Nintendo's measures included surveillance of the target. It included going through his work history and may have extended to surveilling family members etc. This also isn't the first time Nintendo has been accused of something like this.
Before the approach was made they attempted to find any other material they could use as leverage. This is deeply unethical and wrong.
It would be one thing to do this in the natsec context, where such an approach is understandable, but it is another for a private company to surveil and intimidate someone who has legally purchased hardware. Video games are amazing entertainment and (sometimes) art, but their importance in the big picture is out of sync with the disproportionate nature of these measures.
It might be of interest to HN moderators to replace the twitter link with this,
"show me the incentives I will show you the outcome" or something like that.
Capability trickles down over time thanks to technological progress constantly making things cheaper and more accessible. No surprise that BigCo is constantly nipping at the heels of the kind of stuff that 20yr ago was so resource intensive it was reserved for state sponsored actors.
Both types of organizations have responsibility spread so thinly that they will behave as badly as they can justify in pursuit of their goals. Obviously Nintendo isn't gonna slip polonium in this guy's tea for hacking and France isn't gonna drone an ex-pat on a beach in Miami, the risk/reward doesn't favor that kind of behavior. But something like sending PIs to tail him is clearly fair game by Nintendo's analysis or they wouldn't have done it.
Given the nature of their work, I find it hard to see a situation where it doesn't become the corrupt degenerate swamp it is, unless it transforms to become radically open, transparent and accountable.
Given the vested interests benefiting from the current version, this seems unlikely to occur on its own. The cancer of secret corruption that has eaten that industry from the inside is the Achilles Heel of "Western liberal democracies".
I agree with you. However, Nintendo has/makes more money than many countries. I'm sure it's entirely justified in their eyes.
The better topic would be a discussion on how to change our various cultures to act in the greater good first and profits second. Even as I write that, I laugh at the impossibility of it.
But curious, thoughtful conversation on topics with political overlap is ok on HN , and always has been .
"Generally curious, do we just basically ignore what happened in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China when we discuss the “community motivations” of communism and how that plays out?"
- there's the political and economic philosophy, and then there are real world implementations, done with various degrees of honesty and varied goals
- some will claim Russia etc are state capitalism or some other format rather than "pure communism"
- some will point out that purest examples of practical communism, the Israeli Kibutz, were wildly successful
(none of this is to indicate I have remotest interest in living in communism - in fact we ran across countries and continents to not be in one... But the theory is still interesting and in some ways relevant)
In general, yes. Politics aren't really on the discussion list here.
"But our Western liberal democracies are so free!"
That's why it must all be kept so secret.
Snowflake at the tip of the iceberg. Dig deeper.
Could we consider why it is appropriate for a state actor to it? If we were to break down why we consider it okay for the state to do (does it depend upon their intention, on some citizen mandate, does it factor in potential abuse or past abuse) and build up a consistent framework, I'm not so certain the distinction between these two things would be so clear cut. I personally suspect the outcome would find that state actors doing this thing is in the same realm of bad as company actors.
It's not surprising that massive multinational corporations engage in unethical practices, but these free market activities are perfectly legal in their respective jurisdictions.
I'd agree that spying on families for modifying video game products is unethical. I'd also argue that slavery is unethical. It's really eye-opening once you realize the scope of slavery and other unethical practices when it comes to our major everyday corporations.
Uyghurs, Falun Gong adherents, and other political dissidents make up most of the slave population in China. Many of them work in growing and processing cotton, and the largest Western clothing companies rely on this cotton. Many people are wearing, eating, and using products of slave labor right now without even realizing it.
Neither did Hitler.
Also, things get better over time. A hundred years ago, many racist and sexist things were probably legal but aren’t anymore. That’s good. The laws have gotten better. That’s my point. Laws need to evolve with the times. If what Nintendo is doing should become illegal, I am fully on board. If not, then I don’t care.
You can’t have it both ways. Either disallow it, or accept that it’s happening. Nintendo’s brand is too strong. No criticism from the public will affect it.
I have blocked all social media (including Twitter) at the DNS level so I usually have to skip over any HN articles that come from Twitter.
I am unsure about how it works in your jurisdiction, but where I live, sending a C&D rarely involves a lawyer sitting outside your house to note your schedule as well as other comings and goings.
1) Someone at Nintendo learns about a "anonymous hacker conducting exploits against the 3DS"
2) Exec's panic because "anonymous hacker" and a history of piracy battles and consequently hire a private eye to find out about the person behind the exploiting
3) Private eye does their job and writes a detailed report in the style of a private eye
4) Nintendo uses information to establish communications with said hacker
Just Hanlon's razor at work
I have zero knowledge of (current) Nintendo hardware and architecture and what tinkerers and reverse engineers are capable of doing with them.
However, I find myself strongly compelled to stand up to this ridiculous behavior on the part of Nintendo and I have the time and resources to do so.
With that in mind, I am going to purchase, on ebay ... what ? A plain old retail Nintendo Switch ?
