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Australia Hardware Hacking PlayStation (Games) Sony The Courts Games Build

Australian Crackdown On Console Modchips Likely To Continue 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-over-down-under dept.
angry tapir writes "Late last week an Australian court issued an injunction against a handful of retailers selling or importing hardware — commonly known as 'mod chips' — that allows unauthorized software to run on Sony's PlayStation 3. The court also required that the four parties that were the subject of the injunction actually hand over to Sony any PlayStation modchips they have. Sony's PlayStation 3 mod chip lawsuit could be just the first of many such cases in Australia, according to a lawyer who defended a client against Nintendo in a similar case earlier this year."
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Australian Crackdown On Console Modchips Likely To Continue

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  • by slackarse (875650) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:52AM (#33446154) Journal

    Come visit Australia, "The Lucky Country". I mean, come visit Australia, We will steal your internets [wikipedia.org], then we will steal your pr0n [smh.com.au], now we will steal your gamez".

    Fuck it, don't visit Australia, because it's gone to the dogs already.

    • Actually the Americans and Brits find us quite refreshing compared to their own governments. :p

    • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:16AM (#33446276)
      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Australia [wikipedia.org]

      it is now virtually impossible for the filtering scheme to pass through the Senate.

      The Filter is dead, long live the filter (I'm sure many angry ./ers wont let it die). At least I can still give the finger to an AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services) official at the international airport and not disappear into an interrogation room for 3 days.

      As far as overreaching border controls go, we did not get the short end of the stick.

      Also, customs are only searching for illegal porn (so that video of you and your monkey wife doing is legal, tasteless but legal) you just have to declare that you've got it, the same as prescription medication. After all, it's not like customs will hand back you porn if you so much as threaten to sue them, no wait... they did [news.com.au].

      Besides, asking "Do you have any pornographic material" is slightly less absurd then "Do you intend to overthrow the government of the United States" as far as arrival questions go.

      So dear Americans, dont Visit Australia because you'll have a harder time trying to get back into your own country (and you're not staying here forever).

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Really, Aussieland seems to be heading into the direction of you own no personal property. And as such, you can't do anything once you 'rent' it.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Really, Aussieland seems to be heading into the direction of you own no personal property.

          Really?

          Because I live here and nothing like that even seems remotely true.

          Check your sources and get back to me.

          By the By, the law under which this trial was conducted was foisted on the Australian books by none other then the United States (via a free trade agreement that our then fuhrur the Honourable Mr John Howard signed).

        • As someone who lives in Australia, I can say that, no, we really aren't heading down that road. Beware of taking slashdot as your news source; you can't believe everything you read.

      • by syousef (465911)

        Also, customs are only searching for illegal porn (so that video of you and your monkey wife doing is legal, tasteless but legal) you just have to declare that you've got it, the same as prescription medication. After all, it's not like customs will hand back you porn if you so much as threaten to sue them, no wait... they did [news.com.au].

        Are you trying to be obtuse here? I don't think it's the government's business what my wife and I do in our bedroom even if we photograph or video tape it. Having to tell some stranger about your sex life is an invasive loss of freedom. The only alternative is what my wife and I do and that is not to make porn in the first place. We're not into that so it's no imposition but it sure is another freedom gone.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Are you trying to be obtuse here?

          Are you trying to be retarded here? What I posted should be clear enough. The law has been challenged, AQIS cannot abuse it.

          I don't think it's the government's business what my wife and I do in our bedroom even if we photograph or video tape it.

          It is the governments business what you bring into and out of this nation. It's their business because it's my business. There are a whole host of things (pests, diseases, dangerous items) I dont want you bringing in here. If you

          • by syousef (465911)

            It is the governments business what you bring into and out of this nation. It's their business because it's my business. There are a whole host of things (pests, diseases, dangerous items) I dont want you bringing in here. If you dont want the government to watch you and Mrs simian going at it then dont bring it, simple.

            That has got to be the most IDIOTIC and WEAK argument I have _EVER_ seen here. Do you realise the magnitude of that insult?

            To attempt to somehow explain that pictures of my sex life are the governments business are some kind of threat or any of the government's business (just because I cross a border) at all is just laughable. Your stupidity is worthy of no more of my time because in trying to defend this you have proven that you're beyond any kind of rational discussion.

