Julian Assange may have been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than two years now, but that hasn’t kept Wikileaks from remaining very much current and connected with daily espionage events — notably the Sony hack that left the studio scrambling from bad PR and bruised megastar egos.
On Thursday, Wikileaks released a whole trove of Sony hack documents and emails — more than 200,000 total — that are sure to contain even more embarrassing communications from inside the powerful Hollywood institution. In the Wikileaks’ press release, the collective introduces the release of the documents with the promise that they are more than mere tabloid fodder. The original leak, they say, was removed before it could undergo much press scrutiny.
“Whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface. Now published in a fully searchable format, The Sony Archives offer a rare insight into the inner workings of a large, secretive multinational corporation.”
As the original Sony hack is thought to have been North Korea’s retaliation for the anti-Kim Jong-un film The Interview, it should come as no surprise that much of the noteworthy information contained in Wikileaks’ newest offering is also political in nature. Not only is Sony a massively profitable company, it is a powerful force in elections and public policy, says Wikileaks. There are more than 100 direct White House communications in the re-release, something that Assange says illustrates that these are not simply throwaway revelations.
“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.”
While Hollywood’s reputation for being one of the heaviest donors to the Democratic Party is well-known, there is at least one set of emails in the hacks, says Wikileaks, that shows Sony employees attempting to organize a collective to circumvent campaign donation limits placed on corporations. These donations were in order to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo elected as the mayor of New York, something one of the authors of the emails notes is extremely beneficial to Sony.
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo, we have a great production incentive environment in NY and a strong piracy advocate that’s actually done more than talk about our problems.”
Some of the other salient features pointed out by Wikileaks from the Sony hack included close communication between the RAND corporation and the studio itself, as well as the reaction of Sony when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) IP Chapter was revealed. Soon after, Sony appears to have spoken with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Sony had a particular interest in this agreement due to its continued fight against online piracy and copyright terms.
[Images via Kevin Winter and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]