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WikiLeaks publishes 30,000 leaked Sony documents (wikileaks.org)
320 points by ryan_j_naughton on Apr 17, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 278 comments

Absolutely shameful that WikiLeaks would choose to publish stolen, private correspondence, and frankly I'm surprised and disappointed there are people in the HN community that don't seem have an issue with it.

Even if you supported the publishing of the NSA documents on the grounds that it was whistle-blowing, and thus aided in uncovering a greater crime, there's no such possible justification here. (Certainly not in publishing them in bulk.)

We have due process for the discovery of private communication, and that process protects all of us. In fact, our personal freedoms depends on our consistent application of those protections, regardless of whether they're being use to protect you, me, our best friend, or someone we don't even like.

If we decide that it's up to thieves to decide what we do or do not get to keep private in our own lives, then we'll have fallen so far as a society. Good luck when they come for you next.

(Personal request: since this is obviously a polarized topic, consider posting your rebuttal as a comment, so everyone including me can learn more about the nuances of the debate.)


So there are a few nuanced points that I think we disagree on. Together they add up to a lot.

First, you seem to object to this leak on the grounds that "due process" forbids it. I agree. I just don't think due process should apply. The press is not the judiciary, they don't have the same responsibilities and duties.

Second, and (I think this is something wikileaks consistently fails to clarify) Wikileaks is press. They are publishing information from a confidential source. The source may be a data thief, the data owner or a whistleblower (terrorist or freedom fighter?) but that's a judgement about whoever leaked the data, not wikileaks. There are some laws and a lot of ethical concerns regarding what the press should and shouldn't publish. There are also laws protecting and empowering the press.

You might berate them for insensitivity, irresponsibility but you can't accuse them of theft, IMO.

The ethical considerations of the press are about balancing things like privacy with newsworthiness and the public's right and need to know. There are definitely emails in here that do not meet that definition. Wikileaks' model is pretty scattergun, but realistically it's the only way to get that kind of volume. I'm not sure where I fall on balance but I would be more wholeheartedly pro-wikileaks if they did a better job of selecting only relevant documents for publication.

I think this is where we disagree the most.

Third, I don't buy the idea that corporations have all rights. A violation of a corporation's right to privacy is not as bad as a violation of an individual's. That'a a whole can of worms in itself, but perhaps we can leave this as a moral disagreement.

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I concur on a number of your points. In particular, I would be significantly more swayed by the argument that WikiLeaks is press (even responsible press) if the did indeed selectively publish only documents of clear and material public interest. I haven't looked at these documents myself (and won't) but it sounds like that's a small number indeed.

Incidentally, press doesn't default to being for the net good just because it's press (which is a broad classification, and an amoral one). It still has to act on behalf of good, and on a case by case basis.

As far as corporate rights go, it's not black and white, but we shouldn't lose sight that corporations are made of up people, and those people should have rights, and it's probably better not to just throw those rights away just because something was done in the context of work (since work is such a huge and generally unavoidable part of all of our lives).

Thanks again for thoughtfully debating. I appreciate that.

What about private citizens that had correspondence via email with Sony people and are now in that public database? They should have a right to privacy.

You act like WikiLeaks is some sort of guardian angel of the internet. I don't think they have to justify their actions as right or good because that's not the purpose of the site to begin with.

WikiLeaks publishes information. It's not a force for good or bad, but a resource that can be used to change the world. They didn't steal the information, but they collected it. They've done no wrong in presenting it this way. I understand why you're angry - people were deceived and their (believed private) conversations were made public. But blame the hackers, the internet, Sony's infosec team, or the executives that prompted this breach. WikiLeaks had nothing to do with it.

They are absolutely complicit in a gross violation of privacy. I've spent some time looking through the emails. There's information about people's health (I found an email where one person informs colleagues that he was recently diagnosed with cancer), personal correspondence, a record of purchases, privileged legal documents, etc.

By using their megaphone to give these documents publicity, by making them easily accessible and searchable, Wikileaks is absolutely complicit and has done wrong.

>>They are absolutely complicit in a gross violation of privacy. I've spent some time looking through the emails.

Did you just claim that Wikileaks committed a "gross violation of privacy" by publishing the emails, and then unironically admit, in the very next sentence, that you looked at them?

if he hadn't of looked at them then he wouldn't be able to know if his statement was true or just blatant speculation. Would you advocate a stance of ignorance based public policy creation too? "The NSA is totally not spying on US citizens or violating anyone's privacy." ... "Oh ok. no need to address that." You've got to verify your claims about other people's actions before you go around proclaiming how bad they are.

Yes. I'm not suggesting that it was right for me to look at them. I am arguing that it was not morally neutral, as the poster I responded to suggested, for Wikileaks to publish and advertise them.

It's possible that I could have obtained these emails when the Sony hack was in the news (I think there were some archives on bittorrent). But that takes a lot of time and effort and at least some skill, and I was never interested. By making these emails findable via a mouse click (not to mention indexed by google) Wikileaks ensured that large numbers of people would look at them.

The key point to me is: this information was already stolen and in the hands of god-knows what parties.

Certainly there's an argument to be made on the optimal outcome for the individuals concerned. Which is worse? Their stolen information being traded invisibly on a darknet, or publicly visible on Wikileaks?

However, as a separate argument, I'd hold very strongly to the idea that Wikileak's publication of information is good for society as a whole. (Aka the no-public-release vs full-disclosure security debate of the 90s)

As the Target and Home Depot breaches demonstrated, corporations don't give a damn about their customer's privacy - only the revenue that might be lost by losing goodwill.

And only by keeping these incidents in the news for long enough will it hurt severely enough to be taken seriously.

I chose not to look through the archive... thus to me, you are the one who violated Sony employees privacy.

If the front door is unlocked and you walk in, you still chose to walk in.

"If the front door is unlocked and you walk in, you still chose to walk in."

Under this analogy, WikiLeaks is putting up billboards detailing all homes with open doors, as well as providing a full searchable inventory of the contents of all homes.

"We're just providing the information" they say. "Just a middle man!"

EDIT: Instead of silent downvotes, can you respond with why you disagree? WikiLeaks took stolen private documents and made them easily accessible and searchable by people who otherwise would not have accessed them.

Please be respectful and engage in conversation, not downvotes.

I agree, but to take it one step closer to the truth, it is as if you had a pin entry at your front door and the updated pin is posted forever by WikiLeaks, for anyone to enter whenever they please.

Well, this is more like "the door is open, people are walking in and looking around... why don't I just take some photos and post them online, so that others won't need to queue to go through the door?".

No downvote from me however...

If you want email and privacy, you need to encrypt.

Email is as secure like a postcard; at least that is what we use tell the people that wanted to append long email disclaimers.

Well, "WikiLeaks is putting up billboards detailing all homes with open doors, as well as providing a full searchable inventory of the contents of all homes." - that's completely not an accurate analogy at all.

For WikiLeaks to be doing what your analogy is saying then they would of had to have figured out what systems were vulnerable on the whole of the internet, downloaded all of the contents from those servers, and then made them available.

Billboards are advertisements. Wikileaks is more akin to a giant warehouse full of junk that 95% is useless but you can sift through if you so choose.

There are some people who believe this was a hideous violation of privacy who are now going to have to look to see if any of their personal, friends, or family member's emails are among those that were leaked.

Verifying that no intruders are in the house because some num-nuts left the front door open is a pain in the butt.

It's interesting to juxtapose this over the article HN article below "Chris Dodds email reveals what mpaa really thinks of fair use"

Privacy-rights are quite upside-down in the US right now with personal privacy being almost non-existent and our Government almost totally lacking in transparency. Clearly a discussion about Fair-use should be happening transparently in public - not hidden in emails.


How about using whatever is in our powers (legally) to punish Sony for their complete apathy towards security? That's why these documents were leaked in the first place.

Security (and privacy as a result) is something hugely important to customers, whether they know it or not, but not so important to corporations except for how it might damage their bottom line from backlash.

If we don't show them how they can also suffer from bad security practices, then nothing will ever be done to fix it. I am 100% certain that Sony and many other large organizations are now spending a hell of a lot more money on their security teams.

So people should be punished because something you deem important was exploitable? What about the other 99999999 items that they view as important and that they're also already spending money on?

If I go to your house and break a window and steal a bunch of stuff, am I justified because you needed to learn a lesson about security? If I go up to you and beat you up, is that ok because you should know how to defend yourself better?

I don't understand this self righteous hacker mindset that if you're able to exploit someone somehow then they deserve it. How about respecting people's boundaries in the first place? Recognize that as a company a&r, finding new talent, marketing existing projects, managing key relationships, etc etc are probably seen as where they should actually put their money rather than security?

