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Braben: We Should 'Roundly Condemn' PS3 Hackers
Braben: We Should 'Roundly Condemn' PS3 Hackers
February 25, 2011 | By Mike Rose

February 25, 2011 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    26 comments
More: Console/PC



David Braben, co-creator of Elite and founder of Frontier Developments, says that we should "roundly condemn" those people who choose to hack their PlayStation 3.

In an opinion piece on UK trade site Develop, Braben wrote, "Buying a PlayStation 3 does not give me unrestricted ownership of it. If I 'dig' into it, I canít just sell or even give away all the information I find."

"It really annoys me when hackers claim they can do what they like with what they find, especially when it is destructive to the security of all the other PS3 machines."

He argued that people who hack their console "are damaging to everyone with a PS3".

"It is all about what is reasonable. Hacking into a machine as an academic exercise is one thing." said Braben. "Broadcasting the information is another."

"We should all be prepared to roundly condemn such people. Right now it is Sony that is hurting."

After hacking the PlayStation 3 console last month, George "Geohot" Hotz said that the jailbreak was not intended for piracy purposes.

"What it lets you do is install homebrew applications," he said. "These are applications that have been developed by anyone."


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Comments


Todd Boyd
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"Buying a PlayStation 3 does not give me unrestricted ownership of it..."



Why the f!@# not?

E Zachary Knight
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Because PS3 owners are not powerful enough to convince the US government every 3 years to give us the right to hack our PS3 like the iPhone community is.

Ian Uniacke
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Why not? Because you agreed to the conditions when you bought the product. End of story.

Joseph Cook
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You know why Sony is hurting? Because Sony has been proven incompetent when it comes to securing their ecosystem.



The Xbox 360 was totally hacked years ago. The Wii too. The original Xbox was. PCs don't need to be hacked because they're always 100% open.



Yet none of those machines have been so totally crippled to the point where hackers can purportedly un-ban themselves, or go on to ban others.





Every system will get hacked - it's inevitable. Hackers have every right in the world to hack their own systems, as shown with the legal cases that ruled it legal to jack and jailbreak your own iPhones. I don't think it's the nicest thing in the world to then go and spread that knowledge across the Internet, and I'm certainly not condoning piracy, but to pretend that the situation Sony is in the with PS3 is somehow a special case for the hackers involved is ridiculous.

Kamruz Moslemi
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The entire concept behind the console hardware manufacturing business is based on the console in question being closed and controlled. SONY's business relies on selling developers access to work in that closed system and they both then reap the benefits by players purchasing the resulting software and the hardware required to run them.



This is why SONY could justify selling PS3's at a huge loss for so long. The consequences of the system being thrown open is that both the hardware makers and software makers stand to lose a lot in the long run. SONY will have the potential to make back their huge investment potentially diminish and developers are faced with a similar potential loss of return of investment. Likewise gamers will also potentially stand to suffer as a consequence of the above.



On the other hand the only persons standing to gain anything is a small niche of enthusiasts who get to do the same thing they ever do whenever they bust open a closed hardware system, port over their favorite suite of programs that in short could be summed up as the delights that make a pirate's life more comfortable. Pirated games, emulators, setup box players of illegally downloaded movies and music ect. etc. the usual suspects.



It is hard to fight for a cause where only a niche of shady characters and casual freeloaders stand to gain anything of any measurable value and at such a cost to the business and hobby of so many. In a way SONY was the nicest out of the three console manufacturers this generation by embracing open standards and even allowing for Linux to be installed on the PS3 out of the box.



Of course it was this attitude that cost them what is likely to be remembered the biggest bite on the ass as a result. If ever SONY is to release any hardware in the future it is likely to be choked with restrictions and everything being based on proprietary technology as a result of this. Also we will never again see any sort of open OS being installable on a console system, as that is now proven to be like providing hackers with a backdoor.

Wyatt Epp
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Actually, if you look at the history, providing the programming environment (Linux) pretty much kept the PS3 unhacked for roughly three years. The glaring flaws in its security system were only revealed a year AFTER that support was (needlessly) removed.



Stop trying to pidgeonhole every person who wants to execute code on their PS3 as a pirate of malicious cracker, it's insulting. And stop acting like poor little Sony is hurting while every other platform is piracy-free. You know as well as I do that nothing could be further from the truth.

