US judge dismisses majority of PSN class-action lawsuit

Judge Anthony Battaglia found that Sony did not violate consumer-protection laws in the class-action suit filed following the publisher's PSN outage and data breach in April 2011.

A US District judge has cleared Sony of any major wrongdoing in a class-action lawsuit filed over the publisher's response to the PSN outage and security breach in April 2011.

Those looking to legally punish Sony for the PSN outage have been left disappointed.

According to Courthouse News Service, Judge Anthony Battaglia filed a 36-page order dismissing a large proportion of the claims made against Sony in the class-action suit, including negligence, unjust enrichment, bailment, and violations of California consumer-protection statutes.

In addition, the judge found that Sony did not violate consumer-protection laws, because none of the named plaintiffs in the suit actually subscribed to premium PSN services, "and thus received the PSN services free of cost".

The suit was filed on behalf of PSN users who sought actual damages from Sony for its failure to protect the personal data of approximately 77 million PlayStation users during the April attack by hackers on the PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and Sony Online Entertainment.

The suit claimed that the security breach was caused by Sony's negligence in data security, including a failure to maintain a firewall and security systems, and a failure to properly encrypt data.

Sony later moved to dismiss the class action.

Battaglia said that users should have been well aware that Sony's security was not "perfect", finding that all users had signed a Sony Privacy Policy that included "clear admonitory language" detailing that Sony's security was the way it was, and thus "no reasonable consumer could have been deceived".

Battaglia also dismissed the bailment charge with prejudice, due to the fact that the plaintiffs admitted that their personal information was stolen as a result of a criminal data breach that had nothing to do with Sony.

The class-action suit has now been given leave to amend its claims.

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Discussion

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kyle756
kyle756

My only problem with PSN is the completely backwards stuff they do with it, like the inability to turn a child account into an adult account, just pathetically thought out

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

I'm siding with Sony in this case, but if anyone sues Sony for lack of transparency regarding sales of digital content, I hope Sony gets floored.

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

It is a service, not a right.  Just like every other service in existance you have to agree to terms.  Plus you can't hold Sony liable for a criminal act.  Hackers gonna Hack.

Vodoo
Vodoo

The thing that I can't stand is that users are forced to sign the bs privacy policy or else you're blocked from using the online service. So it's basically like if you use our service, you cannot hold us responsible in any way should we shit the bed. That's bullshit and shouldn't be allowed. If I use your service and my personal info is violated while in your possession, damn straight I'm gonna hold you liable.

MXVIII
MXVIII

It still blows my mind, that no one blames the ones responsible for this. Anonymous, has hacked governments, individuals, and corporations, and the victims always get blamed. Not the perpetrators. 

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

Well, the legal system didn't work, so maybe you can try holding your breath until you turn blue. You had your day in court, more than one in fact, and you lost. You play the game, you risk losing.

thermalcold
thermalcold

ok, let me break this down:

-"none of the named plaintiffs in the suit actually subscribed to premium PSN services, "and thus received the PSN services free of cost"" Oh, thats right, since we do not subscribe to "premium" services, the hard earned money we DO spend on psn that Sony has our information to complete the transaction is not worthy of protecting? Got it.

 

-Battaglia said that users should have been well aware that Sony's security was not "perfect", finding that all users had signed a Sony Privacy Policy that included "clear admonitory language" detailing that Sony's security was the way it was, and thus "no reasonable consumer could have been deceived". I see, I should expect to be violated, since I do not pay "premium" services. I see. And what does "admonitory" mean? English, please.

 

-Battaglia also dismissed the bailment charge with prejudice, due to the fact that the plaintiffs admitted that their personal information was stolen as a result of a criminal data breach that had nothing to do with Sony. The information on Sony's servers is not Sony's? umm, sure that makes sense ::::cough  bovine waste material  cough::::

SolidTy
SolidTy

People were suing Sony for the free service service they provided and it didn't work out for them. Sux about the hacker fiasco all around.

