back to article No court order against PlayStation hackers for now

A San Francisco federal judge declined to order New Jersey-based hacker Geohot to turn over the technology he used to root the PlayStation 3, saying she doubted Geohot was subject to her court's authority. The move by US District Judge Susan Illston on Friday was a blow to Sony, which argued that the 21-year-old hacker, whose …

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Pirate

Cats

just don't like being in bags, do they? Hard as hell to get back in, once they get out.

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Sony need to be careful

If Sony aren't careful a judge might decide it's unlawful for them to continue selling PS3s, given their now 'vulnerable' state.

Which would be amusing. And teach Sony a lesson not to mess with other people's rights (again - we haven't forgotten their rootkits).

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"That would mean the entire universe is subject to my jurisdiction...

"...and that's a really hard concept for me to accept"

Wow! An American Judge who actually understands that there are *limits* to her powers!!

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Every fing time

A judge makes a good ruling (as they do 99% of the time) someone has to make a comment like this... Almost always first or second. Its just that you hear about the 1% that are wrong. Oddly noone gets annoyed by most "good" rulings, only the news worthy ones. This is why people rant about the system, because they don't think beyond their screen and their anger.

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Flame

Problem is the 1%

The issue is not the 99% of the good ones as these don't cause problems. I would suggest that the vast majority of the problems are caused by the 1% of bad rulings and it is these make the justice system look like idiots and cause problems for normal people.

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@AC : Every fing time

Nobody is ranting about the system, particularly as it doesn't actually apply to the 95% of the world's population who are not US citizens.

As the US seems to generally regard US law as applying to anyone, anywhere in the world and not just within its own borders, you should not be surprised that people ARE surprised to find a judge who realises that this is not the case.

I believe the poster (Graham) was referring to this frequent (and often deliberate) "misunderstanding", by the US judiciary, the US government and US citizens. A good case in point is the repeated assertion that Julian Assange should be tried for treason in the US, even though it is only possible to commit treason against your own country!

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Grenade

Dear AC defending the land of Liberty.......

Man the rest of the world is so impressed that you get it right 99% of the time......

There are 6 Billion of us who could explain the consequences of the 1% where it has been spectacularly wrong.

Please go back to watching your World Series and stick to the world you know

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Re-read please

I'm not from the US. And the post it not a defense of the US, or about defending the 1% of wrong rulings, but about the predictable "finaly a Judge/MP/Politico etc. who knows what they are doing" as if the system is full of fools.

Oh, and the US is not alone in bad ruleings or bad laws. The same smug comments are posted about the UK, and about the EU on a regular basis.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree with the AC

Loads of people seem to think that being a Judge/Politician/Business leader/Policeman is a piece of piss and that every decision is black and white, there is no situation where you have to make decisions that you wouldn't want to for the greater good in other areas.

Well, I've got news for you all: I think you'll find it's a little bit more complicated than that.

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Pirate

This

will simply create more bad publicity for Sony.

Good. After the root kit fiasco Sony are hopefully realising that pissing off paying customers will end in tears. The info is out, doesn't matter whom Sony sues or attempts thereafter, ISO loaders are on the way. Thing is, had Sony not turned 1000s of paying customers into potential hackers by tarring everyone with the same brush of "pirate" then the PS3 would still have been broken but it would have taken a lot longer.

PS, Sony...Dont underestimate your paying customers. A large majority are about to royally shaft you..

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Taken so long..

I remember reading something a while ago that said that the main reason the PS3 didnt get hacked for years was because by providing Hackers with a way of running Linux on it, the only people who had any incentive to try was the pirates, who it would seem didnt have anything like the resources to do it for years.

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If confiscating all equipment/code used to Root a machine is the punishment...

...shouldn't Sony hand over all their equipment used to make those music CDs designed to Root the PC of anyone trying to play it?

All their systems for mastering CDs, pressing them, etc.

As they are the one raising this claim, it sounds to me like they agree to this punishment back.

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WTF?

Blimey!

A sudden outbreak of common sense? Shurley not!

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Sorry couldn't resist..

Yes it is,and don't call me Shurley.

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FAIL

What abuse?

