Future Tense

Hackers: We Won’t Release Sony Employees’ Data if They Ask Nicely

The data releases aren’t slowing down.

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The hacker group that infiltrated Sony Pictures may be showing some lenience. A little bit. Sort of. “Guardians of Peace,” or GOP, sent a data dump to media on Sunday and added, “We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees. If you don’t want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data.”

Asking individual Sony employees to request that their data be protected is an unusual approach. Its goal may be to breed additional uncertainty and magnify the hacking group’s perceived power. As Mashable reports, though, the hackers didn’t offer much else in terms of clemency. They wrote, “The sooner [Sony Pictures Entertainment] accept our demands, the better, of course. The farther time goes by, the worse state SPE will be put into and we will have Sony go bankrupt in the end.”

GOP hasn’t made its specific demands clear, though. It’s possible that the group wants Sony to cancel the release of The Interview, which makes fun of North Korea, but no one is sure yet. (Incidentally, one of the better tidbits to emerge from the leak is that even Sony execs were skeptical of The Interview, with one calling it “desperately unfunny.”)

GOP is threatening to release a “Christmas gift” trove of data, and gave contact information so people who want to receive the Christmas data can request it. These email addresses may also be the ones Sony employees should use to request that their data be withheld from release.

On Sunday, in response to the latest GOP release, Sony’s lawyers sent letters to publications like the New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, and Recode, requesting that they not publish anything from the stolen data and destroy the copies they received.