Sony, Cyber Security And Free Speech: Preserving The First Amendment In The Modern World
Conrad Wilton
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This paper explores the Sony hack in 2014 allegedly launched by the North Korean government in retaliation over Sony’s production of The Interview and considers the hack’s chilling impact on speech in technology. One of the most devastating cyber attacks in history, the hack exposed approximately thirty-eight million files of sensitive data, including over 170,000 employee emails, thousands of employee social security numbers and unreleased footage of upcoming movies. The hack caused Sony to censor the film and prompted members of the entertainment industry at large to tailor their communication and conform storylines to societal standards. Such censorship cuts the First Amendment at its core and exemplifies the danger cyber terror poses to freedom of speech by compromising Americans’ privacy in digital mediums. This paper critiques the current methods for combatting cyber terror, which consist of unwieldy federal criminal laws and controversial information sharing policies, while proposing more promising solutions that unleash the competitive power of the free market with limited government regulation. It also recommends legal, affordable and user-friendly tools anyone can use to secure their technology, recapture their privacy and exercise their freedom of speech online without fear of surreptitious surveillance or retaliatory exposure.