George Holtz, unintentional cyber warrior
In 2007, seventeen-year-old George Hotz was a very smart kid who wanted to use an iPhone with his own cellphone network. So he hacked into the phone, posted a video about how he did it, and for a while became the most famous hacker in the world.
However, it was years later, when he hacked into Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console, that the real war began:
On January 11, 2011, Hotz was playing Age of Empires II on his computer in New Jersey when he received an e-mail from Sony announcing a lawsuit against him. The company requested a temporary restraining order for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and facilitating copyright infringement, such as downloading pirated games. According to the Entertainment Software Association, piracy costs the industry eight billion dollars a year. Sony was also seeking to impound his "circumvention devices," and it wanted him to take all the instructions offline immediately.
As soon as the news hit the Web, geeks rushed to Hotz’s site, seeking the tools while they could. At Carnegie Mellon University, David Touretzky, a computer scientist and proponent of freedom of information online, made copies of Hotz’s files. Touretzky blogged that Sony was "doing something breathtakingly stupid, presumably because they don’t know any better. . . . Free speech (and free computing) rights exist only for those determined to exercise them. Trying to suppress those rights in the Internet age is like spitting in the wind." The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group, released a statement saying that the Sony v. Hotz case sent a "dangerous message" that Sony "has rights in the computer it sells you even after you buy it, and therefore can decide whether your tinkering with that computer is legal or not. We disagree. Once you buy a computer, it’s yours."
But Sony believed that Hotz’s hack was sending a dangerous message of its own. If people were free to break into their machines, game creators would be cheated out of royalties. Cheaters could tweak the games in order to beat everyone who stuck to the rules. Riley Russell, the general counsel for Sony Computer Entertainment of America, said in a statement at the time, "Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers."
Machine Politics – The man who started the hacker wars, The New Yorker>>