Today, Wikileaks published a database of all of the data leaked from Sony Pictures in last year's hack, comprising 173,132 emails and 30,287 separate documents. The documents contain private legal opinions as well as sensitive conversations between executives, many of which were the subject of reports in the wake of the hack. "This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement. "It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."
"This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation."
The data in question had already been obtained by a number of journalists, but it was not widely available to the public and technical issues made it unwieldy for casual searches. The data was initially released through torrent files, but the release was intermittent and the torrents have long since dropped off the web. The emails also arrived as server-side Outlook files, requiring significant unpacking before they could be browsed. Wikileaks' new database does away with many of those problems, with easy search of both documents and emails.
It also raises many of the same ethical questions that publications grappled with surrounding the leaks. Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal was fired in the wake of the leaks, due in large part to a published argument with Scott Rudin over Aaron Sorkin's upcoming Steve Jobs film. At the same time, many of the emails brought important news stories to light, including the MPAA's ongoing campaign against Google, a campaign the group referred to as "Project Goliath." The emails relating to Goliath have never been published in their entirety, but they are now available to be viewed here. The data also revealed details of Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton's activities on the Snapchat board, including the company's brief interest in launching a music label.
At the same time, the motives behind the Sony Pictures hack have made many uncomfortable with the publication of the data. North Korea is widely believed to have been responsible for the attack, as retaliation for Sony Pictures' release of The Interview. President Obama called the attack an effort to "intimidate US businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech" and placed sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the attack.
Sony Pictures has already condemned the new archive in a statement obtained by the LA Times. "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," a spokesperson told the paper. "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 6,000 employees."