Geohot in Hot Water

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Judging (heh) by the latest court filing in Sony’s lawsuit against our favorite hacker, team geohot’s chances of winning are looking slim. After being asked to hand over his hard drives, geohot allegedly removed “integral components” of the disks—presumably destroying incriminating data—and is now in South America. It’s hard to say how his actions will affect his case, but it certainly won’t help.

Most seriously, after Magistrate Judge Spero ordered an inspection of Hotz’s devices and ordered Hotz to appear at a deposition in California, SCEA learned that Hotz had deliberately removed integral components of his impounded hard drives prior to delivering them to a third party neutral and that Hotz is now in South America, an excuse for why he will not immediately provide the components of his hard drives as requested by the neutral. Hotz’s attempts to dodge this Court’s authority raise very serious questions.

To make matters worse, geohot allegedly lied about having a Playstation Network account. By linking geohot’s newly-purchased PS3′s serial number to an IP address, Sony was able to discover his PSN account, “blickmanic”. A quick Google search for “blickmanic” (which should actually read blickmaniac, Sony) shows that the user is connected to phone hacking on various forums.

However, when it came to discussing the PSN account, Hotz equivocated, stating: “To the best of my knowledge and belief, I do not have a PlayStation Network account.” Hotz also provided interrogatory responses that he has refused to verify, stating that he has not accessed the PSN. … Hotz purchased the PS3 System at a Gamestop store just miles from his home. Law Decl., ¶6; Bricker Decl., ¶6, Exh. E. SCEA’s records show that the same PS3 System was used on March 10, 2010 to create a PSN account under the user name “blickmanic.” Law Decl., ¶6, Exh. A. The IP address associated with the registration is located in Glen Rock, New Jersey, where Hotz lives.

We’re still rooting for you, geohot!

Update: Geohot is indeed on vacation in South America, but it is not affecting the lawsuit.

“You can never take a vacation from a lawsuit. Mr. Hotz has had to make himself available 24/7 for this litigation, which has been quite demanding on him. As for any question as to whether Mr. Hotz has used donation money to take a trip to South America, that’s pretty silly. Litigating against a massive company like Sony, who is represented by five attorneys, is very costly for a 21-year-old.”

Update 2: Geohot’s lawyers have made some clarifications regarding the missing evidence, which has been delivered to Sony. [via IGN]

Stewart Kellar, Hotz’s attorney, has responded saying the missing hard drive parts have now been delivered.

“The ‘integral components’ SCEA is talking about are stock controller cards, not the hard drives themselves,” Kellar told IGN in an e-mail. “The neutral subsequently had to explain to SCEA the form and function of hard drive controller cards. Those controller cards have since been provided to the neutral so the point is moot.”

[VGHQ] Court document (PDF)

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