The point is that the long-term repercussions of this "punishment" from Wikileaks are beneficial for society, and it's not about vengeance. It's that corporations will be a lot more careful going forward.

They are doing the world a favor by showing that nothing is safe.

Reminds me of this:

"This hacker guessed a password for their Unix system. From there, he became super-user by planting an egg in the systems area, then sliding into my computer.

A couple days later the SOB called me. Said his name was Dave. From Australia.

"I broke in to show that your security isn't very good."

"But I don't want to secure my computer," I replied. "I trust other astronomers."

Dave had other reasons for breaking in, too. "You think that hackers are bad. This proves otherwise."

"Huh? You break into my computer to show that hackers are good?"

"Yeah," Dave replied. "We're helping you out by finding your security faults."

Clifford Stoll, The Cuckoo's Egg

Would you consider the NSA to be doing the world a favor as well then?

Likewise asteroids are doing the world a favor by reminding us that an impact event could end life as we know it.

Well, the majority of the ~300 million US citizens don't seem to be up in arms against this. Is the US populace mostly complicit in this too? Can't we take their inaction as a vote of consent?

In that sense you could say, in the same way that the US populace has allowed for the Fed to steal trillions from Americans over 100+ years, this same US populace sometimes picks "private" individuals and companies for targeting its complicitness. This time they picked Sony. Why do you seem to be more angry about this small choice the US populace made, when the bigger choice they made causes a lot more harm overall?

I don't get the downvotes.

If I complain about business regulations people tell me I'm in the wrong and I should move out of the country, because people here have decided they will be complicit in regulating companies.

Same with Sony, I say. The people have decided to be complicit in leaking company data. Sony was the target this time. If companies don't want to ever have their data leaked they can leave the country.

Don't the people decide the price companies must pay to do business here? We force them to comply with regulations, and now the populace, acting as informal lobbyists, are forcing companies to be OK with leaks once in a while as part of the cost of doing business here.

Actual lobbyists make much worse things happen than to cause some company to leak some data. But when the population lobbies, through tacit, implicit compliance, then everyone is suddenly holier-than-thou. I guess you need a lobbying license to avoid being judged by the HN crowd.

That argument could be made about a site like pastebin that just hosts user content. But they went to a lot of trouble to present journalistic integrity over the Snowden affair. You can't have it both ways. If they were not trying to be "good" there would not be any justification to publish the data at all.

Personally I feel like wikileaks is doing more good than bad. I'm glad people are getting upset over this.

>If we decide that it's up to thieves to decide what we do or do not get to keep private in our own lives, then we'll have fallen so far as a society. Good luck when they come for you next.

You're assuming that you can't keep your private life secure. The longer people try to hide and minimize the damage of data leaks the longer we'll have insecure systems.

Wikileaks and "thieves" are creating an incentive for the tech sector to become more secure so that things like this don't happen. By continuing to sweep these things under the rug we're just leaving our selves open for another attack. Wikileaks is forcing people to take this seriously.

No matter which side of the fence you're on, it inspires debate about legal process... and that can only be a good thing. While everyone's scrutinizing the legal process and poring over it with a fine toothed comb trying to find a "side" to be on, there's less opportunity for the legal process to be subverted/perverted and corruption to rule [not to say that doesn't still happen, but it's more likely not to be allowed to go unnoticed].

I don't always agree with Wikileaks stance, however I do believe that for the larger good, releasing information about the corrupt and unjust can only be a good thing. However, that shouldn't be done at the cost of all that is right and just... so it's a bit grey. I believe in the principle for which they stand, I just find it hard to agree with the process they follow. They're kind of like the Boondock Saints for information... except they don't appear to care so much about the innocent that get hurt by the fallout - making them more like the U.S. Government in their "war on [enter trending reason of the day for going to war]"

Arguably, an organization like Wikileaks presupposes that "due process" is already a form of tyranny, as those processes support the corrupt self-interest of the state, as enshrined into law. If we don't trust governments, corporations or individuals to decide for themselves what we deserve to know, and not know, why would we trust Wikileaks to do the same? Then, they only become part of the same apparatus of censorship they exist to undermine.

I think that you can have organizations like Wikileaks or you can have personal privacy and the protection of legal due process, but you cannot expect to have both. The former exists to render the latter obsolete.

Well "due process" without the supervision of the populous tends towards the law makers, which have proven at this point unreliable at best. When Government offices can blatantly disregard/subvert/willfully misinterpret the law and perjure themselves in court about that with impunity, it's clear that the existing system is broken. I wouldn't say it's beyond repair, but certainly the legal system needs to be held far more accountable than it is presently - and it's clear that Wikileaks is serving that purpose which is good. However, the manner in which they're doing that isn't beyond reproach.

Do you realize that your argument also justifies wholesale data interception and collection by the NSA? Isn't that "forcing us to take security more seriously?"

If the NSA were to go around shouting "look look you're insecure!! Get more secure!" Then yes I would support it. It doesn't do that though.

That's actually maybe the only good point about the whole NSA interception thing, they indeed force us to step up our game.

It isn't private though, but corporate. You're communication is generally not protected as an employee (expectation of privacy etc. depending on jurisdiction) and a lot of things people considers personal (gossip, health, locations) generally isn't protected either.

So if I send an email to a corporation, that email should be defacto public?

If a corporation sends an email back to me, that email should also be defacto public?

I have a lot of emails coming to and going to corporations with very private information in them.

They stay private because it's in your interest that they stay so. There is nothing illegal about making your own mails public if you wish so (except if you signed a NDA).

If there are no relevant laws restricting the release of said information (FIRPA? HIPPA?) it's merely social pressures and convention that leave most communication private, not the law.


Pedantic, but I expect you really mean "(FERPA? HIPAA?)" here.

(The first is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the second is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.)

Yeah, meant FERPA. Subliminal assault by phonics or something.

I don't feel the same. When the lines between corporations and government are as blurred as they are today, I don't think they deserve the same privacy as individuals inside their homes. Organizations aren't people.

EULAs, DRM, Super PACs - corporations are our rulers and we should not lay down and quietly submit.

I think you're forgetting that a corporation did not send these emails. People did. As others have pointed out, these emails include a great deal of very personal information that have nothing to do with Sony the corporation, or any other topic of public interest.

If Wikileaks had reviewed these emails and released only the ones that are of genuine interest to the public (or did not disclose sensitive personal information), as it did with the Manning leak, that would be one thing. But I can't agree that it's responsible to release the entire trove of emails simply because they were sent to and from corporate email accounts.

That's pretty much why Snowden went to Glenn Greenwald instead of WikiLeaks - he didn't want to just publish all the info he took, possibly doing a lot of damage and risking people's lives, and he also didn't feel he should decide for himself what to expose, so he left that in hands of journalists.

Yep I definitely think there is an argument to be made that our current press does not publish enough details (numerous incidents of big press delaying publishing of big stories at government request), but I feel like the Wikileaks "publish everything" model is on the other end of the spectrum and it's not the solution. There needs to be a middle ground and responsible review/disclosure.

Not to mention publicly publishing Seth Rogan's personal email address. Given the context of some emails I would guess he has a new one now.

>I think you're forgetting that a corporation did not send these emails. People did.

And whose servers were they on? Sony's.

When your correspond with someone, the only rights you can claim are on your end.

As a hypothetical, if you started a one-person side project, or freelanced or something, would you feel it equally appropriate for your work emails to be published, in bulk, unredacted, without your permission or consent, by people who hacked into your computers?

Would it be appropriate for all YC funded companies to have all of their emails published on WikiLeaks tomorrow?

If not, what's the difference, and where do you draw the line?

I'd willingly make that sacrifice if the emails of the corrupt in power were also published.

Who exactly at Sony has been "corrupt in power"?

The one that managed the FBI to give them a cover story with the whole "North Korea" stuff might be a good start.

If your YC funded company engaged in illegal activities, why not?

What exactly was Sony doing illegally that this leak apparently exposed?

    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, 
    I will find something in them which will hang him."
Sony Pictures is the American subsidiary of a multinational corporation - merely by virtue of their size and power, they have to be guilty of something.

The reason for the link is _right_ there in the intro, assuming you clicked the link.

Sony has been engaged in some questionable activity with questionable organizations making questionable deals. The reason is transparency so illegal activity can be exposed.

Last time I checked, employees definately were people.

So you would be cool with all your employers records being available to the world.

Or MR X has a medical condition - congrats your insurance premiums just went up 100% - and possibly your kids in the future if its genetic

Oh please. People should know better than to use work email for personal stuff. This is a major corporation's work email. Not 'private correspondence.'