Luis Blondet
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The notion that you can buy something but it still not entirely yours is just pure Bullshit. It is a concept used to squeeze even more money out of products and rob the customer from more freedom.



When you buy property with a bank loan, it is said that you "bought" it and that you are the "owner" of that property. Nothing could be further from the truth once you examine your actual control of the situation, the bank can take away that property whenever they want if you violate the agreement, and recently, even if you are well within your agreement through fraud. Sony is trying to get in on that "buying property without rights" bullshit that has worked so well in the real estate industry for so long.



If Sony doesn't want people hacking into their PS3s, then they should design better security instead of blaming others for their utter incompetence. If they can't design better security then they should hire better and more competent people for more solutions.



This notion that somehow a global corporation like Sony is the victim and they are like a beggar in a street corner with a tin cup and a patched eye is ludicrous. They have alot of money and not enough intelligence or wisdom to know how to put it to good use, so cry me a river, I stand with the freedom-loving hackers.

E Zachary Knight
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The difference between the PS3 and the bank however, is that when you get a Bank loan to buy a house, yes the bank actually owns the house, but you control the property as long as you pay the monthly loan payments with the promise that once the entirety of the loan is re paid, you will then own the house out right.



With the PS3, you are buying the PS3 pout right, but Sony is claiming they never transferred full ownership of everything in the box. They are claiming that even though you owe them no additional money, the PS3 is not yours and never will be. That is unethical by all accounts. They might as well just rent the things and see how far that gets them.

Luis Blondet
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You're right about the bank/house situation, but notice how the language is set up to fool people into a sense of control they do not actually have; you are called the "owner" of the property, for instance.

Isaak KvE
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"In the 1970s, Sony developed Betamax, a video tape recording format (VHS would later overtake Betamax). Universal Studios and the Walt Disney Company were among the film industry members who were wary of this development, but were also aware that the U.S. Congress was in the final stages of a major revision of U.S. copyright law, and would likely be hesitant to undertake any new protections for the film industry. The companies therefore opted to sue Sony and its distributors in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 1976, alleging that because Sony was manufacturing a device that could potentially be used for copyright infringement, they were thus liable for any infringement that was committed by its purchasers. The complaint additionally included an unfair competition claim under the Lanham Act, but this was dismissed early in the course of the lawsuit.



Two years later, the District Court ruled for Sony, on the basis that noncommercial home use recording was considered fair use, that access to free public information is a First Amendment public interest served by this use."



And so the tables have turned.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Corp._of_America_v._Universal_C
ity_Studios,_Inc.

E Zachary Knight
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Thank you.



You can also read my thoughts on that very same issue and how it can apply to mod chips and cracks (mostly about mod chips but cracks apply as well):



http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/EphriamKnight/20091116/3544/Of_Bet
amax_and_Mod_Chips.php

matthew hager
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yes i totally agree home use is considered fair use, if you want to hack your ps3 to run linux go right ahead but to put the information online that allows unrestricted access to the entire system knowing full well that it will lead to piracy which takes money out of the pockets of both the manufactures and the developers and then claim that your hack was not made for the purpose of piracy is ludicrous. geohot knew and the anonymous guys knew what would happen when they released the information online, if someone is trapped in a bathtub and fill it up and he drowns i cant turn around and say that i was only trying to full up the bath with water i did not intend for him to die, i knew the consequences of my actions before hand and i made a decision to go ahead with them anyway. if you care about games and you support this kind of behavior then you are incredibly short sighted as the industry cannot survive if piracy is rampant, at least not in the way it is now



as for the other argument of do you really own your ps3 yes you do but in the same way that you own a gun, you are perfectly within your rights to own the gun but if you walk onto the street and shoot someone with that is not ok because it is against the law, the same can be said for the ps3. if you want to open it up and see how it works that fine but if you start pirating software then that is over the line because it is illegal, and that is what alot of people seem to forget piracy is illegal maybe opening up yor ps3 and getting it to run linux isnt but using it for piracy is. and by opening up the ps3 to piracy in this way geohot and others that worked on the ps3 hack are essentially the same as people who make any other kind of illegal activity possible, such as drug dealers or even arms dealers, im not saying that what they are doing is as bad as those but regardless of the severity of what they are enabling they are still enabling illegal activity and whether that was their intention or not is irrelevant it was a consequence of their actions and they should be held accountable for that

Dean Martinetti
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if you have paid for something from the money you earned for working...you should be able to do with it as you wish as long as it doesn't hurt any people...NOTICE..I said people. The hackers on PS3 make up less than 1%...why are you bitching about it? Its less than 1%!!!!!



do you REALLY think they will hurt Sony's bottom line? they are a corporate behemoth...honestly grow up and let it go.



