Americans have always taken great pride in the Bill of Rights, the inalienable rights each human deserves. Over time we have seen some of these “rights” get some slight tweaking, and today the debate of free speech is brought into question. Should those in film and the media censor their work to avoid public or international repercussions? In the United States, it is easy to make the choice of not paying to seeing a film or buying a newspaper because of personal disagreement—other forms of consequences can be far more damaging, i.e. the current Sony hack debacle.
Rumors are running rampant that the upcoming film “The Interview” played a large role in the recent Sony hacking incident.
Who would have thought that from “Freaks and Geeks” fame, James Franco and Seth Rogen would become international irritants? North Korea is not amused, and rumors as well as circumstantial evidence is abound that points back to The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The FBI is hesitant to point the finger, but after hearing remarks a North Korean military spokesman said in a recent statement it is difficult not raise suspicion.
"We do not know where in America the SONY Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack," said a North Korean military spokesman in a statement published on Dec. 7. "But what we clearly know is that the SONY Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK."
With the piazza de’resistance coming in one of his closing remarks, "The hacking into the SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK in response to its appeal,"
It is difficult for me to blame North Korea when the FBI feels there isn’t enough evidence to make the connection and when "The Guardians of Peace" (GOP) are the mysterious hacker group claiming responsibility and sending threatening messages to Sony employees—or when asked for comment by the BBC shortly after the incident North Korea’s response was “wait and see.”
Having that been said, it is known that North Korean hackers are treated with the same level of reverence as 1980s Russian Olympic athletes and it’s pretty clear they are not a fan of our policies. What is interesting about this hack in particular is the coding language used. The two languages used internationally in coding have traditionally been English and Russian, in this instance it was North Korean and displayed the same images as a hack done on South Korea not that long ago.
The register UK’s Darren Pauli commented, “A further point linking the Sony and South Korea attacks was in the styling of the defacements used, which used skulls and the same colors. The GOP bore a group name with a similar cheesy 90 hacker phonetic structure to the Saudi Aramco culprits known as the 'Cutting Sword of Justice'.”
Image via Mashable
How did the hack affect Sony? Well, we know about the remake of “Annie” and Brad Pitt’s “Fury” being leaked as well as how the new James Bond film Spectre is way over budget and but this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Because a “group” was offended it chose to undress the production company, and cost them in ways undetermined as of yet.
Has the American movie industry lost the freedom of making a spoof or hoax film? There would be no more “pushing the envelope” with material if the consequence was to have the company’s data or communications stolen, ransomed or deleted. Moral to the story, prepare for the possibility of censorship—only time will tell.
I am not saying hacking has become the modern day nuclear weapon or this hack was definitely under the purview of the North Korean government, but it is quite an interesting scenario. Americans do not see the horror that takes place in most of the world, instead we watch our biased broadcasts and point at issues we have with this policy or another.
In the meantime, Hollywood, consider this a warning. For years it was hunting down those that taped movies in the theaters and sold copies before it evolved to people sharing torrents on the Internet and now add international hacker groups in the mix, oh my! For Sony, damage control and better security protocols are in order and for the rest of Hollywood, beware that if you want to be controversial you may have to pay a pretty steep price as well.
Ironically, recently, North Korea created a new website to promote foreign tourists to visit the intriguing and controversial nation-state.