The whole idea that business email (and email in general) isn't already essentially public is a farce - the business itself has at will access to any employee's mails, and it can all be subpoena'd without warrant.

At best we should feel sorry for the employees not understanding this and treating their employer as a benevolent and trustworthy party.

and if you have to email hr about "personal " issues

Most people do not know this. I think everyone on HN knows this because we run these systems and know how easily they can be tampered and monitored.

Except that the stolen & private correspondence exposes political corruption and influence peddling.

Certainly some email does (expose political corruption and influence peddling), for sure. And if we published all email of every person everywhere, then we'd uncover a whole lot more.

Do you think we should do that? Where is the line?

There is no line, any line would be simply arbitrary.

If you get your email stolen and the people who got access to it found out you were doing some illegal activities, then it would be irresponsible not to publish your email to expose those illegal activities, especially if you are a Fortune 500 company.

The line has been made so that those with the power to throw us in cages already have that info. I would say that publishing the info of the far more powerful so that the far less powerful can see it is a far lesser issue. You are asking if we should draw the line at 10 meters or 11, while it has already been drawn at 20 km.

If you have nothing to hide you shouldn't be worried, right?

Until the government protects the privacy of digital correspondence this should continue until we know all of the dirty little secrets our governments and corporations are hiding.

And as other commenters have said, none of the individuals caught up in this should have had an expectation of privacy anyway. The IT dept of Sony could have already accessed this info, and it's theirs anyway.

Like if your money gets stolen out of the bank.

Between public interest and privacy, public interest wins, especially when it is shown that powerful entities are mingling behind closed doors into matters of public interest.

Is it in the public interest to release ALL of the emails though? If they published just those which show "powerful entities mingling behind closed doors" fair enough. That would be a legitimate expose.

If they didn't release everything there'd be no basis to trust them. We wouldn't be able to determine what was being withheld and how it was being sculpted.

So on what basis do we trust Snowden leaks? The Guradian releases whatever parts they want to, whenever it pleases them.

Trusting the Guardian is different than trusting Snowden. He understood that if he tried to cherry pick too much it would undermine his cause by making it about a program instead of about the bigger picture. I don't think the Guardian equates to Wikileaks, in any case.

I don't believe the Guardian equates to WikiLeaks either, but the difference between the two seems to be somewhere else than just releasing everything vs. selective publishing.

In a sense, Wikileaks is worse than the NSA. At least when the NSA gets ahold of your private information, they don't publish it in an easily searchable database on the Internet.

The cognitive dissonance in this thread is astounding.

Its almost like you've never heard of Wikileaks before. This is the kind of thing they have been doing from the start. Why would you expect it to be any different this time?

Wikileaks is also doing the world a huge boon by making analyzing and curating the content and making it searchable in response to their role in partnering with the US government to product foreign propaganda targeting the overthrow of a foreign regime. That is, it's hard to say that NK's hacking or WikiLeaks pubishing is 'oh so evil' while ignoring actions that SONY has taken and the contexts that they create.

Speaking solely to the process of discovery of private communication: What happens when you lose trust in that process or feel that process has been subverted?

Of course, it's absolutely shameful; Wikileaks is absolutely shameless.

Note that there is also a due process for whistleblowing; there are Inspectors General whose entire professional careers are based on handling allegations of misconduct. The leakers in previous cases chose not to follow that process.

> Note that there is also a due process for whistleblowing

The so called "due process" is a joke. Whistleblowers are often ignored, harassed, lose their job, or even jailed in some cases.

If you look at historical whistleblowing (e.g. 1980s, 1970s, etc) and even today, nothing has improved. A whistleblower's life will still be "ruined" by whistleblowing.

Remind me again, is Snowden back in American living free and clear? Or is he still effectively excommunicated into Russia of all places with the threat of a jacked-up criminal prosecution looming over his head?

> The leakers in previous cases chose not to follow that process.

If they had have followed "that process" they would have been fired, and the general public wouldn't have heard a peep about any of this.

Give us an example of a whistleblower who did follow the process and that it worked out just fine.

> The so called "due process" is a joke. Whistleblowers are often ignored, harassed, lose their job, or even jailed in some cases.

The US Department of Labor says otherwise: http://www.whistleblowers.gov/whistleblower/wb_data_FY05-14....

> Remind me again, is Snowden back in American living free and clear?

Snowden isn't a whistle blower. He didn't report any wrongdoing to his superiors, personally stated that he took the Booz Allen job in order to get access to more information to leak, stole more documents than he possibly could have read and left the country with intent to release them and evade law enforcement. Whistle blowing is seeing something wrong and reporting it, not pulling as much information as you can get and handing it off to reporters. Regardless of whether or not you think there was benefit to the NSA leaks, what Snowden did is not whistle blowing.

> Give us an example of a whistleblower who did follow the process and that it worked out just fine.


After blowing the whistle on Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Joe Darby was personally thanked by Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of his unit (the ones that weren't arrested). Ironically, he claimed that it wasn't until his name was released to the public that he started to receive any harassment; and it wasn't from his employer, but regular civilians that were angry about the news. I think that says something about blasting people's personal information out to the world like Wikileaks just did.

> Snowden isn't a whistle blower. He didn't report any wrongdoing to his superiors

Yes he did[0].

> Whistle blowing is seeing something wrong and reporting it

So, like Snowden did?

> not pulling as much information as you can get and handing it off to reporters

After following the internal process failed multiple times.

> Regardless of whether or not you think there was benefit to the NSA leaks, what Snowden did is not whistle blowing.

According to your own definition it is. Also he received the biennial German "whistleblower prize." The New York times described him as a Whistleblower and talks about why contractors aren't granted the same legal protection[1]. He also appears on Wikipedia's "List of Whistleblowers[2]."

> Joe Darby

He wasn't blowing the whistle on the US Government. He was blowing the whistle on other soldiers. Not comparable to someone going against a large and powerful organisation.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden#NSA_contractor [1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/opinion/edward-snowden-whi... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers

> Yes he did[0].

These are Snowden's actual words on the subject[1]:

"What did you report?" Williams asked. "What was the response?"

"So," Snowden said, "I reported that there were -- real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities. And I went even further in this -- to say that they could be unconstitutional -- that they were sort of abrogating our model of government in a way that empowered presidents to override our statutory laws. And this was made very clear. And the response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, 'You should stop asking questions.' And these are — these are recent records. I would say one of my final official acts in government was continuing one of these — one of these communications with a legal office. And in fact I'm so sure that these communications exist that I've called on Congress to write a letter to the NSA to — to verify that they do. Write to the office of general counsel and say, "Did Mr. Snowden — ever communicate any concerns about the NSA's interpretation of its legal authorities?"


When you go to the legal bosses, typically what they’ll do is they’ll not respond or they’ll give a general response, or they will say basically ‘call me… don’t go through this in writing but call me, let’s do this verbally.’

Now go and read the actual e-mail he sent: [3] It's clear he's referring to the same one in those two interviews. It was one of last acts - right before he took off to Hong Kong and five months after he first contacted Glenn Greenwald. It does talk about interpretations of legal statutes. The response was general and did tell Snowden to call if he wanted to discuss it further. The only thing missing is any actual report of wrongdoing. If Snowden really did sent dozens of e-mails to report wrongdoing, why hasn't he produced one yet?

> So, like Snowden did?

Depending on whose numbers you go by, Snowden took between 50 thousand and 1.7 million documents. He said in an interview that he "carefully evaluated every single document [he] disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest"[4]. According to the NSA, he began taking the documents from NSA servers in the summer of 2012. Assuming he started on June 1st, stopped on May 19th (he arrived in Hong Kong on May 20th) and is getting 8 hours of sleep a night, that means if he was working non-stop over the course of those 352 days he would have to have fully evaluated each document within the span of 10 minutes (if he only took 50k) or one document every 17 seconds (if he took 1.7m). This is something that dozens of reporters (some dedicated exclusively to the Snowden documents) haven't been able to fully evaluate over the course of two years, but Snowden did all this while simultaneously working his 9-5 job, eating, commuting to work, living in general, etc. Of course, we don't even really need to go over how ridiculous his claim is anymore since he finally admitted in his interview with John Oliver that he didn't actually read all of them.[5] So how exactly can you blow the whistle on something you haven't even read?

> After following the internal process failed multiple times.

As far as I can tell, he never even tried the internal process. He claims that he sent dozens of e-mails, but has yet to produce a single one to back up his claims.