There was no violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. DMCA? That laws broken, so maybe. But for a PS3 geohotz owns, he is the one to authorize access to his own PS3, not Sony, so for the purposes of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act there was no unauthorized access. I'm sure Sony and their lawyers know this damn well too.

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Unfortunately, it does violate DMCA

Unfortunately, there was a definite violation of the DMCA because, as you said, it is a *terrible* law that completely disallows fair use for pretty much anything digital.

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Here come Da Judge, dere go your lawsuit

What a refreshing case of American jurisprudence (emphasis on prudence)!

In my laymans opinion, Sony has no case for several reasons.

They cannot prove damages and many US states require the plaintiff to prove that they suffered a specific sum and why. They cannot prove that anyone has used the information from GeoH0t to damage sales of games. They would have to examining every Playstation console in the world to even try to prove that and they cannot.

Recent rulings have stated that there are certain "fair use" reasons for rooting equipment that a user owns especially the recent Iphone "jailbreaking" ruling which I suspect that judges are only beginning to understand.

The problem will come if the case venue gets moved to another state with a more Sony friendly environment or a less technically savvy judge. Texas or Delaware are the last refuge of the sue happy lawyers.

Call it a WAG (wild assed guess) but I suspect this judge in SanFrancisco stands technically head & shoulders over many judges in the Federal Court System. She may even read El Reg!

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Big Brother

Cue Darth Vaderesque heavy breathing from Sony Execs

Hurrrr....... Hisssss.....

FADEOUT

(to be continued)

[...and after the credits roll...]

Off-screen voice: “That would mean the entire universe is subject to my jurisdiction, and that's a really hard concept for me to accept.”

CLOSE-IN ON:

President Obama doing the Gendo Pose

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Happy

Woo!

“If having a PayPal account were enough, then there would be personal jurisdiction in this court over everybody, and that just can't be right,” Illston told James G. Gilliland Jr., an attorney representing Sony. “That would mean the entire universe is subject to my jurisdiction, and that's a really hard concept for me to accept.”

*APPLAUSE* Somebody get this judge a pay rise stat!

I actually did a little jig at reading that paragraph

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Anonymous Coward

ever gonna learn

Is the content ever going to learn that DRM is a waste of time and money?

Sony console arm only create the rubbish because content creators demand they do, and sony needs content, so DRM create they do. However it's a waste of time as it will always get cracked for all kinds of reasons from Me wanting to play a bluray or PS3 game I bought from Japan, to some guy wanting to run his homebrew, to the hoards that want to play games and media for free.

It's just amazing how much energy we waste on such pointless crap.

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DRM?

In this case the DRM worked great for them for years, until Sony p*ssed off the people who were likely to put time and effort into cracking the console.

When Sony released the PS3 with its own linux distribution, it effectively split off the Hacker community (Only really interested in the awesome hardware) from the Cracker (Pirate) community, severely reducing the pool of people who gave a damn about cracking the hardware.

It was a brilliant move on Sony's part.

When they took that ability away, they threw that away. Idiots.

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DRM works until it is broken

How many years did it take to become broken? about 4 or 5 years? that's plenty of time to establish the console and rack up lots of sales.

If anything we can hope that this will mean Sony hurries up and produces a new Playstation, hopefully one which is a bit easier to develop for.

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Not from when they started trying to crack it open...

The PS3 was cracked in about the same amount of time as everything else; they just didn't start trying to crack it until Sony took away what they wanted to do with it - run Linux.

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Protected computer without authorization?

It was *his* PS3! That is never how that law was intended, and I think their lawyers are smart enough to know that. Aside from contempt of court, that would imply that anyone who jailbreaks their iPhone, while being excluded from the DMCA, is guilty of the computer fraud and abuse act.

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Stop

Sony is becoming a problem.

We are going to have to consider what the morally right thing to do is.

Allow a large bully like Sony to continue this BS, by allowing it to flourish, or take up arms and affect change by punitive action.

One may laugh and say what could anyone like Mr. Joe Q Public, a single individual, do to make a difference?

I have but this to say. Deny Sony/CBS any $$$ until they change. And make sure they know this. Do not buy their products. Think about it. They make generally leisure goods. One can do without these.