            But it also gives me an obligation to declare anything I bring in.

            No, you twit. You are only required

            • by mjwx (966435)

              That has got to be the most IDIOTIC and WEAK argument I have _EVER_ seen here. Do you realise the magnitude of that insult?

              Explain....

              Thought not. You're FOS, I'll explain

              The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service does an important job at keeping out foreign pests and diseases. Australia has a problem with several introduced animals such as rabbits, foxes (introduced to get rid of the rabbits) Camels and numerous insects and weeds that have upset the Australian ecosystem. AQIS's primary job is

              • by syousef (465911)

                That has got to be the most IDIOTIC and WEAK argument I have _EVER_ seen here. Do you realise the magnitude of that insult?

                Explain....

                Thought not. You're FOS, I'll explain

                Do you often talk to yourself? Often answer on behalf of your opponent when debating a topic. It's called having an irrational and weak mind. There's your explanation for you.

                The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service does an important job at keeping out foreign pests and diseases.

                My sex life is neither a foreign pest nor a disease.

                Australia has a problem with several introduced animals such as rabbits, foxes (introduced to get rid of the rabbits) Camels and numerous insects and weeds that have upset the Australian ecosystem.

                My sex life or photos or video thereof is not a rabbit, fox, nor camel. So why even bring it up?

                AQIS's primary job is to keep these out, after that we have dangerous and controlled items like explosives, firearms, controlled drugs, illegal narcotics which can be quite dangerous if they get into the wrong hands.

                My sex life or photos or video thereof is not a dangerous and controlled items like explosives, firearms, controlled drugs, illegal narcotics. So why even bring it up?

                Unlike the US customs service, AQIS will be looking for plant and animal material first and foremost, I've received more questions about my guitar (because made out of wood) then any DVD I've bought into this country. BTW I do this about once every six months.

                You are only required to declare things that would endanger this country.

                You still haven't expl

      • by Xest (935314)

        "At least I can still give the finger to an AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services) official at the international airport and not disappear into an interrogation room for 3 days."

        For what it's worth, even Canadian customs randomly interrogated me for 3hrs completely randomly, and judging by that Australian border control documentary that's on TV here in the UK your customs folks would at least pull someone giving them the finger aside and harass them for a little while, albeit not 3 days of cou

        • by greyc (709363)

          full body scanners too now which are far worse

          I disagree completely. Rummaging through my personal mass storage is a far more egregious violation of my personal rights than looking at every angle of my naked body (embarassing (and unpleasant for the observer) as that may be). Contrary to going over my primary mass storage, looking at my naked body doesn't tell you any of:

          1. My stored passwords or other auth data (think SSH private keys).
          2. My political views.
          3. My taste in entertainment, pornography related

          • by Xest (935314)

            Funnily enough I'd actually wiped my laptop before I went through Canadian customs the time they interrogated me, largely because it was full of clutter and seemed a good time to do it, you know, one of those "Maybe I should get that done before I go on holiday" type of things.

            This actually gave Canadian customs more reason to question me- why does this laptop look barely used etc.

            I was given the choice of answering questions such as where I worked, how much money I made, where I lived, what my relationship

            • by mjwx (966435)

              Again, customs in most the Western world seem to be staffed by egoistical power hungry twats with no concept of right to privacy

              Not any different in the rest of the world. Only easier to bribe. If you get bailed up by Russian or Thai customs agents, they'll go straight for your wallet as there is no punishment for extorting out a bribe nor any recourse for you (especially as a foreigner).

              But in answer to your question, these positions tend to attract the little Napoleons who cannot actually get into a

              • by Xest (935314)

                "Not any different in the rest of the world. Only easier to bribe. If you get bailed up by Russian or Thai customs agents, they'll go straight for your wallet as there is no punishment for extorting out a bribe nor any recourse for you (especially as a foreigner)."