> Not comparable

You're right - Joe Darby, while already in a war zone, reported the illegal treatment of prisoners at the hands of people working for the US Government. He was already in dangerous place, and he faced physical retaliation from other soldiers and disciplinary action from his superiors. His family was put in physical danger when angry citizens learned his identity. Snowden risked losing his job at worst. Darby risked significantly more. Instead of following Darby's example, Snowden decided to flee to another country, almost immediately hand over details of NSA offensive operations against China in order "ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China"[6], and is now apparently living a quaint little dacha with his girlfriend under the protection of the Russian government.

[1] http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/edward-snowden-interview/edwa...

[2] https://www.edwardsnowden.com/2014/06/25/edward-snowden-spea...

[3] http://icontherecord.tumblr.com/post/87218708448/edward-j-sn...

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-...

[5] http://www.businessinsider.sg/snowden-and-john-oliver-2015-4...

[6] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/25/greenwald-s...

> He claims that he sent dozens of e-mails, but has yet to produce a single one [...]

He hasn't tried to placate people like you for the same reason Obama didn't both answer the birth-cerificate Truthers even if it would have been easy - you're trolling. Don't feed the trolls.

You couldn't write so many words and quote so many articles without reading about previous NSA whistleblowers and knowing how they were treated. And to know that it's not the whistleblowers duty to change the system from inside - when they're rebuffed by a broken and hostile system they're advised (by past whistleblowers, lawmakers, etc) to stop trying.

> Depending on whose numbers you go by, Snowden took [...] finally admitted in his interview with John Oliver that he didn't actually read all of them.

You're mad someone gathered the NSA's data in bulk?

Because he's never claimed he "read every word of" every document, he said he carefully evaluated - which in my mind is looking at the grep context and skipping the file if it's a false positive. I've scanned literally hundreds of thousands of torrent links, carefully selecting individual ones to download...

You know, I'd have been happy to have the leaks even if Snowden had to bulk post everything on 4chan to get it out. That he seems to have done an actual good job is a bonus since he's the one doing us the favor.

>Note that there is also a due process for whistleblowing; there are Inspectors General whose entire professional careers are based on handling allegations of misconduct.

Yeah, because it would have worked great for them, and the public would have learned the facts if they used those procedures...

I honestly wouldn't be surprised when if Snowden had chosen to go to IG he'd wind up dead in some dumpster next week, and the only difference he would make to the US is a few thousand dollars in a black ops budget.

So. Enron. What should have happened there?

It was already published, then taken down. The Sony attackers already had the opportunity to exploit it for any nefarious purposes they intended.

The damage is done. All Wikileaks is doing is making it available, with the intent that journalists will peruse it.

I don't agree with releasing these emails, I certainly wouldn't want my private correspondence published or intercepted. But in this case blaming Wikileaks is erroneous.

What's the actual legal status on this?

It definitely seems to circumvent the law - but is it clearly criminal? Have such abuses been prosecuted successfully in the past?

See “conduit contribution”: "Here’s how a “conduit contribution” works. Person A wants to give a lot of money to Candidate X. But federal law puts a ceiling on how much one person can contribute to a candidate. To get around the law, Person A goes to Friend B or Employee C or Associate D and says, “Hey, if you give me the money for Candidate X, I’ll pass along your check and then reimburse you out of my own pocket or from corporate funds.” The friend, employee, or associate effectively becomes a “conduit” for the real contributor, thus the name."

"The law is clear: Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, making campaign contributions in the name of another person or otherwise concealing the true source of the funds is a felony if the contribution exceeds $2,000. In fact, both the person soliciting the contribution and the person who agrees to be reimbursed for it could be investigated. Even if neither is aware of the law."

source: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2007/december/electfraud_121...

Nowhere in these emails does it say that Sony is reimbursing the execs for their contributions. If anything, the reluctance of having to ask execs to contribute indicates that they are not doing that.

My post was answering a question. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9393256

>>"What's the actual legal status on this? It definitely seems to circumvent the law - but is it clearly criminal?"

The email indicates that they were planning to structure their donations "by making this a focus of our individual giving from execs" ie: 'fundraising'.

>>"$50k is a heavy lift since most of it needs to come from individual contributions (only $5k can come from corp.), but I recommend we do it. Cuomo has been a strong protector of the film incentive – even amidst recent criticisms of the program. Also, given the shows we’ve got there and your relationships I think it would look a bit odd if you weren’t on the host committee."

>>"I think we can get to the 50k commitment by making this a focus of our individual giving from execs this year (versus the federal PAC)."

If you want to argue about what "fundraising" means in this context, be my guest; but, I've probably heard it before, and I'll probably think you're either naive or deliberately obtuse. Are you expecting a single email that perfectly implicates the entire board of a multinational corp. in a crime? Do you expect a contract for illegal services to be included as an attachment or something?

It's quite obvious what they're doing, but being blind to nuance and expecting powerful people to be acting in good faith in the face of contradictory evidence go hand in hand.

I don't see how it's fundamentally any different from a pro-life group wanting to donate to a pro-life candidate and then celebrating the passage of a pro-life law. Of course you want to support candidates who look after your interests. As long as there is no quid pro quo (e.g. the $50k was a fee for passing the initiative and it wouldn't have happened otherwise). IANAL.

There are limitations on donations. They wanted to donate $50k. By law, they can't do that. So they manipulated how they donated that sum to circumvent that law.

Nonsense. They didn't "manipulate" anything. The company made a legal donation and they asked employees to make additional donations up to a certain target amount from the employee's own funds.

It's perfectly legal to email your coworkers about a political campaign and to ask them to donate. Does this kind of suck? Maybe. Is campaign finance a mess? Definitely. But would you really want a federal law that restricts what you can say about political campaigns while at work? I'm not even sure the Constitution would permit such a restriction on speech.

To quote the email:

because we need your help.

we have a great production incentive environment in NY

Because of all of this, I think it’s important to significantly support his reelection efforts and NY law only allows corporations to give him $5,000

we are trying to raise $50k overall.

Like I said, I'm not sure where this falls on the legal-side of things, but this clearly goes further than merely:

> It's perfectly legal to email your coworkers about a political campaign and to ask them to donate.

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. I would guess Sony executives and the Sony Corporation have closely aligned financial incentives. It's perfectly reasonable for them to want to spend personal funds on the campaigns that Sony Corp thinks are important. We can't restrict corporate employees from spending their own money any more than we restrict the general public. Nor can (or should) we restrict what you're allowed to say to coworkers about a political campaign.

But it's not quite the same as sony still giving it up. Their execs had to pay out of their own pocket.

I'm actually glad to see that they cared about the law at all, and there was some level of effectiveness to it!

Please describe how this is a bribe.

You're right. It's not even a quid pro quo if a contract stating the scope and purpose of the "donations" isn't attached. /s People here are just jumping on the bandwagon and assuming some very unkind things about the politicians and the executives alike; and that's just not fair.

The argument for classifying this as bribery (or some other form of inappropriate transfer of money to an elected official) is the same as the argument for the existence of the law that they are circumventing.

IE, there is a 5k limit for corporate donations. No problem, lets have $50k of private donations directed by a corporation. He laid it out pretty plainly. We need to get this guy 5k, but that's illegal so lets do it this sneaky way.

It may be illegal (probably not, but maybe). If it isn't illegal it should be. It's a practice that renders the practice ineffective.

Imagine you are a in corporate sales. IBM buyers are allowed to accept up to $500 worth goodies from any one salesman, but no more. So, you get all your buddies to chip in. If their manager found out, they would assume that this buyers is compromised, unethical and should be fired and investigated for possible prosecution. The policy needs to be updated, but there is an obvious workaround at play here.

Honestly, I don't even see how this is controversial. How can people see massive political donations (which are crucial to getting elected) in such circumstances as anything but a circumvention of democracy. This is not just, I really am shocked.

How is it not? This seems to be the normal state of affairs in US elections, but that doesn't change a thing.

Are you suggesting they didn't expect anything in return for their money?

Isn't getting something in return (tangible or not) for supporting an aligned cause the entire point of supporting it in the first place?

They discussed using Civil Forfeiture and the Economic Espionage Act to steal the Slysoft.com domain from Slysoft: https://wikileaks.org/sony/docs/05/docs/AACS/Litigation/Outl...

This is where I expect an attorney to step ITT and chortle about how companies and individuals have no power or influence over the government's laying of criminal charges.

I thought the initial concept of wikileaks was to publish documents that would reveal scandals. Instead it is becoming a pirate bay for stolen documents. I am sure the leaks of the Sony documents will reveal the nasty side of Hollywood (which are well known, Hollywood made hundreds of movies on that topic!), but how is that a matter of public interest? What scandal will come out of this? Even the diplomatic cables didn't really reveal any major wrong doing. Most documents were, at most, of interest to diplomats and historians. But no major scandal came out of these leaks.

