Sony threatens to sue Twitter over tweets linking to hacked emails

23 Dec 2014

Sony is understood to have threatened social media giant Twitter with legal action if it doesn’t ban accounts that are sharing leaked information emerging from the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The lawyer Sony hired in the aftermath of the attack, David Boies, has warned Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde that if the leaked information continues to be disseminated through the social network, Sony will hold Twitter responsible.

At the heart of the issue is the sharing of screenshots of hacked Sony emails on Twitter.

According to Motherboard, which has obtained a copy of the correspondence, Twitter has shared the legal correspondence with account holders who are known to have shared the screenshots, advising them to consider hiring an attorney.

One account holder who had been tweeting screen grabs of Sony emails was musician Val Broeksmit and Sony has asked that Broeksmit’s account be suspended and copies of the email screenshots removed from Twitter’s system.

Twitter’s policies prohibit the sharing of other people’s private information. The grey area, however, is the sharing of links to such information.

Data breach

In recent weeks, Sony experienced one of the most devastating cyberattacks in corporate history when a group calling itself Guardians of Peace took the company’s computer network down.

Within days, five new movies were leaked onto the internet along with data on more than 47,000 people and very sensitive emails.

At the heart of the saga is a movie called The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, about a hapless TV duo’s trip to North Korea being hijacked by the CIA with orders to kill the head of state of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. The movie’s plot no doubt incensed the North Korean government.

Cinemas across the US cancelled the film’s premiere on 25 December after threats of attacks against their staff and cinemagoers by Guardians of Peace.

The situation has escalated into a major diplomatic row, with the US president Barack Obama reminding North Korea that attacks on servers and computers in the US are considered an attack on US sovereign territory.

North Korea for its part has denied all responsibility for the attacks and has offered to conduct a joint investigation with the US, a move the US has described as absurd.

Data breach image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years