                I found South American immigration officials to be quite welcoming in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, it was only the folks manning the border post between Chile and Argentina in the Andes that were a bit uptight, but seeing as there's nothing up the

                • by mjwx (966435)

                  I found South American immigration officials to be quite welcoming in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, it was only the folks manning the border post between Chile and Argentina in the Andes that were a bit uptight,

                  I suspect they are the same as Asian customs agents. Fine so long as you dont put a foot wrong (it is pretty hard to do something wrong at customs if you've got half a brain though) but if you do, they'll take you to a room, give you a glass of water, offer you a smoke and start talking about charge

        • by mjwx (966435)

          and judging by that Australian border control documentary that's on TV here in the UK your customs folks would at least pull someone giving them the finger aside and harass them for a little while,

          TV is not reality. (I'm sure you know this). I've seen the Customs reality TV show a few times, they pick the worst cases Customs has to deal with for dramatic effect. If you flipped the bird in reality, they'd just tell you to sod off (or not to be a wanker). AQIS are actually one of the friendliest customs se

    • frankly, I think the mulinationals are using Australia as the "precedent setting" English-speaking country and Canada as the "bad child" country. The corporations have found a spot isolated enough they can game the system, and even the right-wing morality police (which are also large international corporations) are in on the action. Once they have a precedent in a locked down Australia, they can then go after Canada (which they already are doing) and then the UK and US.. all of course from their headquarte

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Blain (264390)

      Thank God you got the convicts and we got the Puritans.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by mjwx (966435)

        Thank God you got the convicts and we got the Puritans.

        I'm grateful for that every day, speaking as an Australian.

        Now that you've bought it up, I'd like to educate you as to the kinds of criminals that were bought to Australia. The reason for bringing convicts to do labour was to expedite the construction of a colony (the British empire did the same with some US colonies and elsewhere) so they didn't send the murderers, rapists and other such violent ruffians that would cause trouble for their guards.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by Blain (264390)

          Wow. Amazing ability to not get a joke. That could make you a barrel of fun at parties.

          Oh, that was sarcasm -- don't really try it at parties. Or anywhere.

          No shortage of love for Ozzies here. Just a little good-natured poke based on the same poke in the other direction and current events.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Wow. Amazing ability to not get a joke. That could make you a barrel of fun at parties.

            Oh, I got the joke...

            It just wasn't funny.

            Oh, that was sarcasm -- don't really try it at parties.

            Advice you should live by.

            BTW, few Australian's actually know that part of our history. Pay attention, you may learn something yet.

    • Fuck it, don't visit Australia, because it's gone to the dogs already.

      Ya mean gone to the dingo's mate.

    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      Now we will steal your gamez

      No, you stole the game in the firstplace.

      Now cue the million replies from people telling me that using software you have not paid a penny / cent for is not actually theft. Well as a developer I think it is and no amount of drivel posted by people merely trying to justify their own actions will change my mind.

      Also, the post seemed to be saying that by making mod-chips illegal the Australian government is stealing games, this is certainly not the case either so if you want to get technical about the usage of

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      If I learned nothing else from Flight of the Conchords [wikipedia.org], it was that Australians are evil, svil creatures who will rob you blind and steal your soul.
      • by slackarse (875650) *

        Flight of the Conchords was based on a true story. I'm so evil, I once robbed a man so blind, that he now has no eyes.

  • Unlawful seizure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mykos (1627575) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:53AM (#33446162)
    This no-questions-asked demand of goods without a trial and insta-judgement favoring the plaintiff doesn't bode well for the country as a whole.

    Looks like they're cutting straight to the heart of the matter. Whoever has the most money is right.
  • I mean, Not modchips themselves. But the code to unlock a PS3 is the wild now. It's like trying to lock the gate after the cows run into the town square.
    • by Psaakyrn (838406)
      Deterrence so that people don't go unlock the gate again after they herd all the cows back in. Else what's the point of any other punishment in existence?
    • Whats to stop Sony from issuing a mandatory firmware update that blocks this attack vector?

      Sure if you don't care about multiplayer, PSN etc. then you don't have to update but majority of PS3 users do. Of course the situation changes if sony in its wisdom insisted on current firmware to play newer games, even in single player. If there's one thing that the MW2 uproar (and lack of actual effectiveness on sales/bottomline) taught us is that the mass consumer market will happily continue to toe the line so don

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:00AM (#33446190)
    What is it with Australia? They want to filter the Intertubes in was that make Iran look like an island of freedom, they regulate games like some nanny from 1984 ( the book ), their proposed copyright laws cause orgasms for the record and movie cops... Are the people that propose these law actually elected and represent the views of the average Aussie?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:05AM (#33446216)

      You're asking that about a country who had their elected prime minister axed and replaced earlier this year by his own party, and where recent elections resulted in a hung parliament where neither of the two major parties could form a majority.