Too often wikileaks is compared to the Snowden leaks, which triggered a rightful outrage.

> I thought the initial concept of wikileaks was to publish documents that would reveal scandals"

Well. From an early version of wikileaks website:

"Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations."


> Most documents were, at most, of interest to diplomats and historians. But no major scandal came out of these leaks.

What people don't seem to get is that the cables wasn't about the US. But about what every other government where doing with or saying to the US behind their own peoples back. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_United_States_d...

Data has qualities of the inverse of decay and what you see initially when looking at it on your own is only its half-life. This release shows very clearly to anyone but the absolute naysayer that the sony data has political and legal ramifications that deserve public attention. Now the public will have the chance to uncovering other kernels of interest and truth, which wikileaks could not possibly accomplish by sitting on the data. In light of blaring illegal activities I do not see how you could question this. Further, I don't see how one could find bringing the collusion between multinational corporations and governments to the light of day as not being worthwhile. Even if it may not always reveal illegal activity it enlightens the public. This is why regardless of what you see on the surface of a data trove erring in the direction of release is likely wise.

I don't see any illegal activity yet. Political donations is something perfectly legal and transparent.

What of the claims that Sony orginised methods to get around the $2000 limit of donations? I'm curious if this would be illegal, and if not I feel it should be. And even if there are reasons for it to be legal, I'm grateful I at least can learn about it when it happens.

From the email I read, that relied on executives making a donation of their own money. I don't see how this different from any other appeal. And in any way political donations are publicly available, you don't need leaked emails to identify them.

Making six $3k deposits in a row isn't a crime. Doing so to avoid the reporting limits, is.

It might turn out that because of some quirk of law that intentionally getting around donation restrictions isn't illegal (which is presumably should be, just like the banking regulations...) but even if so it's still pretty clearly an end-run around the intent of the law and that's a pretty scummy thing to do.

Especially because I think it's pretty easy to see the easily coercive nature of this. After all, donations are publicly visible... I wouldn't expect to be fired for not, but I would expect not to be promoted unless I did.

>I am sure the leaks of the Sony documents will reveal the nasty side of Hollywood (which are well known, Hollywood made hundreds of movies on that topic!), but how is that a matter of public interest?

So that Taylor Swift has a new boyfriend is somehow "a matter of public interest" judging from the tons of classic and new media that report such BS, but the "nasty side" of a huge industry that caters to billions of people is not?

Are you seriously asking how revealing corruption in politics is in the public interest?


You needed leaked emails to tell you that companies donate to political candidates they like? https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00282038

If you read a follow up email here: https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/49813

You will be aware of the damning evidence. They intended to donate $50k. They are subject to a $5k donation limitation. They are deliberately skirting the law.

Are you saying it's illegal to email coworkers and ask them to donate to a campaign? Or that it should be?

The email implies a specific intent of soliciting individual donations toward a cause (in this case, a politician) which is directly beneficial to the interests of the organization as a whole.

It would be one thing if the emails amounted to "hey, you should donate to this guy because he's a cool dude". That's not the case here, though; it's instead a case of "hey, you should donate to this guy because the company you work for wants to donate $50k but can't because of legal restrictions, and this guy's been really good to us", which - legal or not - is (in my opinion at least) morally deplorable and certainly skirting around the intent of the existing law.

Sorry, I'm not really seeing why asking people to donate for one reason is ok but another is morally deplorable.

> The email implies a specific intent of soliciting individual donations toward a cause (in this case, a politician) which is directly beneficial to the interests of the organization as a whole.

Sure, agreed. Makes sense to me. Why is this "deplorable"?

I founded a startup. Is it wrong to email my employees and ask them to support tax breaks for startups? Or to contribute directly to the politicians who implement those tax breaks?

> I founded a startup. Is it wrong to email my employees and ask them to support tax breaks for startups?

It's not wrong, per se, but since you're the founder it does skirts rather close to this statue in the California Labor Code, so be very careful how you word that email. (Many other states have similar laws if you are not in California.)

California Labor Code § 1102: No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

In the Sony case, it seems to be an employee inviting the executives to make a donation.

> Why is this "deplorable"?

Because the intent is to circumvent a limitation imposed by the organization as a whole (Sony) by soliciting from its execs with that listed as the reason to donate bypasses the limits imposed upon organizations to prevent them from subverting the democratic process.

It's one thing to convince the execs to donate out of the goodness of their hearts. It's another to ask them to donate for the sole reason of such donations benefiting the company they work for.

> Is it wrong to email my employees and ask them to support tax breaks for startups? Or to contribute directly to the politicians who implement those tax breaks?

Yes. Your intentions are certainly better, I'm sure, but it's still subverting limitations on the political influence of corporations - limitations that were imposed in order to prevent American democracy from just devolving into "who has the most money and/or shouts the loudest?".

Granted, that's already a major problem anyway, but just because factories dump billions of gallons of industrial waste into rivers doesn't make someone any less of a jerk for pouring bleach down a storm drain.

I'm not sure I understand your point.

The email is asking for personal donations from the execs. I can see using Sony's email addresses for these execs as a potential issue, but honestly, the writer of the email could have just used other personal email addresses.

Personal donations implicitly on behalf of their employer. That's the nuance that's critical to consider here, since the line between "personal" and "corporate" is significantly blurred.

What I don't understand is how is that different from any fund raising effort for a candidate? You look for people who have a reason to support a given candidate (race, religion, profession, etc) and invite them to give them money. How is this a proof of corruption?

Yes, the money will come with a message: we like you because you vote xxx on yyy. But I don't see how this is illegal (or even immoral). And I don't see how this is information you couldn't get from public data.

As these contributions were already made public, nothing has been revealed.

And then connecting it with this email reveals the damning evidence: https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/49813

Publicly they were individual donations. This shows the intent of the group to donate a sum of $50k along with detailing how they were going break their donation up to skirt the law.

They deliberately structured their donations to sidestep the $5k limitation to campaigns they're subject to.

This isn't even close to being damning evidence. There's no "structuring" here to "sidestep" anything. There's no breaking up donations. This is someone asking individuals to contribute to a campaign. Contributions which, by the way, are a matter of public record for all to see, no hacking needed.

Asking for contributions to make a corporate goal as a kickback for services received.

That's fine. What about the rest of the documents?

Ya I'm waiting for someone to show me some kind of explosive corruption from this data dump, perhaps I just need to wait. I suppose that is the argument for releasing everything; all the reporters and people around the world might find something that a reporter in NY or DC or London will not understand or fail to connect the dots. I just don't see why they can't send these to the top news organizations and wait for them to review them, and maybe point out a few big news items they found?

If that doesn't happen, this seems silly to me. It's basically entertainment gossip and of no real news value.

And if anything, I feel like this detracts from the story because there are so many superfluous emails in there. I'm not going to go through them and most people won't, so why don't Wikileaks review them and release the ones that are actually newsworthy?

I tend to agree - the documents relating to actual abuses are worth releasing, - but releasing the entire trove (and granted I haven't looked at all of it) seems arbitrary and without principal.

Just because you don't know what you're looking for doesn't mean there isn't anything to find.

Then you don't mind if I release all your personal emails? I don't know what I am looking for, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to find.

The difference here is that I'm not a powerful organization that employs hundreds of thousands and has influenced international/domestic law and trade policy.

At least that we know of. :)

I imagine Snowden contemplated releasing everything to Wikileaks but decided against it.

"Several years ago the studios brought siteblocking litigation in Norway to test that country’s implementation of EU Copyright Directive Article 8.3. We lost the case and as a result of lobbying, Norway implemented a specific law this past summer embodying the 8.3 siteblocking requirements."

"As a result of lobbying, Norway implemented a specific law"


Were you under the impression that lobbyists weren't supposed to advocate for specific laws?

There's a big difference between arguing your case in public on equal terms with your opponents and one side manipulating the politicians behind closed doors.

It's scary that a company in effect can write and pass laws, without the public being involved.

Sounds like you're against lobbying in general, which is fine, but I'm not sure this is a smoking gun of any wrongdoing. I assume the law was passed through Norway's standard (public) legislative process.

This unacceptable and outright disgusting. For me, Wikileaks lost all credibility. It is wrong to violate the privacy and confidentiality of employees and contacts of the company. It does not matter if there are clues of wrongdoing or if somebody calls the contents trivial.

Government ties, connections to the military industry and support for politicians? How is that a scandal? And how is that worth violating people's rights. Nothing is redacted. Nothing is explained in context. This is awful.

If something is worth a scandal, it's the chutzpa of Wikileaks.

I'm having trouble falling on either side of this whole-heartedly. On one hand privacy, rights… On the other, secrecy at the heart of how our societies function, trivialization of democracy, public interest, free press.

