The Electronic Frontier Foundation has spoken out against Sony’s efforts to prosecute George Hotz, the man behind the PS3 hack.
The civil liberties group claims that the legislation that forms the basis of Sony’s lawsuit – the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – can be used to unfairly punish customers.
It could even scare off legitimate security researchers, who “will be afraid to publish their results lest they be accused of a circumventing a technological protection measure”.
On its website, the EFF said: “We’ve been concerned that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes. We’ve never been sorrier to be right. These two things are precisely what’s happening in Sony vs Hotz.
“Sony is sending another dangerous message: that it has rights in the computer it sells you even after you buy it, and therefore can decide whether your tinkering with that computer is legal or not.
“We disagree. Once you buy a computer, it’s yours. It shouldn’t be a crime for you to access your own computer, regardless of whether Sony or any other company likes what you’re doing.”