Recently PlayStation Network has been updated to version 3.70 by many users who may have noticed that the new EULA and Terms of Service agreement blocks class action lawsuits from taking place. Users have the right to refuse the update and remain on the current version of their software, but will not be able to sign into PlayStation Network should they choose not to accept these new terms. Many people have recently begun to criticize Sony for this move.
Everyone remembers the data breach of the PlayStation Network which Sony has suffered through since the self-proclaimed ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous took to the cyber-streets for what they considered to be unlawful actions taken by Sony. One class-action lawsuit you might remember that relates to this incident is the one started by the Rothken Law Firm on behalf of PlayStation Network users against Sony. The problem with class action lawsuits like this is that they are truly meant to enrich the few at the expense of many. Most class-action lawsuits end up with settlements of large amounts that are eaten up by lawyer fees which a firm like Rothken Law Firm themselves started and really don’t need to charge the parties involved.
Seeking punitive damages for a network breach sounds reasonable enough, until you bear in mind that cyber-terrorism is on the rise and every entity out there is vulnerable to a large group like Anonymous. This group had just finished hacking entities such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and even the United States Government before setting their scope on Sony’s PlayStation Network. For gamers to blame the tech giant seems a bit unrealistic when much larger entities doing far more transactions were unable to evade this group’s attacks. Should users take up a class action lawsuit against everyone jacked into the net next? It’s akin to suing a car company because mechanics exist and one group of them stole from the car owner. While everyone was out for Sony’s blood they lost site of the real issue, a large hacker group runs vigilante on the internet doing as they please and Homeland Security may be investigating them but have still not put a clear end to their digital vandalism and theft.
Readers will also recall that when the OtherOS feature was removed prior to these hacking attacks and the Sony vs. GeoHot debacle, a class action lawsuit eventually sprung up for that event as well claiming Sony had unlawfully went against the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The main reason for removing the OtherOS feature was to prevent pirating and hacking of games which damage the sustainability of game consoles from a business standpoint.
It is this author’s belief that the real reason Sony’s new EULA blocked class action lawsuits from arising stems from the nature of many of the recent class action cases brought against them such as those outlined above. In protecting their own financial stability and ability to deliver for the faithful customers who would rather continue to sign in than reserve their right to sue the company, Sony is doing what they feel is necessary to shut the floodgates. What may appear to some as an anti-consumer move here really seems more like a spearhead against ‘hacktivist’ apologists and sue-happy consumers who are willing to jeopardize the company they get their games from rather than accept the realities related to the real threat, cyber-terrorism.
Originally posted on Examiner.com.
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