Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
code, jailbreaking, ps3, retrieving

Judge Admits She Was Wrong To Order Playstation Jailbreaker To 'Retrieve' Code From Elsewhere

from the good-for-her dept

A few weeks ago, we noted the problem of judges who don't understand technology in highlighting how the judge in the case concerning the Sony PS3 jailbreak had ordered that George Hotz (Geohot) "retrieve" the jailbreak code that had been distributed. As we pointed out, you can't retrieve code that out's there on the internet. It's not a physical good. The comments on our original article had some claims from some of our usual critics, claiming that our statement that the judge had asked for the impossible was "FUD" and not accurate, and even accused me of intentionally misleading readers here.

Well, it appears that the judge has reconsidered, and actually agrees with me and apologized for the original order:
The judge also backed off on an order that Hotz "retrieve" the code from anybody who he may have forwarded it to.

"It's information. It can't be retrieved. It's just not practical," Illston said. "What would they do, Xerox it and mail it back?"

Illston said she changed her mind because she was not clearly aware of the details in her earlier order.

"This kind of got away from me and I apologize for that," she said from the bench.
That said, the article does still highlight how she has allowed Sony to comb through Hotz's computers looking for any information "that relates to the hacking of the PlayStation." Hotz's lawyers had protested this, and the judge said that it's standard to search through the entire contents of someone's computer to find things like child porn, to which his lawyer noted that "we're certainly not dealing with child pornography," but the judge didn't bite. Despite concerns from Hotz's lawyer, the judge told them "That's the breaks."

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  1. identicon
    Eric, 11 Feb 2011 @ 11:10am

    IT person who works w/ the law

    As a person who's done several searches for porn for a Judge I can tell you that Judges can pretty much order whatever they please, it's really quite scary and amazing.

    When doing our searches we would make a sector by sector ghost of the original drive and then seal that and put it away in a evidence locker, to show proof of no tampering.. ie adding things or deleting things.

    It doesn't matter if you find that the guy killed someone on the computer, you can only present forth what the Judge ordered you to look for. It's not like, "HA, we got him for something else too." In the cases I worked, the person was in the court room when the order of the computer search was done and a police officer escorted the person to his house to retrieve the computer.. to make sure it wasn't tampered with.

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