For as long as people have access to technology they will do with it as they will and there is nothing you can do to stop it.



The only time i'd say its out of control is if it was an epidemic...and quite honestly...the average gamer doesnt' have the know how, time or energy to spend hacking their PS3.



Maybe we should go after the guys that turn their PC's into Mac's too huh? I mean they buy the PC and hardware,...they buy the MAC OS disc....but its not being used in the proper way.



Why stop advancement...maybe perhaps sony should take their collective heads out of their asses and see what they can actually LEARN from this for the future...



oh and Braben...is an idiot

Guyal Sfere
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Given:

1) Sony is powerless to prevent cracks like this. They can only react

2) The people who want to use cracks to outright steal games or to cheat in-game will go merrily along, as they have for decades, with or without being able to draw on non-malign efforts of people like Geohot

3) The vast majority of people who are going to buy Bulletstorm (e.g.) are going to decide based on things like vast marketing campaigns, and not "should I buy or steal this". They've never heard of Geohot and never tried to acquire a cracked PS

4) the endless examples of established artists (Neil Gaman, Radiohead, Cory Doctorow, e.g.) benefiting from piracy as "just another form of marketing budget". I spend all the money I do on iTunes now precisely because I spent an entire decade between the ages of 10 and 20 taping songs off the radio and then ravenously throwing money at the artists I liked best.



Given that, what exactly is Sony trying to accomplish here? Even if you totally reject the "they can't restrict my access to stuff I bought" concept, even if you think that all crackers should be summarily executed, how does this benefit Sony? Not in vague "piracy bad, contract good" terms, but in specifics, e.g.:

- a legal version - "under the well-established law of jurisdiction X, as quoted by Judge Y, if they don't pursue this, they'll lose the right to go after the malicious cases, as documented in case Z. Sony has no real choice here."

- a Freakonomics version - "it was documented in _____ that organized IP crime outfits consistently take these published keys and do X, and generally have a boost in pirate sales of Y in regions A and B, wherein it was documented that Z % of people who acquired a pirate copy would have purchased instead"



This all seems to be "we don't know what to do, we don't know how to adapt, so let's throw our weight around and cross our fingers".

Thomas Lo
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All the pro-hackers make me sick. The modern businesses that the western world excels at today are based on very sophisticated concepts of private property that are encompassed in industries like software and intellectual property. You can claim some third-world moralism where you simply own everything, but there is a reason that kind of idiotic thinking dominates in poor countries.



We live in an economy where products have multiple inputs and value-added processes and the protection of each stage of the processes allows for innovation and better products.



Sony has a right to protect their intellectual property as does each individual their own intellectual property. Advocating otherwise just takes the Western world down to the level of China and India where everything is pirated and there are really not sophisticated service industries.

M C
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Here here!

E Zachary Knight
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Hey, I agree. Just as If I buy a PS3 under the promise that I would be able to play games online and run a second OS on the machine, I should be able to. Then if the maker of the console decides they have the right to strip away features I have already paid for, I have a right to defend my property by keeping both features using a crack.

Guyal Sfere
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Sony has a right to protect its intellectual property, and the lack of intellectual property protection in China is a serious issue if you're contemplating doing business there.



But if I was sitting in a conference room at Sony right now with the information I have right now and my job and my family's financial well-being was on the line, I would be saying, "Why are we spending time on this? How does it actually contribute to the bottom line in hard terms under a clear ROI?" I can't make that argument for Sony based on what I know now. Persuade me, and I'll take Sony's side.

