The hack of computers and emails at Sony Entertainment that began four weeks ago continues to disrupt operations at the entertainment giant. But even more revealing than the release of personal Sony information and emails, is the message this hacking incident sends to all of us. In this Internet age, we are forever reminded that absolutely nothing is guaranteed private, and that is a scary thing.
The damage to Sony from the hacks has been tremendous and gone beyond embarrassing details like the publishing of salaries that showed women executives making far less money for the same job, or showing how few minorities make up the power and how little they are paid compared to white execs. The damage goes beyond the fall-out from leaked “private” emails between Sony honchos who felt it was OK to tell racist jokes in their emails, including about President Obama. Although reputations can be ruined from these email leaks, Sony’s biggest problem will likely be to its bottom line. Former employees are now suing the company for tens of millions of dollars saying the company should have notified employees of the data breach and that social security numbers, salaries and medical records were compromised. Combined with the early movie releases by the hack and entertainment creatives choosing to work with other studios, these leaks will undoubtedly have huge financial consequences.
But the lesson for us all is the fact that we could be Sony. What this hack proves, much like the leak of the celebrity nude photos by different hackers, is that for all the great things we have gained from the Internet and email, we have to accept and admit that true privacy is non-existent in the cyber world. Nothing we do or say in that world is off-limits and safe from prying eyes.
Surely things will change as far as net security is concerned. But for every security fix there is someone that is looking for a way around it. I suppose it is just better that we treat our use of the Internet as if we are operating in the middle of town square, where everyone can see. Because the truth is, it looks like everyone can.
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