This has gone too far in my opinion. I shall be making similar posts in other forums I frequent as well as the official Sony PS3 forum.

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not the company it was

I used to love Sony stuff. Tvs video and music systems. Then, just after the PS2 the company shifted. Insane decisions like the not-a-cd came out and I can say I'll never buy another Sony product again. This coupled with the steam from my own mad stopping cinavia ends any chance of a ps3 going in my rack.

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I decided ...

... a long time ago. It is ten years since I bought a Sony product and it is likely that I will never buy another. It is a shame as they do (did?) make some nice hardware.

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Coat

sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD said, “Deny Sony/CBS any $$$

Storng bare durid* said, “Deny Sony/CBS any $$$ until they change. And make sure they know this. Do not buy their products. Think about it. They make generally leisure goods. One can do without these.”

Fine in principle but this has many flaws, first of all its my opinion that Sony makes the best televisions and have done so for many years. No matter what goes on in the games console market place I will always replace my old Sony TV with a new Sony TV. It’s what is known as brand loyalty. Right or wrong, just because a company is going after a few hackers in a far and distant land to me won’t change this.

And let’s get to the point here regarding the hackers. They claim that they only want to install and run what software they want to on hardware they own. Well fair enough. But the majority of people are only interested in what work the hackers do so that they can get an ISO loader and play free games.

The fact that the hackers only released the keys to the door means that you really need to know what you are doing to make use of the keys and to most people they will be meaningless, except for they will know it’s the pre-cursor to free games !!

Although I hate the way corps abuse the legal and patent systems to make money it is exactly the same as I would be and most of you would be doing if I was in the position Sony is in. And let’s face it, they are only protecting the promises they made to the game developers. If they didn’t the game devs would have a case to get out of the contractual obligations to pay Sony a cut of the sales if Sony do not make best efforts to keep the platform secure.

And on top of that, I honestly don’t see the point of installing Linux on a ps3. It appears to be a lot of trouble for something that has limited use. Why not build yourself a uATX sized PC and install Linux on it? Keep your PS3 for playing games?

*sorry, had to write your "handle" in English... I dispise that h4cK3R sH1t

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FAIL

except

>And on top of that, I honestly don’t see the point of installing Linux on a ps3.

Sony willingly did this when they released the console so they could claim it was a computer instead of a consumer device and thus claim the lower tariffs in most countries. When they lost the ruling on this (lol Europe reduce tariffs, good one) then all of sudden their desire to support OtherOS sure disappeared fast. Although they did advertise the feature long after they cared about it.

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Stop

a new Sony TV

Good point well made .......

but consider this how long will it be before Sony decides what is acceptable for you to watch on your TV?

No MKV Files, No Divx or XVID's as these are all formats used by pirates.

It may or may not be techically possible now but in 2 years?? who can say.

Haven't bought a Sony product since the PS2. And don't intent to

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid idea

I have to say this as it seems lost on a lot of people. It is ok to deny Sony money by not buying their products but realise there are different divisions of Sony who are all independent of each other, so if you boycott Sony products BOYCOTT THE CORRECT ONES.

The products you should be boycotting are SONY MUSIC - more essentially things from SONY MUSIC of AMERICA (don't know the proper term). THEY are the ones responsible for the rootkit. Not Sony Music of Europe, the movie section, the media hardware section OR the games section. IT IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MUSIC SECTION so hit them where it hurts.

Boycotting all Sony products is stupid.

Finally, all these people who are boycotting Sony products. Are you also boycotting Microsoft? They also have shafted their customers considerably, not once but multiple times. What about Apple? They are also guilty of shafting their customers! You should really be boycotting these companies as well otherwise you are hypocrites!

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Different Market

@irish donkey

You know TV's are a whole different market with many more players than the console one.

If Sony were to stop offering all them features your on about then people would shift to one that does. Hence Sony can't / will not do this because they would be at a disadvantage.

Not used Sony products in a long time myself. Panasonic TV and last Sony device being the TV before it (handed down from Parents). But I can see Sony's position on this, without copy protection they would not get developers, without developers what is the point in making a console?

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Unhappy

PS2

Haven't bought a Sony product since the original PS1.

