When you watch politicians and judges make total fools of themselves on technology issues, sometimes you wonder if there just isn't a better system overall out there. Take, for example, the already ridiculous situation in which George Hotz (Geohot) has been gagged
for his basic hack of the PS3, allowing it to re-enable
a feature that Sony used to include, but has since removed. Remember, if he had done this same exact thing on an iPhone, it would be allowed
. But because it's a slightly larger computer that you don't carry in your pocket, it means this could lead to jailtime
I'm still waiting for someone to explain how all of that makes any sense.
However, making the scenario even more ridiculous are the details that the judge put into the temporary restraining order. Not only is Hotz supposed to shut up, but he's also been told to turn over basically all of his computing equipment
that might have included some or all of this code. As his lawyer notes, the code itself is less than 100 kb of data. It seems pretty silly to force him to turn over all of his computers and storage -- including terabytes of data -- over one little crack.
Furthermore, the judge has ordered Hotz to "retrieve the code" that has been distributed. Yes, think about that for a second. Retrieve the code. As if it were a dog that went out for a saunter. You don't "retrieve" code once it's out there on the internet. It doesn't go away. You would think that anyone alive during the whole AACS debacle
would recognize the pointlessness of trying to suppress released code that is already of great public interest.
It's scenarios like these that make me wonder what the judges who make such orders (and the politicians who make such laws) are thinking (if they're thinking) when they do so. They're trying to legislate or order the impossible, and it doesn't increase respect for the law. It does exactly the opposite. When the rules are completely ridiculous and try to order the impossible, all you do is end up having everyone mock our laws and our judicial system, while doing absolutely nothing to respond to the underlying legal issues.