Howard Stringer's Open Letter and Identity Theft Protection for PSN Users

May 5, 2011 -

Sony is busy today, putting up no less than three updates on the official PlayStation Blog, to discuss preparations for the restoration of the PlayStation Network, a letter from Sony CEO Howard Stringer, and details on the new AllClear ID Plus Identity Theft Protection program offering.

First up is a post from Sony Sr. Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold about preparations to restore the PlayStation Network. According to Seybold, Sony's global network and security teams have begun the "final stages of internal testing of the new system." Seybold said that all of this is an important step towards restoring PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. Full post below:

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Report: New York State AG Subpoenas Sony over Security Breach

May 5, 2011 -

According to this Bloomberg report, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Sony over its ongoing security breach. Citing sources close to the situation, Bloomberg reports that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking further information on the security breach of Sony's PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment.

Specifically his department is taking a closer look at what Sony told customers about the security of its networks and when it told customers. The probe is supposedly part of a "consumer protection inquiry," according to the Bloomberg report.

From the report:

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Sony Responds to Congress, Hires Security Firm, and More

May 4, 2011 -

Sony is having a busy news day today. First, a story has been circulating that the company has hired yet another security firm to help it with its investigation of the PlayStation Network security breach. According to GameIndustry.biz, Sony has retained Data Forte, a company led by a former U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service officer. Security firms Guidance Software and Protiviti consultants are also involved in the investigation.

SOE Promises Free Game Time, Virtual Item to DC Universe Online Subscribers

May 4, 2011 -

DC Universe Online subscribers, upset over Sony Online Entertainment's and Sony's security issues, will get some compensation in the form of a virtual item and some free play time in the super hero-themed MMO for PC and PS3. According to the DC Universe Online community site, subscribers will receive a 30 day subscription credit in addition to one day for each day the DCUO was unavailable. Subscribers will also receive a Batman-esque cowl. SOE is calling all this the "make good" plan. More from SOE:

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SOE Comments on Station Security Breach

May 4, 2011 -

When Sony Online Entertainment announced yesterday that it had suffered the same fate as Sony's PlayStation Network, it baffled many in the community. You may recall one week ago that SOE claimed it had not been affected by the major security breach suffered by PSN because its services were separate. But if those services and data of SOE customers were separate from PSN data, how did SOE get hacked too - and at the same time as the PSN attack as the company claimed yesterday?

Joystiq managed to track down a representative of the company willing to talk about it on the record. According to that staff member, the security breach on SOE's servers occurred because of "overlap."

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Sony Declines Demand for Visit to Congress

May 3, 2011 -

Congress wanted Sony to come to Washington D.C. to answer questions. Yesterday several members of Congress demanded answers - in person - from someone at Sony. Today the company in the midst of a security nightmare politely told lawmakers "no thank you."

"Sony declined to testify because their internal investigation is still ongoing," an official in Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack's office told Kotaku this morning.

Congresswoman Mack and Congressman G. K. Butterfield wrote a letter to Sony Computer Entertainment of America (addressed to Kazuo Hirai) on April 29, days after Sony detailed the security breach of the company’s PlayStation Network. Both are members of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. While Sony may have declined the "offer," Sony Computer Entertainment of America spokesman Patrick Seybold said that Sony is cooperating with the committee.

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Ontario Court to Decide First Class Action Suit Against Sony in Canada

May 3, 2011 -

Toronto is the location of the latest class action suit against Sony launched on behalf of one million Canadian consumers for security breaches of the company's PlayStation Network and Qricoity. The class action alleges a breach of privacy and negligence on the part of Sony. The class action suit is seeking in excess of $1 billion in damages and is fronted by plaintiff Natasha Maksimovic, a 21-year-old Humber College student. Maksimovic describes herself as an avid PlayStation player and Sony e-reader user.

She filed her suit because she was concerned that Sony's security breach would have a dramatic impact on her privacy and her finances.

"I’m very loyal to Sony," she said in a phone interview with the Star. "I buy a lot of their products. I trust their brand. It’s kind of disappointing. I’m disappointed in the company to have something like this happen."

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Australian Government Planning Law in Response to PSN Security Breach

May 3, 2011 -

According to a report in newspaper WA Today, the Australian government announced plans to create a law forcing companies to disclose privacy breaches to the public. Newspaper WA Today reports that 1,560,791 Australian accounts were affected as a result of the attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, along with 280,000 credit card details. A timeline for the introduction of this proposal was not revealed, but the government seems to be serious about it. In addition to planning a new law to deal with events like Sony's, the government has criticized the company over the way it has handled its security problems.

Privacy minister Brendan O'Connor recently said that he is "very concerned" over the data loss, but Sony isn't the only company he is concerned about when it comes to security and privacy issues.