Take this example (pointed out by randomname2):

"NY law only allows corporations to give him $5,000 (which we’ve done)… and, with Michael’s support, we are trying to raise $50k overall. This means I need to ask individual senior execs for support… ..consider contributing $5,000 to Gov. Cuomo?"

This is at the heart of how a lot of our democratic systems work, the money-in-politics question, the corruption of our systems of government. Surely that's something that is important to bring into the light, no?

The criticism I've had with wikileaks from the start is still somewhat valid. Wikileaks are press. We have a culture of protecting, empowering & respecting the press. We have legal protections for the press. There are cultures within the press for balancing need to know against other considerations. But wikileaks (mores earlier on) never really saw or projected themselves this way, free press. To most people, including their supports they always seemed more like activists than journalists.

When Assange was originally targeted I stopped to sign a petition in Melbourne. I read it. A Caricaturized synopsis might be "Free Assange! Free Gaza. Troops Out of Iraq! Fuck America! Abortion! Gays! Aboriginal RIghts! Like I said, caricature. But I don't think these guys were a million miles away from how wikileaks saw (or at least presented) themselves. Activists more than press.

I think that's part of the problem you are sort of pointing to. Activists stealing documents sounds different to journalists with secret sources. The latter is an important part of democracy.

> Wikileaks are press.

Wikileaks are most assuredly not the press.

What makes you say that?

From wikipedia:

"WikiLeaks is an international, non-profit,[3] journalistic[6][7][8] organisation, which publishes secret information, news leaks,[9] and classified media from anonymous sources.[3][10]."

Based on the number of references for that sentence, I think we can conclude you are not the only one disputing this. What's your definition of press or what disqualifies Wikleaks?

Which probably makes them much better. 99.9% of what the press does is waste of precious resources at best, and quite often socially harmful activity.

Journalists don't dump whole swaths of information to the public like they've just done without vetting that it is relevant to the public interest.

I agree, I even referred to that here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9394297.

But here my point is, the press instead dumps whole swaths of radioactive waste pretending to be "information" on public that is definitely not in the public interest.

While I agree that it's distasteful revealing people's email, and I've had no interest in looking in what was revealed, it's not clear to me what rights are being violated here. These were corporate accounts, and, anyone who is an employee of a corporation, knows that every email they write/send on a corporate mail server, absolutely can come into public purview, quite often during legal discovery. The old saying, "Do not put anything in email if you don't want it to appear on the front page of the New York Times" is absolutely correct.

(True story - while I was working for desktop support at Netscape, one of my fellow technicians ended up having one of his emails end up in the New York Times - and he had sent it to our internal lawyers. Turns out even that can't protect you).

Sony probably has strong grounds to come after whoever breached their security, and send them to prison for many, many years - but I don't know if their are specific individual "rights" being breached by wikileaks here.

What exactly are in these emails that are in the greater public interest? It isn't them lobbying for their own interests, as everyone here would be doing the same scraping money together for their small startups. The whole reason these docs were leaked in the first place was because someone didn't like the premise of a movie. Not because Sony was allowing chemical spills to poison people in a small town and are covering it up.

There is no "greater interest" here other than people wanting to stick it to Sony because they won't let you download their movies for $1 the day they hit the theater.

anyone who is an employee of a corporation, knows that every email they write/send on a corporate mail server, absolutely can come into public purview

Is this coming from the HN crowd that registers domains with contact information anonymity enabled, loves to incorporate in Delaware and complains about privacy and NSA spy programs?

Could you please turn your emails public so we can review them in case you might be doing something wrong? No? Thought so.

It's for the courts to decide if Sony is doing something wrong. Wikileaks is a nice idea and I've supported them for a while, but they can't help but shoot themselves in the foot with dubious behavior like this.

Corporate != private. Companies are subject to a large number of restrictions in a tradeoff for limited liability. People acting on behalf of the company are substantially shielded from personal liability for their actions - but the business must be subject to scrutiny.

Private individuals don't have to file audited accounts, for one thing, just a tax return.

Perhaps part of the reason that people are so OK with mass publication of private emails not specifically tied to anything is because they have lost faith in the laws and the institutions tasked with maintaining them. That I can relate to, but I don't think it justifies what WikiLeaks is doing.

>Could you please turn your emails public so we can review them in case you might be doing something wrong? No? Thought so.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem making my work emails public.

You should write them with that in mind, not because someone might steal them, but because they mind end up in part of a lawsuit.

"Electronic discovery" is a huge process where lawyers will read all the email in a company that hit certain search terms.

It's a fucking boring job, but more than a guys are messaging their mistresses from their work account.

One key difference, of course, is that the NSA is spying on everyone, and has all the powers of a government agency, and its many billions of dollars.

What both of them are doing is distasteful.

To some degree, though, I compare this behavior to that guy who walks up to people with a video camera, a couple feet away, and just points it at them. They become very uncomfortable, and upset, and yell at him.

What he's doing with this "performance art" - as annoying as it is, is making people realize that they are already under constant surveillance.

Anybody who previously didn't understand why privacy is so important to individuals, making them claim, "Oh, I have nothing to hide." - certainly is probably aware now how important it is to them after the Sony Dump.

And, while not defending WikiLeaks (much), can we at least agree that there is a difference between dumping people's personal emails/photos (which is 100% unjustifiable) and exposing corporate machinations of Sony?

> Government ties

You mean, corruption ?

Yes, this is worth publishing. Even if this corruption has become mainstream.

Your interpretation of corruption may not be equal to its lawful meaning. If you have a problem with the donations to for example Cuomo, than you can lobby for change (e.g. by donating to a politician who shares your view).

Again, there is no reason for violating people's rights even when they can be _accused_ of wrongdoing. It is for courts to decide.

This is exactly the reason this question is difficult, with a strong case on both sides.

There are laws. Those laws have intent. Then, there is the actual behavior of individuals and corporations in practice. Loopholes, perhaps intentionally left open. There is a law limiting corporate donations. There is a practice for circumventing it. Without reveals like this, it looks like lots of private individuals donated money but in reality, a corporation effectively got around the legal restriction placed on it.

Those restrictions are there to prevent auctioning off legislation and policy. This is no joke.

These are not pictures of your wife in lingerie. This is squarely in the public interest. It's in the pubic interest to have the law updated so that this will be illegal, so that courts can do something about it.

Can you see the irony in your comment? "If you'd like to change a certain behaviour, you should indulge in that same behaviour as much as you can."

How do you fix a broken process, if the only way to do it is going through the same broken process?

Getting a political message out there costs money, just as everything else - small parties can't even afford to mailshot the electorate in order to identify their beliefs.

Promoting an anti-donation message directly benefits Cuomo and the parties of big business and finance. Their backers are not going to hear that message, and their opponents' backers are more likely to act on it.

That's not the only way. You can vote for the politician who shares your views. You still have democracy in America, you can still vote. But somehow most Americans always vote for politicians who support those donations.

One can only vote for a politician who is running for office, so if no viable candidates share one's views, one is out of luck.

That was intended. We all know that there are problems with the balance of influence. But that does not excuse the publishings.

> Your interpretation of corruption may not be equal to its lawful meaning

Corruption has been legalized thanks to... corruption.

You see the problem ? When the law is written by lobbyists, lawful does not bear anymore any meaning.

This may not be the legal definition of corruption, but there's also no legal right being violated here.

A human framed lawful meaning is not the same as a morally correct meaning. What your essentially saying is that if we want to end corruption then we need to partake in corruption ourselves (bribe a politician for change).

This doesn't make things better.

I don't have $5k of disposable income to give to a political candidate willy-nilly. Sony's execs apparently do. That puts them at an advantage in our supposedly-democratic system.

First you have to get it into a court.

Compare the recent rise of public video documenting US police shootings. There's no way the alleged wrongdoing would be seriously investigated if there wasn't video widely available to the public.

The thing is, Sony in the past acted like a bully. Now the bully is being bullied.

Turnabout is fair play? I don't know, but that's the sentiment behind this sort of action.

Look at the positive: I bet loads of corporate execs are now going to give their IT teams extra money to "not end up like those Sony guys".

Ah yes, bully the bully. I'm sure the NSA will remember this legal defense when its on trial for corporate espionage. We only hacked & spied on Apple because they were bullying 3rd party developers!

The NSA will never be on trial for corporate espionage, so I'm not sure what you're going on about.

The problem with the NSA is that they're a government entity doing something very dangerous from a democratic point of view and of dubious value overall. It's a totally different problem from private citizens publishing stuff they may or may not be entitled to.