 

Suing in America.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

This is why I never use my Credit Card on PSN. 

jayjay444
jayjay444

thank god i no longer use psn i feel a lot safer without it. im really shocked they didnt get sued for billions with this fail. LOL AT U SONY!!!!

megakick
megakick

Sony loss nothing their infomation was on the good protected up to date servers, game servers and PSN were on the out dated poorly protected 2nd hand servers. Sony is NEGLIGENT, Sony didnt even try to protect the accounts information. Moral of the article is if its free the Company is not liable. Goes to show that Sony fans care more about Sony then Sony cares about them.

CincoToes
CincoToes

What? Big business won? I'm shocked!

Ovirew
Ovirew

Why do they sue Sony and not the hackers?  People just don't use their heads...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I agree with the dismissal of some of the claims, but the judge's reasoning surrounding plaintiff's status as non-PSN Plus subscribers feels very wrong to me. Any personal information stored by Sony and then stolen by the hackers must be examined in context of the business transaction that led to the acquisition and storage of that information. The issue is a bit more complex for store-bought games with an integral, but non-essential multiplayer component that can only function by maintaining a valid PSN account, either free or premium, which requires the user to submit and Sony to safekeep certain personal information. The issue is more clear cut if credit card information was provided to Sony for a one-time digital purchase (there is no direct link between digital purchase and PSN Plus subscription), Sony stored that credit card information, and it was subsequently stolen and abused. I think in both cases, sound legal arguments can be made that such transactions entitle the consumer to protection under the consumer protection statues, regardless of the consumer's subscription status to PSN Plus. Unless, of course, Sony completely separates premium PSN services from all other transactions and during the hack only the systems dedicated to such premium services were compromised. Otherwise I don't see how the judge could have made an all-encompassing link between premium PSN service and consumer protection.

 

I also take issue with the notion that any user who read the Privacy Policy must be well aware of the risks involved. Clearly it's unreasonable to expect Sony's security to be "perfect." However, there are industry standards that most companies follow when safeguarding certain types of data. The industy is sufficiently mature for such standards, even though non-binding, to be unquestionable. If Sony's security measures are substantially sub-par compared to other companies that provide similar service and retain similar user information, then Sony should state that explicitly in its user agreement. If no specific warning is provided, then it's reasonable for users to assume that Sony's security measures is similar in robustness to other businesses. The argument that no digital security system is "perfect" and that statement alone is sufficient to move the responsibility of informed consent from Sony to consumers just sounds wrong to me. Of course, whether Sony's security measures really were subpar is the key. I am not knowledgeable in that area so I can't say.

 

If the plaintiffs feel they have legally sound disagreements with the judge's opinion, they should appeal. The court of law is the best recourse to settle differences without force.  Though the result favors one side over another, all parties should feel that they have adequate freedom to present their grievances. It's much better than forcing an extremely disgruntled individual to kill a few Sony employees to vent his frustration. Seems impossible for something like this, but some would say the same about getting laid off, and lives have been lost from such sparks.

megakick
megakick

So having out of date security is A O K?

Can't trust SONY to do their job and they don't get punished for wrong doing.

saucex4
saucex4

 @MXVIII I think people do, however, the claim in question here is negligence, and more importantly the issue I had when this happened was Sony's inability to inform the consumer quickly. Sony did not handle the situation correctly, and I'm sure they learned their lesson, and most likely a lot of other companies learn from Sony's mistake too. I remember when Steam was hacked that within 2 days I got a letter from Valve regarding the issue. Valve handled the situation in a responsible manner, and I think the majority of the concern is how companies handle intrusions of this manner and not so much Sony's ability to prevent hacks because any technology literate person will know that 100% perfect security is impossible.

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @CaptainHerlock I have no need to hold my breath, as that behavior is rather odd. No where did I state that I was in court.

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

 @thermalcold This is a perfect example of how dummies try to sound smart in an area where they have no knowledge of and up making themselves look more stupid.

 

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

 @thermalcold "-Battaglia also dismissed the bailment charge with prejudice, due to the fact that the plaintiffs admitted that their personal information was stolen as a result of a criminal data breach that had nothing to do with Sony. The information on Sony's servers is not Sony's? umm, sure that makes sense ::::cough  bovine waste material  cough::::"

 

I guess in your case, if a bank where your monetary property was stored, was stolen during a robbery. You would sue the bank instead of going after the robbers.

