Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Digital Age At A Crossroads

While Sony's latest movie release, The Interview, may lack any sense of good taste, it is certainly in their right to produce and distribute it.  Why they chose to use an assassination of a live foreign leader, no matter how notorious, is beyond understanding.  But freedom of speech certainly gives them the right, even if it lacks a certain common sense.  Would the movie have even gotten made if it was about a current domestic leader?  Highly doubtful.

Still, two wrongs don't make a right and the work of hackers to infiltrate Sony and release sensitive information from their computers clearly crossed the line as well.  Worse comes threats made from these same hackers alluding to loss of life at movie theaters that go ahead and play the film.  Given such threats, some movie houses have already canceled showings of The Interview. 

The problem with all of this is that by succumbing to these hackers and their threats, it sets a dangerous precedent for future hackers to follow the same playbook.  Like they say about secrets, the moment you share something with someone else, it is no longer a secret.  And the moment we communicate digitally, it is there for eternity.  It may be meant to be shared with one or a few, but like secrets, others will try to access it.  In a world of great freedoms of expression, we sometimes forget our manners.

To the hackers exposing Sony secrets and threatening lives, one wrong move does not condone another.  And as a society, much must be done to stop these hackers from succeeding.  Not so this particular movie can play but that our freedoms remain intact.  And in the future, perhaps as a society we need to regain our politeness, our moral fiber, our consideration of others, for once something is said, it is there for an eternity. 

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