George Hotz Flees to South America…For Now

George Hotz, also known by his hacker alias “GeoHot,” dropped a megaton on the gaming industry when he hacked the PlayStation 3, and was promptly sued by Sony. He put up a website and asked for donations, and has now apparently left the country.

According to a recently spotted court filing by Sony, when GeoHot was asked to submit to an inspection of his “devices” (computers, hard drives, etc.) and appear at a deposition in California, he “deliberately removed integral components of his impounded hard drives prior to [delivery],” and according to his legal representative(s) he “is now in South America, an excuse for why he will not immediately provide the components of his hard drives as requested.”

Beyond skipping town country, GeoHot also apparently “submitted a declaration…in which he made unequivocal statements [including] ‘To the best of my knowledge and belief I do not have a PlayStation Network account.'” He also declared that he has four PlayStation 3 systems in his possession, one of which he bought new. When asked to give up the serial number of that new system, that console matched a sale in a GameStop store local to him, and that same console was then used to create a PlayStation Network ID according to Sony’s logs. Sony discovered that the screen name he registered, “blickmanic,” is the same as that of an iPhone jailbreaker who matches the profile of GeoHot. The IP address of the console could also be traced to where he lives. Assuming his ISP will give up the information pertaining to when that IP address was allocated to his residence, it sounds like Sony may have GeoHot legally cornered.

Regarding GeoHot’s whereabouts, on his blog he admits to being in South America, “on a vacation.” He assures those who have donated to his legal fund that “not a dime of legal defense money would ever go toward something like this,” but that is all he speaks of the money given to him. He has not stated when he plans to come back to the States to resume litigation, stating only “I will be back, I hear it’s hard to come by the Xperia Play down here.” It’s uncertain how much he may have hurt his “case” by leaving the country, Spring Break or not, but of course PlayStation LifeStyle will stay with this story as it develops.