Why have they lost your respect now and not years ago? Didn't they publish 750,000 unrelated and benign files along with the couple of files that showed government wrongdoing when they leaked Manning's stuff? Its not like Wikileaks changed recently, its more like people are just finding out what Wikileaks is.

That was official government documents. Here the difference is that it's people emails.

So official government emails vs official company emails? These weren't individuals' private emails, they were emails sent on company information systems. When you send private emails on a company system, they become company emails.

There is definitely a difference between the two, but I don't think it matters much in these particular cases.

"Government ties, connections to the military industry and support for politicians? How is that a scandal?"

The archive is made public to enable us to find out exactly that.

Edit: so many angry reactions. I was answering to a post that seem to hold the point that it wouldn't be a scandal, if a multinational company buys influence from politics. With this I indeed disagree.

What your comments suggest is that I think it is ok to publish illegally hacked material. I don't and I did not write that.

On the other hand I have some trust in wikileaks that they don't publish the data just for everybody to sneak into private affairs. I expect it to contain proof of illegal action. That's now for journalists and investigators to find out.

But there is still the issue of illegally acquired data. Where I come from, this must not even be used in court and thus would be worthless.

This kind of implies that all private company correspondence is "fair game" for us to find out if they're doing anything bad if you're clever enough to obtain it. e.g. via hacking, whistleblowing, crappy security policies, etc.

Yeah, I don't understand. If the government hacked a private corporation and published 50,000 internal documents online, there would be a shitstorm. But some group of rogue hackers does it and suddenly it might be ok? What's the difference?

The difference is that the duties of government are clearly spelled in law, and are financed by everyone. You don't get a choice on whether to obey to your government or not, and in a democracy this is balanced by giving everyone a chance to influence such government, so that it can represent everyone's views as closely as possible (well, that's the theory at least).

With a private entity, that's not the case. If you don't like Wikileaks, you're free not to support them, or even fight them in court if you want. Wikileaks works under the umbrella of journalism/free speech laws, if there is a public interest in the matter then they should be left free to continue doing it.

>With a private entity, that's not the case.

Ah, so if the government had just contracted out the NSA's services and had them act as a private corporation rather than have the NSA be a government entity, then their actions would have been 100% a-ok.

No, because the money would still come from "everyone", and the government would still be "doing" something.

If the NSA was a completely privately-owned corporation without any ties to the government, yeah, the judgement would be different (likely still negative, since no private actor can legally compromise networks like they do).

> The difference is that the duties of government are clearly spelled in law, and are financed by everyone

So if the government passed a law saying it was ok for them to hack private entities and make their records public, it would be ok?

I think we've already had this conversation. It would be legal, yes; it wouldn't necessarily be "ok" from a moral/ethical/philosophical/whatever point of view, in the same way as cutting a thief's hand is legal in Saudi Arabia.

It doesn't matter anyway, bringing in the NSA on this is a red herring.

> if there is a public interest in the matter then they should be left free to continue doing it.

But there's not. Public interest is not the same as a public being interested.

Yup exactly. I'm assuming GP is anti-NSA eavesdropping (he/she posts on HN) so it makes it even more eye-opening how quickly he/she turned to "if they have nothing to hide..." when the victim is someone else.

One force having all knowledge and controlling it, even using their advantage of information asymmetry to control it, I would say, is different enough from EVERYONE KNOWING THE TRUTH, that yes, perhaps we can have this discussion.

All your private correspondences is already fair game to those with the power to silence you, torture you, cage you for life, and worse. Yet there is so much outrage when the general public, which holds little power in comparison, gets a glimpse to the inner workings of the elite (such as mega corporate entities).

Who exactly are you and who exactly gave you authority to examine private correspondence?

Oh no — someone is being a meanie to the megacorps! Disgusting.

"It is wrong to violate the privacy and confidentiality of employees and contacts of the company"

I don't see a problem here. It's not like private communication was leaked, it's a business communication from a mega corp that happened to reveal a lot of dirty details from inside the industry, so public should know that. If you used business email for personal communication, well then, next time you should know better.

This is more freedom and more transparency. What is wrong with that?

Remember, openness and transparency has many levels. You may be at different level than Wikileaks. If this level of openness is uncomfortable, so be it but there may be many who feel, this level is ok. Look at how some Govt's point at others as closed societies. Just in this case, there is some one who took more higher level of openness than traditional ones.

>> "This is freedom and complete transparency. What is wrong with that?"

It's stolen documents of a private company. Most of the information is nothing more than embarrassing.

>> "If this level of openness is uncomfortable, so be it but there may be many who feel, this level is ok."

So you publish your communications openly then? Seriously, one minute HN is complaining (rightly so) about government invasions of privacy and the next it's congratulating theft of private communications from someone it doesn't like.

Wikileaks has lost what little remaining credibility it had in my eyes. This is little more than stolen documents to satisfy the kinds of people that read gossip sites.

I'm not arguing against your position that the legal workings of a corporation, in the context of fair laws administered by a legitimate government, should not be splashed around.

But, if you believe we don't have a legitimate government specifically because some big corporations have bought the government, there really is no barrier between those corporations and the government they bought, and there is no difference leaking government or corporate documents.

Evidently, the people at Wikileaks think the latter.

I agree, in fact the lobbying system really bothers me. If that was all that Wikileaks published I might not have a big problem. But they didn't redact, they released everything, the majority of which just satisfies voyeurism.

Lobbying, if it is clean and transparent, and there is good access from expert organizations that are not just a fig leaf for buying the government, is fine and healthy. But, in contrast, secret influence-buying to enshrine bad copyright law into a hard-to-modify treaty, is not so good.

I second this.

All societies, at some point in the past, may have started at similar level of privacy ...etc. Due to various reasons, if we see now, some societies are more open than the rest and this is due to the choices they made consciously or accidentally or made by influencing entities in those societies. Wikileaks is following the same trend but may be with more speed/velocity.

If we see history, there are no absolute boundaries of privacy and it changes with time and it may feel outrageous now but if we see multiple similar incidents, then it becomes natural,common and after few years, it becomes standard of life and I won't be surprised if future generations in these societies feel proud of that level of transparency and make fun of those who lack that level of openness.

That's fine but you can't force openness (because it aligns with your beliefs) through theft. Society has been becoming more open (as people tweet and blog publicly) but forcing the changes you want through illegal means, especially when there is no consensus that that is what society as a whole would like, is wrong.

No one is forcing openness here. You are not in "follow it or else" situation. You can just ignore as if nothing has happened. Where is force applied? It is imaginary.

In many cases, people act without consensus based on their decisions. Did you take consensus before posting above message? Just like you did what you thought as right, some one else make other decisions w.r.t wikileaks. Always, there will be initiative and later on consensus comes into picture.

>> "No one is forcing openness here."

Of course they are. Information that wasn't supposed to be public was stolen and made public against the will of the creators/owners.

>This is more freedom and more transparency. What is wrong with that?

People have an inherent right to privacy, and they don't (generally) forfeit that right when they decide to coordinate their actions with other people (within or without the context of a corporation) that also have a right to privacy.

Not at all.

The court of the people have subpoenaed this corporate information. Anyone knows that the corporate veil will be pierced in discovery.

I would be more inclined to agree with you if this company didn't have so much control over policy decisions in Washington.

Besides, it's /Sony/, who put rootkits on our PCs in the name of copy protection, and who have never respected individual privacy in the past.

You raise a good point: at what point do you draw the line. I don't have an answer for you, but this example is nowhere near it.

"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."

Yeah, right. Some of is of public interest, sure, but then find it, edit it and publish the results. Ah, I forgot, it's not how wikileaks operate. For them making everything public is good in itself (except, of course, when it's about themselves).

The armchair historian and anthropologist in me wishes we had something like this for the corporations of the 1800s. To a historian or anthropologist, the mundane, everyday interactions are every bit as important to study as the momentous occasions.

My browser history might be useful, but I dont want you looking at it until my children are dead.

I initially read your comment somewhat differently to how it was intended I suspect.

This pleases me.

>The armchair historian and anthropologist in me wishes we had something like this for the corporations of the 1800s.

What we do have from this time though are a huge number of private journals written/kept by very powerful and influential people. We also have huge troves of their mail correspondence that, without a doubt, was intended to be kept private.

We have since made these things public, written books about them, published the letters reprinted, etc.

So perhaps the release of such correspondence is merely a function of the time since its authorship, or the time since the author (and recipient?) died. The way things operate today though, the future historians are unlikely to get such content.

I've seen multiple comments complain about the lack of a "scandal", using that same word. Why does something have to be scandalous to be worth preserving for history's sake?