Then I will send that switch (or two, or three) to ... who ? Let's say I have a budget of USD $10,000 - who can I pay to do original, clean-room reverse engineering of this device ?
The goal here would be to publish everything that I can pay people to find.
Suggestions ? Who should I be in contact with ?
I learned to program writing GBA homebrew and absolutely love Nintendo games. The stuff they've done with the switch is so sad.
Bans are issued on some kind of unique per-device ID. So you're not completely safe using EmuNAND, unless you refrain from ever going online.
Common practice is to do homebrew activity on EmuNAND without going online there, and keeping a clean SysNAND for online activities. You can also wipe uniquely identifying keys on EmuNAND and essentially ban yourself there, then you won't be able to use any Nintendo services (incl. updates & online play) in EmuNAND but you can go online for homebrew stuff -relatively- safe.
So what you can't have is both homebrew and online services in the same NAND. Not to mention no matter how hard the community tries, each new update has the potential for Nintendo to introduce more "telemetry" to identify CFW devices before community gets wiser.
Either way, there are no certainties when it comes to ban evasion.
Replacing a memory chip would not do anything because those aren't used.
The artificial constraint is either that the code (firmware) is closed, or both closed and signed.
Otherwise, I like the criterion a lot. It's a decent distinction between what's "software" and "hardware".
Another blurry line is devices that come with a memory chip where their program code is loaded, but they later need to have a patch loaded by the OS each time (like Intel microcode). Yet another uncertainty depends on how we define root access. If we take it to mean "I have the last word", then Intel/AMD and some ARM CPUs don't qualify, as they have deep, manufacturer-signed-only modes.
Although I personally don't always consider this to be a hard reason not to use hardware, yes, I am indeed quite grumpy about the fact that most of my systems contain parts that I don't control. As to practical fallout, it varies by impact and options; since AFAIK I can't buy a modem that doesn't use binary blobs, I just factor it into my threat model with mitigations where reasonable (thankfully, not all phones expose all of main memory to the modem) and move on, but where there are reasonable options (yes, that's weasel-worded; I haven't yet switched to POWER because I don't want to pay 10x for my machines) I use them, for instance when I buy a phone I filter by whether it has an unlockable bootloader.
> The artificial constraint is either that the code (firmware) is closed, or both closed and signed.
Back in the days when I used phone modems (USR Courier and Sportster) I actually flashed a cool custom firmware developed by an enthusiast hacker and there seemed to be no measures deployed to stop me from doing so.
IIRC at least USR Courier had Intel 80186 which was a full-fledged x86 CPU making the modem a real computer indeed.
I don't expect access to something running a minimal SoC with code burned to its ROM. I do expect it for something with a general OS that runs arbitrary code.
This can get tricky with modern devices. For example, pretty much every router runs some version of linux. Most do not give you root unless you flash your own firmware.
- Cloud saves require paid NSO subscription. You also can't export saves locally. So it's a matter of time until something happens to your device and all your saves are lost. Or you can pay Mafia^H^H^H^H^H Nintendo for protection.
- They recently introduced a timed exclusive game. You either buy it before the deadline or you can't ever buy it after that. Pinnacle of FOMO if you ask me.
- Nintendo never fully accepted the well-known joy-con drift issue, and after many years it's still not addressed in newer units.
... list goes on and on, though I'm not sure how much those things affect their public image outside of the hacker circles. Since there's no strong demand from the public for Nintendo to do better, they likely will not.
They can deny my warranty and ban my account and device-ID on their cloud services for breaking their EULA, fine, but they have no right to come into my life and politely (the mafia "stop what you're doing or else" kind of politely) tell me what I can't do with the device I legally own, in my spare time.
If I want to root my smart device which I legally own to run Doom on it, that should be completely legal. If the mods that allow me to run Doom on it could also be used by others to run pirated content is another matter that should not be my problem, but the device manufacturer's to patch and implement better security on their hardware and software and only go after those who are proven to be involved in piracy, not after the tool makers.
If a burglar uses a B0sch powertool to break into my house, should I go after B0sch for making tools that allow criminals to engage in illegal activities?
This is why the "right to repair" is important to fight for -- by default, Americans don't have such protections.
Edit: America to USA. However, Americans (as in people from the US) should note that there are similar provisions throughout Americas (especially Mexico and Brazil).
The DMCA will still have effect for example, if the modder is in Germany and hosts their cracks on Github. A DMCA takedown can be sent to Github to take down the crack. The modder should be untouchable by American authorities (directly).
If the crack is hosted in a (for example) Swedish server, then the DMCA is no valid (only at the server owner discretion).
DMCA doesn't forbid you to crack the console, but to release the tools to circumvent a security measure. You can brag all what you want on internet about a crack you've made, but the moment you publish even a clue on how to crack something, a DMCA can be sent to either put down the info from a website or to make you to desist (only if either you and/or the server are located, or have business, in the United States).
Edit: modder is a 26 years old male living in Belgium (https://twitter.com/forestillusion/status/134123063191354163...)
Might apply, might not apply here. IANAL and I have not read the article :)
Then it's a government problem and Nintendo is playing vigilante, which isn't better.
