Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks you can’t have escaped the furrow that’s followed Sony Pictures computer system security being compromised on a massive scale. What started as a bit of tech news has exploded into mainstream news and is set to cause a media storm for weeks or months to come. Its this media storm of news and blogs that needs to stop.
The reason such strong words have bene placed in the opening description is because simple words liked hacked and compromised just doesn’t cut it for the scale of this invasion. Sony have been made an example of on an astronomical scale. Using vulnerabilities that, as researchers have detailed, would have worked on 90% of companies. Simply for making, and releasing a film on a subject matter, that some people doesn’t like.
The hack has been attributed to a group called the Guardians Of Peace (GOP), but it still remains to be seen the level of North Korean involvement. The theft is comprised of around 1TB of data from various Sony networks, computer systems and more importantly individuals. Whilst some corporations held off on reporting, many more news websites have reported the ‘hack’, the level of the data stolen.
However some have gone to a whole new level of depravity. When sites like The Verge and Gawker reduce themselves to using old demo computer systems to download and sift through- what is essentially stolen property, there is something seriously wrong with the world. Lets not forget that the types of data that has been exposed as a part of this “leak.” As The Verge put it, “random fits of laughter” and articles of questionable standards could be written from data that exists in almost every organisation.
This is no longer reporting on public information, this is the written version of pointing and laughing at someone’s stolen ID photo instead of handing it back. Would the same reporting take place if the data where recovered from stolen paperwork? The reporting going on has no value or worth to the world, so the argument that this data is equal to that supplied by Snowden et al is moot.
Lets not forget that with this data, many Sony employees have had their identity compromised on a huge scale and are now being open to irreparable theft for simply working for a company that chose to release a film that an organisation didn’t like. The expected call to arms and protecting the free speech along with the rights of Sony to produce any film they saw fit has been overshadowed by a much larger voice of almost childish jokes.
So let’s stick to the facts and report news and information shall we? Even mix this with a bit of opinion on which ever level you wish. Let’s not resort to the journalistic equivalent to peddling stolen goods; all for a cheap laugh and some page views.
Regardless of the level of responsibility Sony has, the fact remains that even with a box office record breaking return, The Interview will prove to be the most costly movie ever made. All for covering an area that a group of people don’t like. Is this the model of the future? Lets hope these news reporters don’t come in for similar treatment for reporting the wrong news.