3 System. The Google Blogspot subpoena seeks to discover information relating to a specific Blogspot account that is owned by Mr. Hotz, , and information regarding persons who
also posted content to that website in the form of blog comments. The Youtube subpoena seeks to discover information regarding all persons who currently have access to a "private video" uploaded by Mr. Hotz demonstrating his use of the circumvention devices on the PS3 System, and those who posted comments in response to the video.
Last month, Sony had been granted a restraining order against Mr Hotz, banning him from revealing techniques to manipulate the PlayStation 3's operating system.
Currently, Sony claims that it is able to remotely identify users who are running hacked PlayStation 3 consoles and that it will ban offenders from using its Playstation Network online services.