Their everything-proprietary stance is worse than Apple's in some respects. At least when Apple pick a proprietary standard they stick to it.

I am however now in a bit of a quandary, as I spent years building up a nice collection of Minolta camera gear and some of it is starting to get quite long in the tooth... When my precious Dynax 7D dies, do I keep my stuff and go Sony, or do I ditch it all and join the unwashed hordes with their Canons and Nikons? I have to say both options make me feel slightly grubby.

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bzzzt...

Your point would make a whole lot more sense if you knew what you commented on. The PS3 doesn't support mkv nor xvids. Its one of the reasons why I ended up grabbing an A.C. Ryan media player even though I love my PS3 and all the media it can manage....

As for me... I am a PS3 fanboy yet here I think Sony got what they deserved. I buy hardware and then the company is telling me what I can and cannot do?

Still; one has to wonder... I think the main reason this came upon them is because their console targeted techies in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised if they simply try a few options, let it slide and in a few months most people will have forgotten about this entirely.

The PS3 crowd (so to speak) doesn't seem too much interested in topics like these so it seems. I mean... When I got my PS3 I quickly learned it could grok a memory stick, as such I started making manual backups of my saved games. I know you can make full backups; restoring a single file on the other hand....

My first (and so far only) frustration with my PS3? Some companies deem it necessary to restrict me from making a backup of a save game.. A game which I *paid* for containing stuff which I *worked* for (even though its all amusement).

So yes; something is definitely wrong here, but please lets not make things look worse then they are (here's the fanboy in me ;-)).

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Also known as being a sucker

"will always replace my old Sony TV with a new Sony TV. It’s what is known as brand loyalty."

You remind me of pensioners who insisted on buying a new Rover no matter what, instead of looking at all the options and picking out the best one for their needs.

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aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Both my PS3's plays Xvids just fine... or did I just misread your comment.

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How long before we license hardware

is this what Sky does with sky+ boxes they 'give away free' with their basic bank account rupture service?

Do you own the box? I have a feeling not I don't intend to give Murdoch any more money to tie me up.

As soon as we can get rid of these internet roadblocks that get between the producers of content and the consumers the better. They no longer provide either side a service. At least Dick Turpin only robbed the occasional traveller - not everyone.

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Unhappy

Tom 7

It is quite clear in the Sky agreement. You do indeed own the box once you have passed the 1 year initial agreement. But without a Sky subscription, no matter which box you have, all you can do with it is watch free-to-air channels as they are broadcast in standard definition (with the possible exception of the HD BBC channels).

I recently had my Sky subscription dropped because my bank had cancelled the direct debit (long story), and I could not see Sky 1, Sky 2, Living, Sky movies or even Dave (which is available free-to-air), or any of the kids or documentary channels. Can't remember if the BBC HD channels worked. Just what you would get if you took the Sky card out (although the message on the encrypted channels was a bit more polite). What's even worse, I could not see anything stored on the hard-disk, even if it was from a Free-To-Air channel.

This makes the Sky HD box useless as a recorder without a subscription, even for FTA channels.

What is more interesting, as part of any 'upgrade' the Sky installer will probably want to take YOUR old box away. I'm not sure if this is in the upgrade agreement or not (I've not done one, I got my Sky HD box off ebay). This means that if you later want Sky Multiroom, you end up paying for another Sky box to replace the one you previously had!

I'm wondering whether we could challenge whether Sky have the right to restrict the recording function for FTA channels on Sky+ boxes without a Sky subscription? Anybody any thoughts?

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Anonymous Coward

@Tom 7

Actually you do own the Sky box (in the UK at least). Which has the (possible) downside that if it fails after the first year that is your problem. Virgin (in the UK) maintain ownership of their set-top boxes which emans that if it fails you get a replacement (if you don't mind hangoing around at home for a days at a time in case they show up).

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Sky boxes

Yes, I own the box. If they licensed it they would be responsible for maintaining it as it would be part of the license. Considering they keep pestering me to take out extra warranty/insurance on the box proves that I own it. Plus it comes with a 1 year guarantee. If it is licensed why would they guarantee it?

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Re: Sky Boxes

In short, you do own the Sky box, unlike say Virgin Media's cable boxes, however there are some pretty hefty penalties that you pay, if you fall foul of Sky...

