First PSN outage, breach class-action lawsuit filed

Alabama man initiates legal action in U.S. District Court in California over Sony's "failure to maintain adequate computer data security of consumer personal data."

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As one might expect in the land of litigation, it was just a matter of time before Sony was sued over the ongoing PlayStation Network outage and personal-data breach. That time is now, since today an Alabama man sued Foster City, California-based Sony Computer Entertainment America in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California.

The PSN outage will soon be entering a legal phase.
The PSN outage will soon be entering a legal phase.

According to the complaint, which has been obtained by GameSpot, Kristopher Johns of Birmingham, Alabama, has filed suit against SCEA on behalf of himself and all others affected by the outage. It is his contention that the action results from Sony's "failure to maintain adequate computer data security of consumer personal data and financial data, including, but not limited to, credit card data and the reasonably foreseeable exploitation of such inadequate security at defendant Sony by computer 'hackers,' causing the compromise of the privacy of private information of approximately 77 million consumer credit card account holders."

The suit continues, saying that Johns "believes that this breach of security was caused by Sony's negligence in data security, including its failure to maintain a proper firewall and computer security system, failure to properly encrypt data, its unauthorized storage and retention of data, its violation of Payment Card Industry Data Standard(s), and rules and regulations it was bound to obey for the benefit of consumers concerning the storage of consumers' private identifying transaction and credit card information."

Further, the suit says that Johns "is informed and believes that [Sony] has been aware for a substantial period of time that PSN was prone to catastrophic loss of data from a security breach. Nevertheless, [Sony] failed to warn its customers of the problem or tried to prevent them from suffering system suspension from security breaches and data losses." Yesterday, Sony offered an explanation as to why it took so long to admit that PSN users' information had been compromised, saying it took several days to properly assess the degree of the breach.

Johns is seeking that the suit be certified as a class action, allowing him and his attorneys to represent all PSN users affected by the outage and breach. It also seeks actual damages suffered by the class, as well as compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages plus interest, attorney's fees, and court costs. He is also asking the court to issue an order requiring Sony to "refund to [Johns] and all members of the Class the funds paid to [Sony] for the defective PlayStations and PSN services [and] ordering Defendant to pay for credit card monitoring for Plaintiff and all members of the Class."

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