The famous hacker offers a few dirty secrets from his past.
George Hotz is arguably the most recognizable hacker name in the world. Even though he won his fair share of computer science prizes growing up in New Jersey, Hotz rose to national, if not world-prominence after jailbreaking the iPhone in 2007. Someone challenged him to do the same to Sony’s “unbreakable” PlayStation 3 a few years later, and Hotz spent a month bending the powerful gaming console to his will. He was then sued by Sony, and perhaps unwittingly fanned the flames of a hacker revolution that spawned Anonymous attacks, LulzSec and the coining of the term “hacktivism” as a way for hackers to defend their digital rights. Through it all, George Hotz never committed a crime, or engaged in malicious hacking to steal data or shut down someone’s servers. But he might have smoked his fair share of weed and popped a few pills.
“I’m the complete opposite of Anonymous,” he told The New Yorker. “I’m George Hotz. Everything I do is aboveboard, everything I do is legit.”
When Anonymous began #OpSony to fight for Hotz’s rights, he was just worried that the Japanese would think he was somehow involved. “I hope to God Sony doesn’t think this is me,” he thought.
After the lawsuit between Hotz and Sony was settled, he was even invited to Sony’s offices to divulge his methods for rendering the PS3 under his control. “If there were going to be lawyers there,” he said, “I was going to be the biggest asshole ever.” But the Sony engineering guys were “respectful” and just wanted to learn from him.
The picture that Hotz paints as a “white-hat” hacker or one that operates within his legal rights doesn’t exactly jive with some of his behavior.
For example, while running a red light near his residence in Palo Alto, CA, he said. “Fuck these assholes. Stupidest red light ever. It makes no sense at all. I live by morals, I don’t live by laws. Laws are something made by assholes.”
He also has made his drug use pretty clear. Before a photo shoot celebrating Hotz’s victory at the International Science and Engineering Fair in 2007, he admitted to smoking marijuana. “My eyes are bloodshot” in the photo, he said. “It’s great.”
Drug use also contributed to the public release of the PS3’s master key. Hotz said he had taken Vicodin and OxyContin that day which may have made him a little freer with his hacking knowledge. “You just feel good about everything,” Hotz remembered.
Still, George Hotz isn’t a bad guy. He honestly doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong by hacking computers, phones or gaming consoles, even though major corporations like Sony and Apple may think differently. “This is the struggle of our generation, the struggle between control of information and freedom of information.”
In that struggle, GeoHot fights to keep it all free.
Source: New Yorker