Sony granted access to GeoHot's PayPal records

A federal magistrate has authorized Sony to subpoena PayPal for information about California-based funds sent to accounts associated with PS3 jailbreaker George "GeoHot" Hotz, reports Wired's Threat Level blog. The US District Court ruling in San Francisco is the latest development in a jurisdiction dispute to decide whether Sony can proceed with its lawsuit against Hotz in California or must instead do so in Hotz's home state of New Jersey.

Sony alleges that Hotz received donations for his PS3 hack from Northern California residents (via PayPal), and, if true, the evidence could bolster Sony's case to keep the case in San Francisco court. In a court order, Magistrate Joseph Spero defined the "limited information" that PayPal could be ordered to present as "documents sufficient to identify the source of funds in California that went into any PayPal account associated with for the period of January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011."

Additionally, Judge Spero ordered Hotz to consent to Sony obtaining all of his tweets dating back to Jan. 1, 2009 and to appear in California for a deposition relating "solely" to the jurisdiction matter (with Sony paying for his "reasonable" expenses).

As for Hotz's "impounded devices," a neutral third party, known simply as "The Intelligence Group" (or "TIG"), has been tasked with conducting a "forensically sound" probe of Hotz's encrypted hard drives (and a calculator) for any data related to his PS3 system circumvention hack. Hotz and Sony will split the first $7,000 charged by TIG, with Sony agreeing to pay any additional fees.

[Pictured: George Hotz (screencap); source:]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.