The Electronic Frontier Foundation is worried by the lawsuit Sony recently filed against hackers of the PlayStation 3.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending digital civil liberties, has gotten behind the PlayStation 3 hackers Sony sued for cracking the console’s security measures. The EFF’s official stance on the suit is that it’s downright “frightening.”

The reasons behind this stance are twofold. For one, the EFF says that a Sony win would be a huge detriment to security research, because “legitimate researchers will be afraid to publish their results lest they be accused of circumventing a technological protection measure.” Researchers could find themselves accused of a crime just for furthering their work on hardware made by a particular manufacturer.

Even worse, the EFF believes a ruling for Sony threatens any tinkerer that decides to pop the case of his/her electronic devices. Sony argues that the hackers violated the agreement of the PlayStation Network, though the hackers claim they never signed up. In the EFF’s view, this is Sony saying it’s illegal and a crime “for users to access their own computer in a way that Sony doesn’t like.” It says a “terms of use” agreement shouldn’t give Sony total control over the devices people buy with threat of criminal punishment.

It’s hard to disagree with the EFF’s view that once you purchase a computer, you should be able to do what you want with it. If this is true, shouldn’t you also be able to publish the results of those actions online, even if they’re related to the dissolution of a piece of hardware’s security measures? The U.S. government appears to think so, so I’m not sure that Sony intends its lawsuit to be anything but a scare tactic. If Sony loses, it’ll probably only end up shooting itself in the foot, as hardware hackers will then go about their business with the law on their side.

Source: EFF, via GameSpot

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