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Sony Denies Reports That Hackers Offered to Sell Credit Cards Numbers Back

May 2, 2011 -

Even as Sony's online gaming services were being taken down this morning, the PlayStation Blog was updated denying reports that hackers tried to sell back millions of stolen credit cards to the company. Sony's Patrick Seybold said that the reports were false and that no one in the company recalls such an event occurring. The seedy underbelly of the internet where credit cards are bought and sold every day probably disagrees, but that's Sony's official stance on the subject. Of course, if such an offer were made it would not make much sense to buy back a list that would obviously be copied and resold anyways. From the PlayStation Blog:

"We want to state this again given the increase in speculation about credit card information being used fraudulently. One report indicated that a group tried to sell millions of credit card numbers back to Sony. To my knowledge there is no truth to this report of a list, or that Sony was offered an opportunity to purchase the list."

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SOE: User Data and Credit Card Information Compromised, Services Taken Down

May 2, 2011 -

As promised, Sony Online Entertainment has updated its official site to let customers know why it took down its services earlier today. To say it isn't good news for customers is a major understatement. According to the update, SOE took its game services down because of an intrusion that saw much of the same personal data and credit card info compromised by outside sources - similar to what happened on PlayStation Network. SOE says that personal info related to SOE accounts "may have been stolen" in a cyber attack.

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Sony Online Entertainment Services Taken Down

May 2, 2011 -

Sony Online Entertainment's various services seem to be down and a message on the official site does not give much information on the particulars. According to a short post on the site, the services were taken down after an investigation revealed a deeper "intrusion" than expected at first. This is the first we have heard that Sony's MMORPG arm had some sort of security breach. Below is the message from the official site:

"Dear valued SOE Customers,

We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday)."

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More PlayStation Network Questions and Answers

April 29, 2011 -

Another day, another series of questions and answers from Sony. The latest batch of questions and answers attempt to explain what users can expect when the PlayStation Network comes back online. Topics covered include download history/friends list/settings, Sony Online Entertainment's games, PS+ cloud saves, the state of trophies, and if Sony will offer some sort of good will content as an apology to users. Bullet points follow:

 

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Gamers' Voice To File Complaint with Information Commissioner Over PSN

April 27, 2011 -

Update: A subsequent story on Eurogamer confirms that the Information Commissioner's Office has confirmed its plans to grill Sony over the theft of millions of PlayStation Network users' personal data and credit card information.

"The Information Commissioner's Office takes data protection breaches extremely seriously," the organization told Eurogamer this morning. "Any business or organization that is processing personal information in the UK must ensure they comply with the law, including the need to keep data secure. We have recently been informed of an incident which appears to involve Sony. We are contacting Sony and will be making further enquiries to establish the precise nature of the incident before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken by this office."

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Report: SOE Studios Hit with Massive Layoffs

March 31, 2011 -

According to a Kotaku report, Sony Online Entertainment has closed three of its development studios and laid off nearly a third of its work force. Word began to spread when George Broussard, better known as the creator of Duke Nukem and the founder of 3DRealms, tweeted about SOE Seattle closing:

"Word that Sony Online Entertainment Seattle is having layoffs and that studio closure is possible."

Kotaku then confirmed the news "through a source familiar with the matter" who said that the closure affected SOE's studios in Seattle, Tucson, Arizona and Denver. Kotaku also confirmed that nearly half of the employees at SOE's Austin, Texas studio had been let go. A number of its employees in San Diego, the company's main studio of operations have also been let go.

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DC Universe Online Download Coming Soon to PSN

March 10, 2011 -

If you didn't purchase DC Universe Online for PS3 because the retail game cannot be resold, then you may be happy to hear that Sony Online Entertainment will be offering a digital download of the game via PlayStation Network. In a post today on PlayStation Blog, SOE PR Manager Ryan Peters announced that the company plans to give players another way of getting the game. An added perk is the fact that you won't need to have a disc in the drive when you play. Here is what he said:

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PSA: DC Universe Auto-Renews on PSN

February 16, 2011 -

Game Informer points out that PlayStation Network players may want to check their settings if they are playing SOE's DC Universe Online. If you have your PSN wallet set to auto-fund purchases it will automatically charge your card when your DC Universe subscription becomes due every month. This is not some big controversy, just a warning about keeping absolute control of your purchases on PSN. Here's how the GI staff came to that conclusion:

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More on DC Universe Online Trade-Ins

February 15, 2011 -

A little digging on both Blockbuster’s and GameFly’s web sites shows that both companies are not renting DC Universe Online to its customers. It would be difficult to do more than one time unless they had a special deal in place with either SCEA or SOE to supply additional codes for these discs that come with one-time use codes.

We reached out to both companies to get a better idea of what their policies are related to renting and accepting trade-ins of DCU. Here are their responses:

"Here's how it works," Rachel Silverstein, GameFly's Vice President of Marketing told GamePolitics. "We offer trade-in to help our subscribers realize some value for the games they no longer want to play. Trade-ins do not become part of GameFly’s rental inventory. Whether to buy the game for subscription rental or to accept it as trade in are completely separate decisions."

