Sony has run into more trouble relating to the major hack they suffered late last year. WikiLeaks recently created a searchable online archive of all the documents that were leaked in the hack. The archive contains over 170,000 emails as well as over 30,000 other documents from Sony Pictures and subsidiaries. Although the documents have been available online already, the sheer size of it all made it very difficult to find anything a person might be looking for. The search function will make locating items of interest, in the archive, much more manageable.
Sony is understandably upset about this matter. A statement issued by Sony stated, “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.” Sony goes on to state that its primary concerns are the safety, security and privacy of its employees, and that WikiLeaks is assisting the hackers in harming the employees.
A line of argument to counter Sony is that even if the hack itself was illegal, now that the documents are available there is justification for hosting them if it serves the pubic interest. A press release posted on WikiLeaks lays out a case that the public does have a right to see what is in these documents. It states that,
“The Sony Archives offer a rare insight into the inner workings of a large, secretive multinational corporation…The Sony Archives show that behind the scenes this is an influential corporation, with ties to the White House (there are almost 100 US government email addresses in the archive), with an ability to impact laws and policies, and with connections to the US military-industrial complex.”
The archive also shows a close connection between Sony and the US Democratic Party. An example used in the press release was an email chain which showed a plan within the company to set up a collective to get around limits on corporate campaign donations, so they could raise $50,000 in support of New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The press release also asserts that Sony has connections to the military-industrial complex, because of communications with the RAND corporation, a think tank originally set up to provide analysis to the United States Armed Forces.
WikiLeaks has a long record of leaking documents from whistle blowers which shed light on secret government activities. Those can be justified on the grounds that the government serves the people and they have a right to know what the government is up to, an argument that doesn’t really apply to corporations. The method by which the documents were obtained is also likely to make some people oppose this archive. However, its undeniably that some of the documents shine a spotlight on the connection between corporations and politicians, an issue which is of critical importance to the public.
Is WikiLeaks justified in hosting this archive of hacked Sony documents? Leave your comments below.