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Sony to search PS3 hacker's computer

GeoHot's hard drive exposed.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

A US judge has ordered PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz to turn over his hard drive to Sony for inspection.

Sony is allowed to retrieve information that relates to the hacking of the console, according to

21-year-old George Hotz, aka GeoHot, must meet with Sony to turn his computer over.

GeoHot was the first to fully crack the PlayStation 3 wide open. After publishing his jailbreak code on his website and a video explaining how to use it on YouTube, Sony sued Hotz on a Digital Millennium Copyright Act claim, alleging he distributed devices that circumvented anti-piracy controls.

"Here, I find probable cause that your client has got these things on his computer," US District Judge Susan Illston said.

"It's a problem when more than one thing is kept on the computer. I'll make sure the order is and will be that Sony is only entitled to isolate ... the information on the computer that relates to the hacking of the PlayStation."

The judge reneged, however, on an order that Hotz "retrieve" the code from anybody he might 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?"

Sony is threatening to sue anybody who posts the jailbreak code - even though made-up PlayStation marketing man Kevin Butler unwittingly published the PS3's root key on Twitter.

Sony's attempt to subpoena internet titans Google, YouTube, Twitter, SlashDot and PayPal - and find out where notorious PS3 hackers Fail0verflow live – was denied yesterday.

Illston scheduled a hearing for the setback motion for 11th March. Sony seeks unspecified damages.

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