Once they get caught they will nearly always lie through their teeth about their illegal business activities and claim they are innocent open-source hackers or whatever. It’s really deceptive and more offensive to me as someone who legitimately likes to tinker. For the most part I disagree with the DMCA anti-circumvention law but in nearly every case I’ve seen the people being targeted were doing much more than just selling mod chips.
> These defendants lined their pockets by stealing and selling the intellectual property of other video-game developers–even going so far as to make customers pay a licensing fee to play stolen games,
Interestingly, Nintendo's explicit message was not that the hacking was wrong, but that the sharing of the hacking was wrong, because sharing the hack encourages piracy on a larger scale. It's hard to argue with that logic, TBH. And I actually admire their soft touch approach.
My sense is that this is not that big of a deal, to Nintendo or anyone else. The platform, the physicality of "normal" distribution, plus the general inability of people to successfully mod their stuff, all favors Nintendo naturally.
Seems like a tempest in a teapot, and if anything, I don't think it harms Nintendo's reputation at all (modulo sensationalist headlines).
If you can't come up with an argument against that then you're not trying hard enough. The most obvious is that sharing a mod is free speech and ought to be protected as such.
It's also unclear how mods contribute to copyright infringement in any meaningful way. I'm having trouble finding details about exactly what Neimod's mods entailed, but most mods I have experience with require an existing copy of the game.
If freedom of speech gives individuals a license to say anything in any medium, then this means that artificial scarcity is inconsistent with free speech.
If artificial scarcity is immoral, then all information products are immoral.
(Note that as a practical matter I suspect that Nintendo only cares about "hacking" insofar as it undermines sales. I can't see why they would care about people modifying the games or equipment they own. I can totally see why they would care if someone invented an SD card cartridge for the 3DS that allows you to run every game ever written from it. Such a device, if mass produced and sold for profit, is clearly intended for piracy. Moreover, its easy to see how such a device is parasitic on the platform itself, so that if Nintendo didn't do something about it then there won't be a Nintendo.)
If the later is not allowed, this very comment might be illegal, as I'm telling you that such a thing is possible.
Nintendo has previously sued a company for selling a device which allows people to mod the device they owned. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Galoob_Toys,_Inc._v._N.... Nintendo is notoriously anti-consumer in this regard.
And anyways, restricting mods is unnecessary to encourage the economic viability of video games.
Interviewing family members, hiring someone to build a schedule of your coming and goings, and so on... Does not seem like a "soft touch" approach to me. To be frank, it's something I would expect of the Yakuza, not a game company.
iFixit is safe because it doesn't really affect Apple's sales. It may put a slightly downward pressure on Apple Store repair revenue. But iFixit solutions require technical aptitude, time and skill to apply that most people don't have, and wouldn't spend on fixing a laptop even if they had it!
But what if iFixit sold a dohicky that defeats the copy protection on all software written for macOS? Do you think that's okay, and that their right to share that device is free speech?
The issue I have is that they target people who figure out how to run and copy cracked game from their device, and not those who are actively distributing them. While it makes perfect sense from their side, the images from the tweet feed do not present a compelling argument that the modders are breaking the law and as such they are intimidating law-abiding citizen which is horrifying.
That's all that matters.
No, it isn't. But thank you for illustrating one consequence of "dogmatic belief".
Should Google come after me for rooting my Andorid phone and sideloading apps not on their app store?
Jailbreaking falls under a legal gray area, which is debatably covered by the "right to repair" section of the DMCA.
Breaking a console's DRM explicitly to play non-approved software is violating the DMCA and against the law.
As I said, not really comparable.
As asutekku have stated:
If you’re distributing the software to allow pirated usage the lawyers might disagree with you.
It seems that the US is the leader in IP cases, but that is simply due to the fact that most companies that can act are based there. The reality is that Europe have different IP statures which favors the authors more than others.
TLDR: US IP law deals economic losses, European IP law focuses on moral losses. This means that even with DMCA, Nintendo (and every other author, whether as an individual or company (in the non-corporate sense) or corporate) have rights in Europe that are stronger than in the US.
The idea that someone modifying hardware and software they legally purchased for the sake of their curiosity - something once called tinkering, would lead to private investigators dig up details, follow the person around, and try and interview their family members etc for pressure points is disturbing.
We typically do this for natsec, a private company doing it for a video game that's of little to no consequence in the grand scheme is fundamentally disturbing.
Rupert Murdoch's Pirates is a fantastic book on the subject: https://www.amazon.fr/Murdochs-Pirates-hacking-Ruperts-skull...
Basically pay-for-TV companies went ballistic in the 90s' and 00s' against hackers, and people died in the process.
> Stalking is unwanted and/or repeated surveillance by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are interrelated to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them.
> According to a 2002 report by the U.S. National Center for Victims of Crime, "virtually any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking", although in practice the legal standard is usually somewhat stricter.
Why do Americans agree to have their rights limited this way? Don't you guys value freedom to do what you want with the devices that you bought legally?
Nobel peace prize incoming