Such an archival strategy will lead to us never learning from the successes and failures of the past, because they've all been exaggerated into a series of unreachable highs and lamentable lows.

The actions of the hackers who tried to blackmail Sony and stole the documents are wholly unjustifiable. But now that the damage has been done, there is incredible historic and sociological value in seeing what "normal" means inside of a major media corporation.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. WikiLeaks doesn't exist just to publish scandals. It's not a tabloid or a nightly news show. It's a website that publishes leaked documents, and this is the biggest leak of the decade. Making it searchable and accessible is the icing on the cake.

Inherent in this argument is that privacy is worth nothing or at least less than the small insight into a company.

I find it odd that there is a large overlap in people who support "Transparency" and those who are very big into "privacy."

They are contradictory principles in my mind.

Privacy for individuals, transparency for large institutions. Like I said I don't support the hacking at all. But the data now exists, and much can be learned therefrom.


So it would seem Scott Forstall (of Apple) is now an advisor to Snapchat, and owns 0.11% of the stock... I'd been wondering what he'd been up to after Apple.

How's is this whistle-blower material?

It's not, this is a full dump.

Does anyone know why this is in the Sony emails?

Michael Lynton (CEO of Sony Entertainment) sits on Snapchat board of directors.

Unrelated to Sony, but related to WikiLeaks... Andrew O'Hagen was tapped to ghostwrite Julian Assange's autobiography. It didn't work out. The story behind why, and the insights into workings Wikileaks and the personality of Assange, are incredible:


Great long long long read.

I don't have time to read this, care to share a summary of why it's incredible?

Sony CEO Michael Lynton and Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett being very "cozy"



Oh, so they are finally making a film about Tesla. Cool. https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/86961

I don't think Sony is making this. I think this is just the production company emailing sony employees about it to try and get the word out. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2392361/

Oh, wrong Tesla.

No, the right Tesla.

I found this one rather ironic: https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/70993

> "Subject: SPE Email Retention Policy

> Email Retention

> SPE’s email retention period is two years."

They might want to rethink that. Or perhaps use encryption.

> "There should be no expectation of privacy when you use SPE’s email system"


I don't condone this leak. But it's explicitly stated in their policy that these emails should not be considered private. They might want to rethink that one too.

Corporations are people now, so they should probably get used to having their privacy infringed upon.

Should the EFF fight _for_ Sony then? :-)

The public didn't need to know that this woman's mother was trying to find her a new job and, probably out of ignorance about the whole Sony vs World situation, contacted someone at Sony about it. But I guess WikiLeaks doesn't care, as long as it hits Sony directly. If only they could take a lesson from Snowden.

Wikileaks has been like this for a while

Speaking of searching for "Electronic Frontier Foundation"... https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/112387

Gotta love the "Yikes!" on the part of the guy who presumably handles Sony's relationships with governments.

Well, if they don't have money and someone wants to unlawfully sue or even imprison them or someone wants to collect health data, sexual preferences, etc., I am sure they would.

Other than that. Sony can freely use HTTPS Everywhere, Tor, Switzerland[software], etc., which are supported by EFF. Would be great if they did.

Sure, add their name to the bottom of the list.

It's amazing that so much pro-Israel (and anti anti-Israel) content, news, analysis and perspectives are traded at SONY including the TIP "NGO". Anyone know who Pascal or Amy are?

It also cropped up some goodies:

"They mention that it was a sony executive that told them to not use a fictitious name, but to go with kim jong-un - They mention that a former cia agent and someone who used to work for Hilary Clinton looked at the script - this might all be fine, but this is all info that the journalists have at this time."

"This was the first of the important article re; the subject for our doc that appeared in the British press this summer during the Gaza crisis. I think we will get full cooperation from the impt media in europe, the eu, the current conservative govt. in the uk, the current govt in france, angela merkel in germany, many academics ( def at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE ) and of course, major jewish orgs in the uk france germany and in most eu countries .......... during the high holidays this year, no synagogue in britain or jewish school did not have police protection and private security provided by the cst ( the community security trust, an organization created to report hate crime and provide security to synagogues etc ...... kind of an armed ADL ...... funded by Sir Gerald Ronson ) The same for synagogues in every major European city. The threat here is very real ....... in certain parts of London ....... even an American accent is commented on ........ negatively, since thebombing of Isis has begun. This documentary is an essential tool for spreading our message. Ron"

I love the sony PR damage control in this topic. Keep up the good work.

There has been no invasion of privacy. These are all work emails. And if some corporation that is member of MPAA and RIAA gets destroyed - the better.

Are you kidding me? These are not just work emails.

In 15 minutes of reading I've found personal communications, medical issues, people confiding in a friend over marital problems, etc.

This is 2015. People use their work email for personal communications. Should they? Probably not. However, any reasonable person knows that most people do this.

Sony isn't going to get "destroyed" over this, sorry. A bunch of innocent mid-level employees just trying to support their families just got wrecked, though! Woo, we did it internet!

As someone who considers himself far-left leaning, this shit just embarrasses me.

Of course they are just work emails, the content of those emails might not be, but at the bottom all these emails come from the corporate system that workers to this corporation were assigned, so once again -- these are only work emails.

Sorry, that's not how the world works.

HN is so hypocritical.

NSA accused of spying on peoples private data? Get out the pitchforks!

Tons of innocent peoples private lives leaked by Assange? Woo! We did it Hacker News! We showed them!

Get a grip, guys. You sound like a bunch of insane people.

Meh, this whole thread is loaded with so much bullshit and different opinions, it's one big ego/personality trip if you put in bigger perspective. Definitely some good points, but mostly back and forth arguments.

>40,000 social Security numbers leaked? These were not only work emails.


Sony CEO Michael Lynton was already pitching press secretary Jay Carney on his last day at the White House

Looking for a downloadable PostgreSQL or MySQL database, git archive, or gzipped tarball. Anyone point me to one?

Searched of course: https://www.google.com/#q=site:wikileaks.org+download+sony+a...

Seems that Wikileaks is bearing unnecessary cost in hosting the search interface in addition to publishing.

    To: Amy Pascal
    From: GC <batmansenior@me.com> [note: George Clooney]
    Subject: "Re: knowing this email is being hacked"
    And so you know... According to Scotland Yard....
    We are being hacked. So I'll give you a secure address...
    Now this is gonna be fun. 

Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that Assange would be spewing on twitter if his emails were hacked and published. He would demonize the hackers, accuse the CIA, the NSA, MI5/6 etc. of colluding, and his friends at the Guardian would be writing pages of vitriol railing against the hackers/cia/nsa/mi5.

But Hollywood screwed Assange with The Fifth Estate so now they are fair game. He would have prefered to publish Disney emails, but this leaks plenty of conversations about Disney, or that reference Disney, so I guess its good enough.

I thought Wikileaks jumped the shark with "Collateral Murder", but this just about puts them in the same league as the worst elements of the NSA. If Sony broke the law, they could have selectively published those emails.

Yesterday is was the military, todays is large corporations, next I guess Wikileaks will publish the accounts of prominent individuals they don't like.

For the record, I think any mainstream media that republish these emails are just as bad as Wikileaks.

QV the UK press "hacking" scandals.

The problem is the role of press and activists as a sort of citizen's law enforcement branch. The rule of law is not strong enough that crimes committed by powerful individuals, companies, militaries, and so on will be actually investigated. So scandals must be uncovered from the outside. But the public is also quite hungry for non-illegal scandal.

WRT "Collateral Murder", what do you think is the correct way to investigate war crimes when you know the military involved will not punish them internally?

I dont have any issue with publishing the video. I have issue with them spinning it. And they did not just spin it, they edited it for effect.

Pointing at other corrupt organizations and saying they also have done wrong that went unpunished (although as far as I know the UK hacking did not go unpublished), does not justify doing wrong. The irony of course is that Assange is hiding in London precisely to avoid appearing in court.

But I also acknowledge we all have a different set of morals. For some the ends justifies the means. I personally believe the ends never justify the means.

The ends justifies the means is usually what war criminals claim to be their justification.

I wasn't pointing out the UK hacking as an unpunished wrong, I was saying that there are certain wrongs which (in practice) can only be exposed by (potentially illegal) leaks.

A better example from the UK might be the widespread allegations of uninvestigated child abuse by members of the establishment that I'm not going to name for fear of libel litigation.

> Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that Assange would be spewing on twitter if his emails were hacked and published.

LOL good luck! They're behind seven proxies. </meme>

But seriously, if someone pulled a WikiLeaks on WikiLeaks that would probably go over well. Hats off to great exploits and whatnot.

>If Sony broke the law, they could have selectively published those emails.

I think the point is to not be selective. Release the info, and let people do with it as they may.

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