Sony’s attempts to shut down GeoHot are an attack against free speech, says the educator.
Computer science professor and free speech activist Dave Touretzky has pledged his support for George “GeoHot” Hotz in his legal battle against Sony by mirroring the files Hotz used to crack the PS3 on the servers of the Carnegie Mellon University.
Touretzky considers Sony’s actions against Hotz to be an attack on free speech. He described Sony’s lawsuit as “breathtakingly stupid,” and said that trying to suppress free speech in the internet age was like “spitting in the wind.” Touretzky has made it clear, however, that he is not formally representing the University in this matter. In an update to his original post, he said that despite his use of the “editorial ‘we'” in his message of support for Hotz, he was speaking only for himself.
He said that he anticipated legal threats from Sony over his decision to host the files, both to him and to the university, but said that Sony would have about as much luck as the last corporation who leaned on him for hosting files it didn’t like – namely, none at all. In the past Touretzky has hosted files that allowed for the circumvention of DVD copy protection and instructions on bomb making and other forms of violent protest, which were a crucial piece of evidence in a free speech trial. Both archives still exist, although Touretzky moved the latter set of files to a private server in order to insulate the University against any controversy.
I can’t speak to the validity of the legal arguments in this matter, but Touretzky’s actions highlight the biggest problem that Sony faces. It may be able to get an injunction against Hotz, but that won’t remove the files from the internet, and it won’t fix the security issues.