Sony tries to gag the Internet over PS3 hacks

Sony is trying to sue anyone and everyone who has ever even thought about hacking its PlayStation 3 console.

The Japanese electronics giant is throwing its weight around in an attempt to prevent news getting out of what many see as an unfixable exploit, which opens the four-year-old console to rampant piracy.

The exploit came about after Sony's private keys, which determine whether code being run by the console is genuine, were uncovered by a hacking team called Fail0verflow. Infamous iPhone hacker Geoge 'Geohot' Hotz picked up the baton and soon released a publicly executable hack, which filleted the console's on-board DRM without using a hardware dongle for the first time.

Now the company is suing Hotz and is making some pretty aggressive demands as part of its pre-trial discovery process. Sony is demanding that anyone who has ever posted the original keys, or hosted those posts, should be identified.

It is also demanding that YouTube identifies anyone who has watched or commented on the private how-to video posted by Hotz, and by extension probably the hundreds of blogs and tech sites which reproduced the same.

Sony's Dogs of Law are also demanding that Twitter identify a number of individuals behind accounts which have been closely associated with the development and distribution of the hack, including members of the Fail0verflow group.

Sony is also targeting Paypal, Slashdot, Github and PSX-Scene - the site which unearthed all of the writs in the first instance - in an attempt to drag anyone even vaguely connected to the PS3 hack into court.

Just about every person involved in the exploit has always openly and vociferously stated that opening up the console's DRM has nothing to do with being able to play bootlegged games, they just wanted to reinstate the 'install other OS' function, which was removed by Sony in a panic to prevent piracy.

Even if Sony manages to silence those involved in the original hackage, there will always be plenty of volunteers willing to host the exploits - and the harder Sony rails against the Internet, the more will join those ranks.

Watching Sony spending millions of dollars trying to stuff this particular genie back in the bottle will do nothing to add to the heavy-handed corporation's rapidly-eroding public profile, or to stamp out piracy.

Once again, the only people who will benefit are the lawyers, and the only people who will suffer are genuine gamers.