For example to "timeshift" programmes on Sky+, i.e use it for it's intended purpose as a PVR, unless you're on a high end package, it's £10 per month, for the privilege...

In addition, to access most of the HD channels on Sky, it's another £10/month, to do so, in addition to any other package costs...

If anything goes wrong with the phone line, you connect the box to during the first year, you can be forced to pay £210 (£150 for the box itself, and £60 for the installation) as they could consider you to be breaking a clause in your contract...

(Reason, they're trying to get you hooked into their "Interactive" services, such as online gaming. Needless to say, the online gaming site, you access via the box, is run by Sky...)

After a year though, you can disconnect the phone line from the box, without any penality...

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Anonymous Coward

sky

Sky actually DO give you ownership of the box.

The olny clause is that you sign up for 12 months tv services and keep the box plugged into the telephone line for that same 12 months...

Years ago, they did retain ownership of the boxes and if you canceled your subscription they would collect the box AND dish!

Currently there are two reasons for sky to actually GIVE you the box. oneis that to keep track of the whereabouts of the 6million sky boxes in use would be a nightmare and secondly, if your box broke after the first 12 months they would have to supply a new box... as it is, they will refuse to hand over a new box unless you hand over silly amounts of money or tell them to end your subscription...

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titular advisory

Yep, I own my Sky box too. The only thing they retain ownership of is the viewing card, understandably, which is where the DRM happens. This also highlights the grey area that Sony, in this particular case, is in. Sky owns the card, so you can be held liable for any tampering with that device. Sony can't really go after you for unauthorised access to the device as you are the owner, thus have the authorisation to access said device.

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Anonymous Coward

@Peter Gathercole

I upgraded a couple of years ago and they left the existing box. Since it yours I presume that you would have to agree to surrendering it as part of the upgrade 'offer' (otherwise they could take the sofa and the dog while they are there).

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Anonymous Coward

@Mr Mark V Thomas

Actually I think the reason for the phone line is so that the box can dial home from time to time and confirm that it is where it is supposed to be (you can't block your caller ID as part of the contract). I don't thnk I've ever used an interactive service although I might consider it if I could connect up the ethernet port to my home network rather than using (chargeable?) dial-up.

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Anonymous Coward

Let 'em sweat a bit

Let 'em sweat a bit before they head for the slammer.

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FAIL

yep how dare they question big biz

Sony is the last corporation the world that hasn't figured out customers hate DRM and being told how to use a product that costs them money. Perhaps that is why Blueray and the PS3 have largely been failures (much slower adoption that expected). Lol after owning the video game market with the PS2 if they get lucky they might pass me too Microsoft for 2nd place. Glad I don't own Sony stock.

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Anonymous Coward

Withdrawal of service

Would be interesting to know if by removing the existing right to run other OS on the PS3 sony had actually broken some law, or perhaps just the "contract" in the form of the license agreement between itself and the consumer.

3 cheers for a judge with some common sense!

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Re: Withdrawal of service

Yes, but Sony would almost certainly have put in a "Terms and conditions can change, see the web site at ..." clause in the agreement, making it the customers responsibility to make sure that they were still in compliance.

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Is it the cracking or the publishing Sony doesn't like?

From the article: (my emphasis)

>>"Sony's suit claims that by *publishing* the means to bypass the protection measures built into the console, the hackers violated provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "

There is arguably *some* difference between someone doing something on hardware they've bought, with the intention of only using what they do to enable their own alternative use of the hardware, and telling other people how to do something if revealing that knowledge enables illegal activity.

That second case is a potentially very murky area, especially if what is being done has some arguable merit (like in this example, reinstating the Linux capability, the presence of which might have motivated some people to become owners).

It's easy to imagine examples at one or other extreme where the behaviour was clearly pretty harmless on the one hand or highly likely to result in meaningful criminality on the other.

If someone has a personal philosophy that 'information should be free', that's still an opinion which doesn't necessarily trump the law.

Even if releasing the information could well be argued to have an upside as well as a downside, making the decision to release it is still gambling that one's own view on the balance of benefits is one that is or should be respected by everyone else and by the legal system.

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