WikiLeaks Condemned For Sony Pictures Email Publication

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‘Its just not cricket’. WikiLeaks slated for publishing hacked Sony Pictures documents

WikiLeaks has controversially published more than 30,000 documents obtained by hackers in a highly damaging cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year.

The move has drawn swift reaction from the Hollywood film studio, which “strongly condemned” the move by WikiLeaks.

Public Interest?

On Thursday, WikiLeaks published 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails belonging to Sony Pictures. But the move is controversial, as the documents were obtained by hackers, allegedly from North Korea, who hacked into the computers systems belonging to Sony Pictures Entertainment last November.

The hack led to the leak of unreleased films, as well as the publication of embarrassing internal documents and emails, including the salary details of top executives and personal information on Hollywood celebrities.

WikiLeaks defended its decision to publish the material, saying it believed the documents belonged in the public domain.

julian_assange_2010-front1“This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was quoted as saying in a statement. “It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict.”

But Sony Pictures was less than impressed by the WikiLeak move.

“The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on WikiLeaks,” it was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

Sony Pictures reportedly said it “will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company.”

Legal Action

Sony Pictures has previously threatened to sue Twitter if it didn’t suspend the accounts which contain links to its hacked emails.

It remains to be seen whether it now opts to pursue legal action against WikiLeaks.

The United States has publicly blamed the hack on Sony Pictures on North Korea, which happened just as it prepared to release “The Interview”, a comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The hackers later threatened attacks upon cinemas who released the film, and as a result most major cinema chains declined to screen the film, forcing Sony to pull the film, a decision that Hollywood stars and President Obama condemned. Following that, Sony released the film in a small number of independent cinemas and it was also distributed online by Sony, Microsoft, Google and Apple.

At the time, President Obama vowed that the United States would “respond proportionately” to the Sony hack, and indeed, the Internet in North Korea experienced a significant outage in December, apparently in retaliation for the attack.

Despite some doubts from security experts, the director of the FBI said he was very confident that North Korea was behind the hack as the hackers had been identified quickly because they “got sloppy”.

The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) also backed the FBI after its own analysis also identified North Korea as the chief culprit.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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