In the past Ive covered many of my concerns regarding Microsoft’s actions, however maybe as a testament to Microsoft losing power in the IT world I find myself having less enthusiasm/interest in a company which to me is slowly loosing its grip on just about everything in the world of IT/tech.
With that in mind though, I think one of the most concerning pieces of news Ive read recently has to be that Sony has successfully won a subpoena to obtain the IP details of every user who has visited the site of Geohot. I am sure its common knowledge that this is all due to the rootkey hack released to the public, much to the horror of Sony. (Wikipedia entry)
Lets consider this for a minute – Every visitor. There would be many who would have visited just out of curiosity and many of them who wouldn’t even own a PS3, there would be news outlets looking for further information in order to make a more comprehensive report and there would be those who maybe even just clicked on a link by accident. As a result of Sony’s court success, it will have all those people’s IP details that visited geohot over the last 26 months.
So what is Sony intending to do with all this information? Not much I’d guess (other than to try to further the case against Mr Hotz) as I think it would be difficult (and costly to their public image) to try to suggest the purpose of an individual visiting the site, but Sony’s actions do highlight a more worrying future where a company can gain access to this type and volume of information. We’ve seen numerous examples of companies having this type of responsibility. Look at the recent ACS:Law case where IP details of alleged file sharers of adult material were leaked to the public.
I’ve always praised Sony products although it would be hypocritical of me to describe its actions as anything other than worrying and despicable. Is this the future? – Lets hope not.
The reported news would be bad enough as it stands, however Sony is not apparently finished. It is reported on Wired that:
A fourth subpoena is directed at Twitter, demanding the disclosure of all of Hotz’s tweets, and “documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with the Twitter account.”
And maybe we are now getting a better idea of how seriously Sony is taking this rootkey matter. I should remind readers though that whilst Sony is allegedly threatening to sue anyone who posts details of the rootkey, they did in fact post it themselves (albeit by accident) So as Sony blunders around destroying its image in the process, one can only wonder how much notice people will take. Not much I’d wager if history is anything to go by and maybe Sony should have settled with merely banning people from PSN who were found to be running with a hacked system?
I think its fair to say the majority of consumers today want open systems, this is shown in the popularity of the idea of jailbreaking a piece of hardware in order to open it up to new/alternative features. Users do not want to be dictated to after they purchase hardware. Its my view that Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft et al better take notice because I’m sure in the future there will be plenty of companies ready to provide alternatives to the “big names”.
Instead of fighting against what I think will be inevitable, the above named (and others) should be jumping in and getting on the train. This is not the 90’s, there is choice. Gone are the days when consumers were limited to one or two “big name” products and gone are the days where the end-user is willing to listen to the “Do it our way or not at all” . Just ask Microsoft in regards to the Kinect, or Apple with the iPhone (and now Sony’s PS3) There are so many examples of users showing the finger to companies and using the hardware they purchased in the way they want to.
Rightly or wrongly, the consumer has spoken. If a provider of tech wants to stay in the market, they had better pay attention or they will see their customer base migrate to a provider that will.
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