Sony granted access to Geohot's PayPal account

Sony has been granted the right to go poking through inveterate hacker George Hotz's PayPal account for evidence that he accepted donations in exchange for his work on the PlayStation 3 private key hack.

Sony is currently dragging Hotz and others through the courts over the cracking and leaking of the private signing key used to prevent unauthorised code running on the company's PS3 console - a move in which Hotz was instrumental, and which has resulted in the ability to play illegitimately downloaded games on the console via a customised firmware.

Lawyers on both sides are currently arguing about jurisdiction: Hotz wants the case to be heard in New Jersey, his home state, while Sony is fighting to have the case heard in San Francisco.

To help strengthen its case, Sony has asked for access to Hotz's PayPal records for the last two years - an in-depth trawl of all financial transactions conducted over that period - in order to find evidence that Hotz has accepted donations from residents of Northern California.

While that might seem like an oddly specific thing to look for, Sony has good reason: if it can show that Hotz has accepted monetary donations from Northern California residents, and if there's reason to believe those donations relate to his work on the PS3 hack, it will be significantly easier for the company to have the case heard in California-based San Francisco.

The granting of the request comes as Sony stands accused of attempting to hire hackers in an effort to combat the work of other hackers - a move which has left the company appearing to have a somewhat hypocritical approach to the modding and jailbreaking community.

Sony is now free to subpoena the PayPal records, which - by law - the on-line money shuffling service will be obliged to provide in good time.