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Sony Faces Fourth Class-Action Lawsuit
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Sony is being sued for data breach

Summary: Sony Pictures is facing a class action lawsuit for not preventing cyber attacks of its network.

Sony isn’t in a good place. After they caved to threats from North Korea regarding a comedy about the assassination of North Korea’s leader, they’ve also suffered hacks and data dumps. After a broad security breach by a group calling itself “Guardians of Peace,” who shut down Sony Pictures’ computer system and have been leaking private information about employees and embarrassing correspondence between Sony executives, two former Sony employees have filed suit as of Monday in a California federal court.

  
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This fourth class action suit against Sony was ultimately spurred by the movie, The Interview, a satirical comedy by Seth Rogen and James Franco, despite that the two employees were not part of this project. Michael Corona left the company in 2007 and Christina Mathis has been gone for over a decade. Nevertheless, both claim that the data breach has exposed private information about them, costing them hundreds of dollars in identity theft protection, amidst other grievances.

As the suit claims, Sony “has failed to take reasonable steps to secure the data of its employees from hacking and other collateral attacks despite its having a duty to safeguard its employees’ data. Only three years ago, Defendant incurred one of the largest data breaches in history, in which 77 million customer records were compromised.”

This is a reference to the data breach of Sony’s Playstation Network in 2011.

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“In the wake of that data breach, Defendant conceded that a ‘known vulnerability’ was exploited, and subsequent analysis from the information technology community confirmed that Defendant had failed to put into place even the most rudimentary security protocols.”

Since the plaintiffs are seeking the court to certify the lawsuit as class action, they are hoping other employees will join, seeking damages of at least $1,000 for each member. They are also seeking five years of credit and bank monitoring, as well as identity theft insurance.



Sony has endured plenty of criticism for its decision to pull the movie that was scheduled to show Christmas day as a weak capitulation to North Korea’s bullying, with even President Barack Obama weighing in. He said, “Sony’s a corporation, it suffered significant damage, there were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they have faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.”

They are criticized, in other words, for doing too much to protect their employees, and yet, not doing enough to protect their employees. So we see that Sony is in a tough spot and must proceed with caution as it faces international politics, cyber-terrorism, and the dissidence of its own employees and former employees.

As Sony Pictures Entertainment’s CEO Michael Lynton said, “We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.” Whether or not this is the case, it is becoming clear that making movies, or running a company at all, in today’s cultural climate, means entering a state of war in which employees must be protected from becoming casualties.

 

Should Sony be held responsible for data breaches brought about by cyber-terrorists?

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