      Answer: no, they don't, and Australia is generally getting pretty sick of it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thegarbz (1787294)
        The prime minister is not the president. The party selected a new figurehead, but the same party was still in power driving pretty much all the same decision. We vote for a local representative who is part of a major party. The party itself can have massive disagreements amongst themselves too, but ultimately the prime minister only shakes hands and kisses babies. Only an incredibly good prime minister actually has the power to sway negotiations within their own party. Clearly ours wasn't even good enough t
      • Your right, Aussie were getting pretty sick of it and, and like the English, have sent a clear message through: neither of the two major parties deserved to be a majority. Now rather than run Aussies off to another war, filter their internet, "reform" their labor laws without even so much as a serious debate, they'll have to run it through thinking third parties like the greens that don't just toe the party line. If you listen to some (most?) of the press you'd get the impression that hung parliaments wer

        • by rdnetto (955205)

          Unfortunately, our political system just isn't setup for this. We now have 4 independents holding the major parties hostage for their pet causes. One of the nationals even tried to get himself reclassified as an independent just so he could have a share of the power. And as for the Greens, there policies are even worse than Labour's from an economic viewpoint. Shutting off the coal power plants without a viable alternative will absolutely decimate the economy. Until now, they've never had the power to push

          • We now have 4 independents holding the major parties hostage for their pet causes

            You have 4 independents who do not just toe the party line and do as their told. You also have two entrenched parties that are not used to being told they cannot do something.

            ...will absolutely decimate the economy.

            As opposed to the economic decimation that has occurred under the watch of both Labour and Libral. You might be right - but the Greens deserve the benefit of the doubt. The old "they will shut off the coal mines, cold turkey style" is a often repeated scaremongering tactic used to persuade the less intellectually inclined to steer the

    • by sd4f (1891894)
      basically, when the gumberment did the free trade aggreement with the USA, we got worse copyright laws foisted onto us. Before that, the law basically was around the idea that is was illegal to break copyright, so as long as you didn't make any infringing copies, you could do whatever you wanted, ie, run cracks on your own games, install modchips for homebrew etc but you still weren't technically allowed to make a copy. Now with this technological protection measures or devices whatever, the line is blurr
    • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:23AM (#33446308)

      What is it with Australia? They want to filter the Intertubes in was that make Iran look like an island of freedom,

      That was a small group of religious extremists, who have since been smacked down. Getting a filter now is impossible, since the greens control the senate and the independents control the house (we had an election a few weeks back). The best they got was a "voluntary" filter from Australia's worst ISP's (most people in Australia have the choice of 5+ ISP's). In the mean time, my Amcom and iinet connections remain unfiltered.

      Would you like it if I said all Americans were naive blubbering vagina's like Rush Limbagh? (I cant be arsed googling the correct spelling). Not fair using the worst example of a people as the average is it?

      Are the people that propose these law actually elected and represent the views of the average Aussie?

      Is Joe Biden or John McCain a representative of the average American, how about Sarah Palin (no wait, dont answer that). Polly's always live in a world of their own and always seem surprised when reality crashes in on them. Same in every country mate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by yoshi_mon (172895)

        You make very good points but just FYI Joe Biden is our current VP. Compared to McCain, who recently sold his soul to keep his senate seat, Biden has yet to do anything really 'bad'.

        Biden actually aside from often sticking his foot in his mouth is actually a pretty down to earth guy. So, again especially in light of what McCain has done lately, to put him in the same sentence with McCain is a bit unfair.

        All that being said the right has been going nuts here in the US with its propaganda like we have never

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          the right has been going nuts here in the US with its propaganda like we have never seen before

          Every generation says that. If you believe there's any truth to it, you either haven't lived long enough, haven't studied history, or both.

          • by yoshi_mon (172895)

            So:

            Fox News (New)
            Right Wing Talk Radio (Not new but newer)
            Right Wing Printed Press
            Right Wing Religious Pressure (Not new by a long shot, but has gained new ground.)

