Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Talk Of PS3 Lawsuits Rubbish

Last week, owners of older PS3 model found that the latest update removed a feature most had never used, the Install OtherOS feature. This action by Sony was a direct result of the hacking attempts by hacker George Hotz who had previously gained notoriety for creating exploits for the Iphone shortly after launch. Since the update was announced some PS3 owners have threatened litigation against Sony for the removal of this feature. I suggest that any lawsuits going forward should address the cause of the problem, the ego of Mr. Hotz himself.

Sony’s newly released PS3 update among other things removed the relatively unused ability of older PS3 models to install and run the Linux operation on their console’s harddrives. This feature had already been removed on new 'slim' models of Sony’s PS3 console. Due to concerns of hackers using the other OS feature as an exploit to crack the PS3 console, opening up the possibility of the type of rampant software piracy that plagues the PS3’s main rival, the Xbox 360, the Install OtherOS feature is now gone.

Sony’s fears proved well founded when George Hotz announced he had broken the PS3’s security settings in late January of this year and intended to release his hack to the general public. According to Hotz, "Sony may have difficulty patching the exploit".

Sony’s response was to remove the OtherOS feature entirely. "Disabling the ‘Other OS’ feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system," says SCEA corporate communications director Patrick Seybold.

While Sony’s move to protect its platform from hackers and pirates may seem like common sense to most, there is a vocal minority voicing concern over the removal of this relatively unused feature and they’re already threatening lawsuits and lodging complaints as reported by an article on posted here.

First off, users upset with the removal of the OtherOS option need to redirect their anger at the real culprit, George Hotz. Blaming Sony for the removal of the OtherOS option is like blaming the bank for the inconvenience of having to enter in a PIN code when using our bank cards to withdraw money from our accounts. Obviously, the problem doesn’t lie with the bank for implementing security measures but lies squarely on the shoulders of those who would steal from us. If these people didn’t exist we wouldn’t have need of the security measures in the first place.

George Hotz has claimed that he has no interest in aiding PS3 hackers and pirates but that’s hardly a defense for his selfish actions. The man who opens up the bank vault for criminals to wander in and steal the contents isn’t somehow immune from prosecution because he didn’t take anything himself. This matter is no different and George Hotz needs to be held accountable for the consequences of his actions. Now he’s promising a custom firmware available to PS3 owners to use the OtherOS feature and still be able to connect to the PSN network. George, if you didn’t meddle around in the first place PS3 owners wouldn’t be in this mess to start with. Thanks but no thanks.

Secondly, Sony is well within their rights to protect their system from security breaches. By using Sony’s software you agreed to the update provisions within the PS3’s user agreement. "Without limitation, services may include the provision of the latest update or download of new release that may include security patches, new technology or revised settings and features which may prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content, or use of unauthorized hardware or software in connection with the PS3 system".

I suggest all those talking lawsuit might want to read up on the agreement here. If you don’t agree with the user agreement set up by Sony, no one held a gun to your head and forced you to purchase their product. If you wish to game online you do so under the understanding that Sony will attempt to make the environment safe and secure for all PS3 owners. If you don’t like it, don’t play online.

Users don’t have to update their systems and lose this feature. Users only have to update if they wish to continue connecting to the PSN network and if they want to take advantage of new updates. Given that choice, there isn’t a court out there that is going to rule against Sony when it comes to how they implement security patches on their own service.

Talks of lawsuits against Sony are a complete waste of time, perpetrated by sue-monkeys with an overactive sense of entitlement. You want to sue someone for Sony having their hand forced in this matter; I suggest you look no further than one George Hotz. While it could have been any hacker it just so happened to be George Hotz flexing his ego that ruined this feature for PS3 owners and then took to his blog to crow about it. By targeting the party responsible for these actions instead of the company looking to secure their systems, the sue-happy among us might actually have a case.

George has since tried to apologize via his blog while casting Sony as the villain. Despite his efforts to break the PS3’s security, he doesn’t see how that could ever lead to anything untoward happening.

"Hacking isn’t about getting what you didn’t pay for, it’s about making sure you do get what you did".

How about you do us all a favour, George, and stop pretending this isn’t your fault. People were getting what they paid for out of the PS3. Its hackers that have put a stop to that because they didn’t think their actions through. At the very least perhaps criminal charges are in order.



Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to point you out to be a fool for your words, but the User Agreement does NOT allow a business to remove an *ADVERTISED* feature (printed on the box) with a motto "It only does EVERYTHING."

Anonymous said...

Really ?

Any firmware can be hacked if the person is persistent enough. The platform was not compromised by the feature they removed. It was done by hardware and then the memory was dumped and saved using a software running in the Installed Other OS. That was the simplest way at the time, if this was not available the hacker could have performed memory dumps directly via the hardware. More elaborate tools required but not impossible..

Sony's response to this was simply dumb. By removing this functionality they are saying to the community that can and will modify your system regardless of the features you originally bought it for. So lets say an exploit is found in streaming music or video is found - do they remove that feature also ? (Did M$ release a patch to uninstall Fax Modem from XP Home Edition users because Vista Home Edition did not have it ?) This is setting a bad precedence and needs to be addressed - if in court then so be it.

PS3 Fan said...

Hackers are killing the games industry.

You call yourself a gamer, yet your supporting Geohot over Sony. Geohot's custom firmware will lead to one thing piracy.

Don't you want new games for your PS3 in the future?

PS3 Fan said...

User Agreement does allow a business to remove an *ADVERTISED* feature (printed on the box) with a motto "It only does EVERYTHING".

That still doesn't mean that it should support piracy.

Darkride66 said...

Actually, Sony's User Agreement absolutely allows them to add and remove features from the PS3. User Agreements are covered under contract law. If you don't agree to them, you have a set amount of time where you can return the product. If you didn't and you clicked agree, you can't just turn around not agree when the agreement inconvieniences.

Check out your 360 agreement sometime. Not only do they have the right to do the exact same thing, but they can do it at any time and without your consent.

PS3 Fan said...

@Darkride66 - Exactly