 

/golfclap

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

 @thermalcold 

"Admonitory" means "to serve as a clear warning". There's this data base of word definitions called a "dictionary". It comes in handy sometimes.

 

You put your information out there, you run the risk of it being unlawfully accessed. Unless you've lived an incredibly sheltered existence, there's always risk in life. And no, contrary to the "gamer" belief that "this is different because it's video games", there's no difference.

seriousplayer_d
seriousplayer_d

 @jayjay444 remember, all systems can be hacked, nothing is safe virtual! If you use a pc, it can be hacked. One stupid e-mail can cause that. Instead blaming sony, blame the hackers! They're the cause of the mess. 

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

 @jayjay444 

Yes, because Steam and XBox live have NEVER been hacked in their entire history.. oh wait.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

 @megakick Well to be honest, no company really cares about the end user. Corporations aren't your friends, they don't owe you anything.

 

Hell, most of the consumers are a bunch of whiney entitled little dips which makes it less enticing to get to know them. People in all walks of life are after whatever they can get for themselves, it's a primal thing and a part of nature that just won't go away.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

 @megakick 

Not for nothing, did anyone actually PROVE that their security was out of date? Or did everyone just repeat it on the internet, and then it became accepted as "truth"? And "it just was" is not an valid answer. 

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

 @Ovirew 

Because it's easier to blame the big, bad, faceless, inhuman, greedy corporation, than to blame their own.

megakick
megakick

 @Ovirew

Your so blind thinking like this keeps companies like SONY in business. hackers keep companies like SONY in check.

megakick
megakick

You get what you paid for,

free is not better.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

 @CaptainHerlock  @jayjay444 Xbox Live hasn't, not sure where you're coming from on that.

 

Though I assume you're going to list things like the Fifa 12/13 exploits and various individual stories of users getting hijacked. Of course *that* happens, but that is a collection of individuals getting hijacked one by one. The Live servers themselves have never been hacked, it's just individuals with lax security, people being phished, people falling for scams or otherwise being brute forced.

 

Sony, on the other hand, was hacked. Their actual data centre. It's the difference between a bank being robbed of a town's money (Sony) and a person being mugged on the street (MS).

Albelnox0
Albelnox0

 @thermalcold  @Ovirew Yeah lets blame sony for everything, lets let hackers run free with our information while we find someone else to scapegoat and who's easier to blame. So yeah lets blame the company they are right there.  No matter what type of security hackers will find a way to breach it, if they are willing to they will do it no matter how much security you have.

Ovirew
Ovirew

 @megakick And you actually think you're right saying that?  That hackers are the GOOD guys?  That kind of bs thinking is the reason why Sony got hacked.

 

Your 'heroes' are so determined to break through any defense, it doesn't matter if it's Sony's or the National Guard.  Yeah, if I had nothing to do all day but sit and try to hack into some corporation's system, I'd eventually succeed.  Water erodes massive boulders over time.  It doesn't matter how secure their servers were.

 

In fact, your 'heroes' work is only going to act to make the government think twice about letting us have the freedoms we have now.  Why, if we can spend our time hacking into corporations' websites and threaten the safety of the corporation AND its customers' information, perhaps we have too much free time.  And I don't blame the government for thinking that way.  Their own people are their worst enemy.

 

I don't care if Sony is a big, faceless company, or if their only objective is to make money.  There's nothing wrong with that.  People get jobs so they can make money and survive.  That is how the world works.  The people at Sony need money, and you give it to them when you buy their games.

 

And don't try to use the defense that it's Sony's fault because their servers weren't secure enough.  You're the same people that would complain the world has become too draconic and harsh if security was actually ramped up.  And whenever you'd get into trouble for stuff, you'd throw a fit and say you did nothing wrong.

Albelnox0
Albelnox0

 @MXVIII  @thermalcold  I'd like to answer this one please.  In our society it is much easier to blame the victim or those who suddenly appear weak, in order for that society feel better about themselves.  For example, when a woman gets sexually assaulted, there  are people (not all of course) who blame the woman for just being there at that spot when it happened, aka the usual, "Well she shouldn't of been at that place then maybe she wouldn't of gotten attacked herpa durp."   Hence its the womans fault.  Same thing can be said about the stupid "No snitching" crap.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @thermalcold So then why didnt we sue the FBI when their database was hacked, and Real Identity theft happened. You think its bad that your credit card info could have been stolen, The FBI has more than that, has background checks, social Security Numbers, your whole life is in those databases, and it got hacked. No this lawsuit was a cheap money grab by individuals who thought they were entitled to something. Just another bitchfest, when Sony already took care of the problem.

