At last count the top five movie theater chains and seven of the top ten have announced that they are not going to offer the movie, The Interview-- the one that includes a story about killing the head of North Korea-- in their theaters, according to Mediaite.
I'm guessing THAT is why Sony pulled the film-- they didn't have a market for it anyway.
We now know, from a report from CNN, that North Korea was behind the original, so very damaging and embarrassing hack of Sony.
This is strictly my opinion, but I think it's a reasonable one. I think that NSA and it's affiliates have weakened the world's resistance to hacking, or, conversely, one could say that they have intentionally increased users vulnerability to hacking. Why? Because they want to be able to do their own hacking. So, rather than helping websites-- corporate, media, bloggers, etc-- become MORE secure, they have maintained a 'system" where vulnerabilities can be exploited. I've described my "leave the back door open" theory of conspiracy theories before. This would be another example of how the backdoor being left open causes damage.
The word is that the the Sony hack revealed emails between Sony and the State Department which which indicate that the State Department vetted and okayed the ending of the movie, in which the head of N. Korea is killed.
Now, we have right wingers saying that the N. Korean hack of Sony is an act of war. Alan Dershowitz told CNN that this was a Pearl Harbor attack on the first amendment. Newt Gingrich suggested that the US had lost its first Cyberwar. Of course, neither of these hack pundits are worth paying attention to, other than for comedic entertainment, but the MSM has enabled their message.
And I don't blame the big theater chains. They and viewers where threatened with a 911 type event or action if the film was shown. Who knows who would have jumped on that opportunity. I can imagine, that whatever response to that-- a lone nut, a real hacker, a terrorist or whatever, that there would be people claiming it was a false flag attack, and Homeland Security and the spy agencies and the coward corporatists in congress would use any reaction as an excuse to further restrict and abridge our constitutional rights.
Did N. Korea's hacking intimidate US companies? Clearly yes. Is that a problem? Absolutely. Foreign nations threatening people or corporations inside the US is bad news. But let's see-- why did these multibillion dollar companies capitulate to these threats? Because N. Korea WAS effective at hacking Sony and doing serious damage.
Is this Cyberterrorism? Maybe. if you look at the corporate response, the answer is clearly yes.
Is there an up side to this? Maybe. The congress, the White House, the Department of Justice and the Supreme court are more interested in protecting corporate interests than they are in protecting human rights.
The truth is that the N. Korean cyberattack has shown that the US cannot feel safe from attacks, as we have, because of our unique geographic circumstances, felt safe from physical attacks with weapons that explode or pierce the body. The N. Korean cyberattack has shown that US corporations are vulnerable to major cyber-damage and worse. The Interview movie cost an estimated $80 million to make and market, according to bloomberg.com. Canceling it has a high cost. Worse, Bloomberg.com estimates that it could cost Sony $200 million by the time they re-build their website.
if the US was serious about making companies safe from cyber-attacks it could make a serious investment and, if not solve the problem, make it far more challenging for hackers. The new budget that was improved included $479 to buy four F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that the Defense department didn't even want. Imagine if that kind of moneys as spent to make websites and the web more secure. Unfortunately, I'd guess that if this kind of security was developed, NSA and affiliates would keep their hands in. How would they do that? I'd guess that they would build security tools that would work for big corporations but not for bloggers, that would keep individuals' emails vulnerable.
To be clear, I am not saying that NSA joined forces with N. Korea. I'm saying that NSA and its partner agencies have intentionally built vulnerabilities or been supportive of inclusion of vulnerabilities or stood silent, knowingly allowing vulnerabilities into the USA's internet infrastructure for their own spy use exploitation.
There's another aspect to this. Some of the executives at Sony have been outed as nasty and racist. The lesson there is that such mean-spirited thinking and speaking has no place, period. if you think you are going to be able to make mean racist jokes by email or phone, think again. You could be hacked. If you think you can even make offensive remarks, like the "47%" remark that derailed Mitt Romney's campaign, think again. The answer is-- be kind, be a good person. Don't make cheap jokes based on hate. It just shows the ugly side of you. Get rid of that ugliness and be a kinder, better person. Start out doing it because it will protect you from embarrassment. Stay doing it because you will discover that acting as a better, kinder person makes you a better happier person.
I have not addressed the issue of "caving in to cyberterrorism." Should corporations stand up for the first amendment? Maybe. Should we expect corporations to stand up for the first amendment? Not really. They exist to make profits. It would be highly unrealistic unless there was a profit in it. And let's not forget that this movie was built upon an incredibly stupid, plot. The trailer led me to categorize this in the same kind of movie as Adam Sandler movies-- where he routinely places a likable moron who wins. It would be nice if among the lesson Sony learns is that it should not make idiotic movies that make a joke out of killing leaders of foreign nations. On the other hand, the first amendment protects stupid speech too.