            Your right wing is showing methinks.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      The truly funny thing is one of the main proponents of the filter was caught the other day with more than 200,000 hits of "inappropriate content" deemed not safe for work for government computers accessed from his login. The Reverend Fred Nile after initially pretending it wasn't him, said it was for "research" and then said something about finding out what the Sex Party was up to (I'll have to see if I can find the quote, it is hilarious). That's quite a lot of "research" he's been getting up to from tha
    • I think you might want to pay attention to the U.S. more than Australia, or hell, most countries nowadays, the same things that are happening in Australia are happening overseas, sometimes in greater levels.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timbo234 (833667)

      What is it with Australia? They want to filter the Intertubes in was that make Iran look like an island of freedom,

      Actually thanks to the recent election this filter is basically dead, it will never get through the senate.

      Are the people that propose these law actually elected and represent the views of the average Aussie?

      They're elected but the elections are on topics like the economy and boat people. Most Aussies think things like internet filtering and copyright are irrelevant side issues and don't elect

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Are the people that propose these law actually elected and represent the views of the average Aussie?

      Please I invite you to tell me what choice I have. I voted the Sex Party first, the Greens, second, and due to our preferential voting system my votes went to Labor, that was what I wanted, because Labor despite the filters and the waste and the bullshit was an order of magnitude better than the idiots in the Coalition.

      We have 2 main parties, both suck so bad that we now have a hung parliament where no one is in charge. You make it sound like we want to vote in these bafoons.

  • Generic dongle? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:54AM (#33446438) Homepage Journal

    AFAIK, the modchip is a generic microcontroller ( ATmega164PA ) in a simple USB-pluggable board, and the actual jailbreak code is in the wild [kotaku.com].

    It could be easily done that the microcontroller board is given some minor extras and some legal, common, generic functionality, say, a USB-RS232 converter. Then the customer can buy the dongle, and turn it into a modchip using a PC and a simple package downloaded from torrents.

  • by Joakal (1317443) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:56AM (#33446446)

    Political party Pirate Party Australia [pirateparty.org.au]

    We would really appreciate volunteers! Ask in the forum how to help. You can also help by advocacy. Get people to think and talk PPAU when angry about copyright/patents/internet/etc.

    Note: PPAU were not in the recent federal elections because registration wasn't complete by the time the election was called.

    • by tokul (682258)

      Political party Pirate Party Australia

      Except for the part where "pirate" word has negative associations/meanings and there is nothing wrong with modchips. People who want to exercise their rights might not want to be associated with piracy or copyright violations. Consider changing party name or keep your political agenda away from modchips.

    • I like the ideals of the Pirate Party and will vote accordingly. However, if you want serious votes, get a serious name. You need to appeal to the majority to get stuff done.
  • Wasn't this sort of thing ruled legal a while ago for purposes of circumventing region encoding on DVDs, that was deemed anti-consumer or something else I can't be arsed looking up?

    That's the key to get this ruled back the other way yet again, in case anyone is interested.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Wasn't this sort of thing ruled legal a while ago for purposes of circumventing region encoding on DVDs, that was deemed anti-consumer or something else I can't be arsed looking up?

      For personal use. If you tried to sell a pre-modded Xbox MS could come down on you like a ton of bricks. However selling the modchip is fine, even installing it.

      A dongle blurs the lines (no installation), and with the US copyright laws bought in through the free trade agreement Sony, MS and Nintendo have been lawyering like

      • The previous ruling hinged on region locking, as there is no region locking on games I think this is a different ball game

        IANAL etc.

  • How long until their crackdown on anything remotely fun spills to other countries? We have to help the aussies get their porn and zombie games back BEFORE their government does the same to US!!!
  • From my Firehose submission [slashdot.org], there's an open source version available using a cheap and easily obtained development kit (~$40 US).

    News article [ps3news.com]
    Source code [github.com] plus patch [ps3news.com] which you need to enable backup functionality.

    All it would need is someone to port it to Linux (USB Gadget). An Android phone would serve as a suitable USB client.

    Even better, this dongle disconnects itself from the USB bus when it's done - the only thing Sony can do is recognize unauthorized packages. Which becomes a problem because package man

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