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @MXVIII I am not concerned about online play, whether Sony is a "victim", or that no one was victimized. The fact of the matter is that the breach happened and is very disturbing at the thought of mine and others info being used for unscrupulous purposes. Whether or not others were victimized, regardless of the ruling, the purpose of the lawsuit was to grab Sony's (and others) attention. Now please stop replying, as I am tired of repeating myself.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @thermalcold No I got it. You think you were a victim of identity theft. You werent. Nobody has lost money from this except for Sony. They were the victims. All you lost was 2 months of online service. Again you are just arguing what could have happened. And yes it could have been very bad. Lots of people could have had all of their identities stolen. Thankfully they didnt. and Sony fixed the problem. There is no justification for a lawsuit

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @MXVIII Thanks for the update, unfortunately, I already knew this. See previous reply.

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @MXVIII Not really, I have quite a bit of people who recognize me as an individual, as I recognize you as an "argumentative poster". You seemed to missed my point, I'll let it slide.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @thermalcold Also if you hold your info so sacred, you wouldnt shop online, and you wouldnt subscribe to anything free or otherwise. Your information will always be at risk. Its at risk on gamespot, on Yahoo, google, Amazon. Everywhere. Every time you enter your real name, email, etc you run the risk of theft, and malpractice.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @thermalcold The government refers to us as "Tax Payers" I mean, the only one who really thinks of you as an individual is yourself. Now to date no one has been victimized of identity theft. Theres been no cases of people losing money, property, or any other sufferings due to the attack on sony. So really we're just bitching about could have should haves. Sony also didnt treat the incident as no harm no foul either. They made corrections, they fired their security firm, and they compensated all affected individuals. Theres really not much else they could do.

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @MXVIII  The subject is the court case, not just Sony. Also, the security of my personal information, which I hold sacred.

I am well aware of what Sony has "done." Yes, I got 2 free games and a movie, as well (I do not remember all that was offered, someone have a link?) 

My view of corporations is that they view us as walking wallets and label us "consumers". Not to mention that game companies do not even make games, it is now "intellectual property", to even further distance themselves from reality and humanity. I see no victim in behemoth, soulless businesses.

Do I care about online play? No. But when a hacker steals my financial information to enrich themselves at my expense, I might be a little concerned (sarcasm). And when a court and corporation sees little concern for my financial well-being it disturbs me greatly.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @thermalcold  @Albelnox0  @Ovirew They never dismissed is as nothing happened, they overhauled their entire security system. People lost their jobs. You know how much money it costs to give 2 million affected people  2 free games and PSN plus access. It might seem small fry to you, but not to a companies bottom line. Not to mention the "Victim" here was the corporation. Yeah it sucks to not be able to play online for 2 months, but did OUR lives really suffer. Oh no I has to go outside, Ima fucking sue sony. Stupid.

thermalcold
thermalcold

 @Albelnox0  @Ovirew I understand that security is not perfect, being hacked so easily is not acceptable. And to dismiss it as if nothing happened is not either. It pretty much boils down to a slap in the face to the players because of legal language. Sad.

megakick
megakick

 @Ovirew  @megakick

Pretty well known that Sony had outdated unprotected severs, no firewall.... Sony likes to blame everybody and steal everything and wants' to keep the door unlocked? I don't feel bad for Sony, nope.

 

I guess you forgot Sony sued innocent people and was the cause of the RootKit FIASCO. Rootkit would be installed on to the computer unaware to users playing allowing hackers access to the victims computer.

 

Sony the victims? your kidding right? Sony is as wrong as the hackers.

 

megakick
megakick

 @Albelnox0

 Steam doesn't sue innocent peoople, point fingers and put the rootkit on their game discs. Steam is not EVIL like SONY. Sony made themself a target by their actions.