The Sony hacking scandal is far from over, as on Friday, the hackers sent another email to the company, asking them to remove any traces of The Interview from their social media and elsewhere.
After thanking Sony for their ‘very wise’ decision to cancel the Christmas Day release of the movie, the hackers then demanded, ‘Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.’
‘And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately.’
The hackers then went ahead to warn that ‘we still have your private and sensitive data’, but they promised to ‘ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble.’
Sony has quietly given in to this latest demand, as the official pages of The Interview on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has been purged of every mention of the movie.
Also on Friday, President Obama reacted to the hack, calling Sony’s decision to surrender to the hackers a ‘mistake.’
‘I am sympathetic to the concerns that they face. Having said all that, yes I think they made a mistake,’ he said during the annual White House press conference. ‘We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can impose censorship here in the U.S. That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about.’
Obama said the U.S will respond ‘proportionally’ to the attack, and a list of options have already been drawn up and submitted to the White House, CNN reported.
Responding to Obama’s stance that Sony made a mistake, the company released a statement to the media where they defended their decision, saying, ‘We had no choice.’
The statement reads in full:
Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.
The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision. Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.
After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.
Obama’s comments came shortly after the FBI officially blamed North Korea for the cyber attack, saying that the hackers, who call themselves Guardians of Peace, infiltrated Sony using the same IP addresses and malware the North Korean government had used in previous attacks that they know of. The Bureau described the hack as an ‘act of terrorism’ aimed at ‘inflict[ing] significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress[ing] the right of American citizens to express themselves.’
Responding to FBI’s accusations, North Korea – who had previously denied being responsible for the attack – on Saturday again denied responsibility for the attack and proposed a joint investigation into the attack.
‘The U.S. should bear in mind that it will face serious consequences in case it rejects our proposal for joint investigation and presses for what it called countermeasures while finding fault with,’ a spokesman for the North Korean government said in a statement. ‘We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture, as the CIA does.’
The spokesman also accused the U.S of slander, claiming that there is no evidence to prove that they were behind the attack.