Ben Pitseleh
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I think there are a couple issues. The legality and such is being well discussed here from both sides, but creatively speaking I think there is a place for this. The current generation of consoles have great features and excellent GUIs. Where did this come from? It cam from hacks and homebrews. Look at the original Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube (as well as all prior generation consoles). They were limited systems in almost all ways. But people hacked them, made them media centers, installed crazy cool GUIs, and honestly made better consoles out of them than the original manufacturer. People did with their consoles what they wanted, and only then did the manufacturers understand what people wanted. Today, we have the 360, PS3, and Wii all with decent GUIs and more features than just playing video games. They didn't invent it. They took the homebrew and made it official. So why not let the hacker world run wild with this. Sony should glean what they can from it and try to improve upon their own design rather than ranting about how they have been robbed. Who knows, they can send Geohotz an Xperia Play to fiddle with just like MS did. Maybe magic can happen.

M C
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lol yeah because no one ever made a cool UI or media center aside from hacked consoles. Myopic.

Ben Pitseleh
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I don't think any of the big companies put two and two together until the hacked consoles is my point.

Jose Resines
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I'd rather condemn Sony, thank you very much.

Ed Alexander
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As someone who could be considered a strong Sony loyalist for well over a decade now... I have to say how they're handling this situation is really disparaging. I'm really losing a lot of faith in them because they're flexing their corporate arm directly against individuals as a fear tactic to try and drive the herd back into their fences.



They really believed they had a fool proof system, and damn if they didn't have a really, really, really good one. The 360 and Wii were hacked years ago, but the PS3 went the distance. Longer distance than I think anyone would have ever guessed. On one hand, they really deserve some credit for this.



But on the other, it turns out they didn't put forth enough effort to safeguard against the scenario where it gets cracked. Now little script kiddies can do all sorts of malicious things because Sony did not put enough effort in ensuring their customers are properly protected. I understand that you can't always be prepared for everything, but there comes a point where you need to consider secondary measures like protecting highly sensitive information such as credit card information. This is still an area I need to do more investigation into, but I hear sensitive information is stored on the client side and is sent to Sony without encryption... that's a scary thought. Now having my information taken is something that I need to worry about.



And while I have a lot to be concerned about in terms of another human being stealing from me, I still just can't get over the fact that Sony is showing an even darker side in this. Sony is telling me it loves and cares for money to the point where it will put forth an incredible amount of effort into publicly ruining the lives of individuals to scare everyone else into obedience. In my books, that's way more evil than someone using an exploit to gain my credit card information and steal my money.



To be honest, Sony has driven me into a position where I'm now rooting for Geohot and will even financially support him in his fight against Goliath.

Ben Pitseleh
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Side note on your comment, the hackers are claiming that the PS3 was not more protected than other devices (and even poorly protected in some arguments) but it was the fact that it didn't need to be hacked because of the Other OS capabilities. Once Linux support was removed, it took about a year, which is in the normal time frame for this type of hack.



But yes, I agree with everything you have said and I think Sony could have taken care of this quickly and efficiently if they held discussions with Geohotz (and others) about improving security rather than taking him to court. Make him a white hat and you get excellent security and he is fat, dumb, and happy with a job. Everybody wins.

Samuel Batista
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Ed Alexander, I share you stance on the matter, 100%.



Sony has constantly failed in this regard, the PSP was the same story, just expedited by the fact that the system had no protection whatsoever when it first came out. They seem to finally be learning some lessons considering I heard they're hiring people for the purpose of securing their systems. What I don't understand is why they don't hire geohotz and some of the other hackers quietly to secure their system, instead of flexing their corporate arm and destroying the lives of these talented individuals.



It's perplexing, and ridiculous, and I hope Sony fails.

Samuel Batista
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Like many said before, all systems have been cracked at some point. The only thing that makes piracy on Xbox any different from PS3 is that it's a major pain in the ass to do it, and it generally costs money in the form of mod chips. On the PS3, all you need is a USB drive and some malicious code that injects itself into the system and gets it to do its bidding.



The solution is simple, Sony doesn't have to stop piracy all by itself, it just has to make it so that it's difficult and bothersome for people to hack their devices. That strategy has worked great for Microsoft, it's time Sony takes a slice of the humble pie and actively invests in protecting their closed ecosystem.



Raining down legal fire upon the hackers is completely the wrong way to go about it.


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