WikiLeaks announced yesterday that it has published thousands of documents and emails it claims came from the hack of Sony Pictures last year.
All in, the site has uploaded a total of 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails, along with 2200 Sony Pictures Entertainment email addresses, all presented in what WikiLeaks describes as “a fully searchable format”.
According to WikiLeaks, the trove of information offers a rare look into the inner workings of what it calls:
a large, secretive multinational corporation... with ties to the White House [and] an ability to impact laws and policies, and with connections to the US military-industrial complex.
Wrongly or rightly, WikiLeaks justified the publication of Sony Pictures’ information on the grounds that it is:
A member of the MPAA and a strong lobbyist on issues around internet policy, piracy, trade agreements and copyright issues.
Commenting on the archive, Ecuadorian embassy resident and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said:
This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.
The Wikileaks statement references North Korea, believed to be the perpetrator of the attack by some investigators, who suggest a retaliatory motive following Sony’s production of “The Interview”, a comedy about two reporters tasked with assassinating the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
Unsurprisingly, Sony Pictures is not quite so chuffed about the further publication of its corporate data. In a statement emailed to Re/code, a company spokesperson said:
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.
The attackers used the dissemination of stolen information to try to harm SPE and its employees, and now WikiLeaks regrettably is assisting them in that effort. We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks' assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security and privacy of our company and its more than 6000 employees.
According to the Guardian, former senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, wrote how the republication of this information signifies a further attack on the privacy of those involved:
This information was stolen from Sony Pictures as part of an illegal and unprecedented cyberattack. Wikileaks is not performing a public service by making this information easily searchable. Instead, with this despicable act, Wikileaks is further violating the privacy of every person involved.
The attack against Sony first came to light at the end of November 2014 when reports claimed the company’s internal network had been compromised by a hacking crew going by the name of Guardians of Peace.
Over the coming weeks it became evident that the damage caused by the attack ran deep as we learned how business data, employees’ personal data and movies had been swiped by those responsible.
Hacked Sony documents soon began appearing online and were available for download from a number of different sites but interested parties had to wade through vast volumes of data to find what they were looking for.
WikiLeaks’ new searchable archive will, sadly, make it far easier to discover the information they require.