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2010 G.I.R.L. Scholarship Recipient Announced

June 7, 2010 -

Sylvia Liu of Milpitas, California, is the latest student to be awarded the Gamers in Real Life Scholarship. The 2010 G.I.R.L. Scholarship marks the third year of the program from Sony Online Entertainment. It is a scholarship for women that encourages a vocation in arts and computer studies that ultimately leads to the development of video games.

Liu, an entertainment design student, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be applied toward her tuition and other educational expenses at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and an optional paid internship of up to 10 weeks at SOE’s headquarters in San Diego, working on one of the company's titles.

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Disabled Gamer’s Suit Against Sony Tossed

February 26, 2010 -

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a disabled gamer against Sony Corporation of America, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Online Entertainment which alleged that the defendants denied access to their services for people with disabilities.

The suit was originally filed by plaintiff Alexander Stern in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California last October. The dismissal notice (PDF) was handed down on February 8 of this year.

Stern had argued that, “his visual processing impairments prevent him from fully enjoying the video games manufactured by Sony, some of which are played on gaming systems with internet connections through which players in different locations can communicate and play with or against one another.”

The court noted that, “According to the Ninth Circuit, to prevail on an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Title III discrimination claim, “the plaintiff must show that (1) she is disabled within the meaning of the ADA; (2) the defendant is a private entity that owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation; and (3) the plaintiff was denied public accommodations by the defendant because of her disability.”

In its ruling, the court stated, in reference to point number 2 above, that Sony is not a “place of public accommodation” and was “therefore not liable for violating Title III of the ADA.”


|Via The Hollywood Reporter|

53 comments

Disabled Gamer Sues Sony

November 10, 2009 -

A disabled, visually-impaired gamer has filed suit against Sony Corporation of America, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Online Entertainment claiming that the defendants are denying people with disabilities equal access to their goods and services.

The suit was filed by plaintiff Alexander Stern on October 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Stern seeks to “put an end to systemic civil rights violations” allegedly perpetrated by the defendants.

Stern claims to have sent both physical and electronic mail to officials at Sony requesting “minor modifications” that would remove the barrier to gaming for disabled people. In the complaint, Stern says that a Sony representative told him that “Sony would not offer any modifications whatsoever for persons with disabilities.”

Among other actions, Stern is seeking an injunction to prohibit Sony from violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, a declaration that Sony owns, operates and maintains equipment that discriminates against the disabled, unspecified damages and to have his lawyer’s fees and expenses paid for.

The plaintiff added in the complaint that games such as World of Warcraft do support access by disabled and/or visually impaired people by “providing visual cues through several simple third-party modifications.” Stern notes that other accessibility features are available and have been implemented by “companies whose resources pale in comparison with Sony’s.”

The suit also names “Does 1 through 10,” as the plaintiff “does not presently know the true names and capacities of the defendants.”


|Via GameSpot|

143 comments

NY Firm Sues MMO Creators

September 23, 2009 -

PalTalk Holdings Inc. of Jericho, New York has filed a patent lawsuit against a slew of massively multiplayer online videogame makers.

Filed on September 14 of this year, the suit targets Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Sony Corporation, Activision Blizzard, Inc., NCSoft Corporation, Jagex Limited and Turbine, Inc.

PalTalk alleges that the defendants all use PalTalk technology in an unauthorized and infringing manner and says it has “suffered damages in at least the tens of million of dollars” at the hands of each defendant. The company is seeking a jury trial.

In 2002 PalTalk purchased patented technology from HearMe that allows "efficient handling of communications between players necessary to maintain a consistent game environment for all players,” covering a “number of aspects of online gaming, including communications through a group messaging server.”

The case was filed in Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division, a region, according to Boston.com, known for being “plaintiff-friendly.” The site also notes that a similar lawsuit by PalTalk against Microsoft in 2006, for use of its technology in the Halo series, resulted in the software giant eventually licensing PalTalk’s technology.

GP has the full 16-page complaint in PDF form for your perusal here.

16 comments

GU Comics Has Fun with San Diego Honor for Everquest Publisher

March 11, 2009 -

As GamePolitics has reported, the City of San Diego is honoring the 10th anniversary of the publication of Everquest by declaring Monday, March 16th as Sony Online Entertainment Day.

Today's edition of GU Comics has some fun with the news.

To see the punchline, click here...

7 comments

San Diego Honors Sony Online Entertainment

March 5, 2009 -

We understand that the Evercrack addicts will be too busy questing to attend the festivities, but...

The City of San Diego is marking the 10th anniversary of the Everquest launch by naming March 10th as Sony Online Entertainment Day, reports Massively:

[SOE CEO] John Smedley will be on hand to accept this very nifty award from San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio. 10 years of being online is a hell of an achievement for any MMO.

 

Now, the burning question we want to know is if Councilman DeMaio ever had to corpse-run, too?

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Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
 

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