updated 09:50 pm EDT, Wed March 23, 2011
Sony says PS3 tweaker Geohot fled to South America
Sony in a court filing (below) said that George Hotz, Geohot, had left the country and tampered with evidence to prevent evidence gathering in its lawsuit against PS3 jailbreakers. The well-known code modifier allegedly not only removed parts from the hard drives demanded as evidence to make them inoperable but, according to Hotz' attorney, left for South America to prevent Sony from getting them in a timely way. The move raised "very serious questions," Sony said, without going so far as to suggest he had fled.
The console maker also claimed that Hotz lied about not having a PSN account in a January 12 court declaration. Having the identities of four of his PS3s, one of them was believed used to create a "blickmanic" account from an Internet address located in Hotz' area in Glen Rock, New Jersey. The name was also associated with a forum user discussing unlocked phones, which Sony took to be supporting evidence.
His creating a PSN account was also evidence enough to hold a trial in California instead of New Jersey, Sony said. By creating an account, any user has to accept an agreement that puts any legal action in California. Evidence still existed outside of this to show the impact in California.
The claims could hurt Hotz if it's determined he either evaded justice or tampered evidence For Sony, the exit also at least temporarily denies it definitive evidence and prevents much of the case from going forward.
Sony has maintained Hotz violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing copy protection. It has insisted the hack was for piracy. Hotz has always maintained that it gave back control and that he deliberately designed the jailbreak to avoid aiding PS3 pirates. [via VGHQ]