This article originally appeared in the 12.24.14 issue of Metroland
This Sony hack thing is one profoundly smelly and continuously exploding
canister of weird.
And it will just keep
I mean, as I’m writing
this (Tuesday afternoon), Sony suddenly decides that The Interview
will open on Christmas, as in, in two days, after
most under-reported aspect of this was the questionable (and quick) claim by
the FBI that those wacky North Koreans did the hack to stop the release of The Interview
, a Seth Rogen / James
Franco comedy about assassinating Kim Jong-Un.
I first thought that those challenging the government’s claim were just
more tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists, then I read the December 18 blog post
from “white hat hacker” Marc Rogers, which you can find at marcrogers.org.
Check it out.
Holy Moly is right!
always give Obama the benefit of the doubt around here, but he hasn’t exactly
been aces when it comes to things like privacy, leaks, journalistic freedom,
governmental transparency, and the like.
This is exactly the sort of thing he screws up. Maybe there’s stuff we
haven’t been told that definitely implicates North Korea.
Of course, there’s always stuff we haven’t
But here we’ve got that
dottering old traitor John McCain yelling that what North Korea did was an “act
of war”, we’ve got somebody (us?) taking down North Korea’s internet
infrastructure, and why can’t anybody explain why the hackers didn’t even mention
until a week after the
hack first surfaced, after wave after wave of major media speculation that it
was North Korea?
there’s the incredible legal bloviating of Sony’s new damage-control
mouthpiece, David Boies, who used to be one of my favorite lawyers.
Boies sent out warning letters to major media
outlets warning that they might be held liable for publishing or reporting on
hacked Sony information.
He sent a
letter to Twitter demanding that it remove all screenshots of hacked Sony
The legal basis for these demands
is somewhere between laughable and none; Techdirt
has suggested that the Twitter letter may be a breach of professional ethics
that could land Boies in hot water.
letter was enough to reportedly convince the New York Times to bar its reporters
from downloading hacked files from wherever the hackers are posting them and
not to report on any hacked information that hasn’t already been reported on
So it’s now the media’s job to
keep secret information that’s really not secret anymore because a big
corporation completely failed to keep the information secure?
Some have suggested that there’s a Big
Journalism Ethics Question here: what should the media do with stolen or leaked
information, information that could be damaging, embarrassing, dangerous, etc.
There should be no such big question.
There’s freedom of speech and freedom of the
press, and unless the information is likely to cause bodily harm if it gets out
(yelling “fire” in a crowded theater and all that), those freedoms are, or
should be, pretty much absolutes.
crowded theaters, Sony’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview
was the crowning jewel of weird.
Sony claimed it did so because all the major
theater chains announced they wouldn’t show the movie, citing security
Once the hackers decided to
adopt the media’s speculation and make The
an issue (the hackers threatened reprisals of “9/11 proportions”
if the movie showed), the chains, remarkably started pulling out.
Like North Korea has the juice to bomb
got an opinion on this one.
the events have prompted lengthy discussions about the quality of Rogen /
I’ve heard a great many
otherwise intelligent people get caught up in this, apparently under the belief
that if it’s a crappy, stupid movie, then who cares if North Korea (or whoever)
can bully a major (and spineless) corporation to not show it.
The other bizarre strain is something like
“well, if someone made a movie about assassinating Obama wouldn’t we be upset?”
This makes my teeth hurt.
We’re talking Kim Jong
Friggin’ Un here, OK?
We’re also talking
about a Seth Rogen / James Franco movie, a broad, super-broad farce.
Please, people, get a grip.
Regency cancelled plans to make the fully-funded film Pyongyang
, a thriller staring Steve Carrell.
And Paramount pulled a couple of protest
showings of Team America
, the Trey
Parker / Matt Stone movie that made raucous fun of Kim Jong-il.
A movie that is TEN YEARS OLD.
Sony’s decided to allow Christmas screenings after all, supposedly with a
video-on-demand release coming soon after.
That’s good, I guess.
happens now? Well, apparently the hackers have a mountain of stuff they haven’t
This may drag on for a
long, long time.
Paul Rapp is a
festive-minded attorney in the snowy Berkshire Mountains who hopes you, you,
and yes, you all have like the greatest holiday season like ever.