Sony Pictures Entertainment company has created a dangerous precedent. Yielding to the cyberspace hacker attack, guided by North Korea, the studio announced Wednesday December 17 that he would not release a film, The Interview, in theaters or in any other medium. This capitulation marks a black day for freedom of expression in a world that lives in the digital age.
Hackers won a victory unparalleled in the history of cyber warfare. They are pushing Sony, which had depreciate an investment of $80 million in this film by setting out for Christmas. The studio “made a mistake” by canceling the film, regretted Friday night Barack Obama, just after the FBI had pointed the hand to the Pyongyang regime as main suspect in piracy that Sony fell a victim of.
Marauding freely in Sony computers, pirates got hold of the official e-mails, sometimes consummate vulgarity, highly private emails, movie scripts and other documents expected to be more or less confidential. They made some of it available to the audience and promised to upload even more if they did not get what they wanted: the withdrawal of the film.
Been going to cash for the reputation of management and, even more, for parties who thought they could correspond with it via e-mail safely, the assault went further. The pirates – they call themselves “The Guardians of Peace”, – threatened to carry out attacks in the rooms which present the film. Employees of the studio were surprised when starting their computers this week, to find the following message: “The world will be full of fright if The Interview is distributed. Remember September 11…”
Hollywood had already surrendered. Even before the decision of Sony, the largest distribution networks had renounced welcome The Interview. The film chronicles the project of two journalists, eager to meet with Kim Jong-un, are recruited by the CIA to assassinate the leader of the North Korean regime.
If the US argument is true – Pyongyang denies involvement – it means that any state may demand from a newspaper, a publishing house, theater or film producer a removal of a section of an investigation of any work that displeases it. It means that all shots are allowed in this where personal information gets exchanged – Internet – which is the heart of the daily life of the time. It confirms, unfortunately, a form of war that is already well underway in the vast digital space, where nothing is protected.
Twenty-five years ago, the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was taking a religious “decree” permitting Muslims worldwide to kill the great British writer Salman Rushdie. What was the reason? One of his novels, The Satanic Verses, was insulting to Islam. The case of The Interview is the same type of threat. As suggested by our British colleague The Financial Times, Sony must reply by using in its turn the web: making the film The Interview accessible to anyone who wants to see it… putting it online.