In his 1941 State of the Union speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined what he felt were the four basic freedoms that everyone in the world should have: The freedom from want, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom of speech. Last week a severe blow was dealt to those last two freedoms – fear and speech – by a group bent on suppressing what people have a right to say and feel.
Days ago the technology giant SONY was hacked and several copies of its films including ‘Fury’ and ‘Annie’ were leaked to the public along with other sensitive corporate data. The final costs in lost revenue and cyber repairs will run into the tens of millions of dollars….perhaps more. On the surface this might seem as just another ho-hum cyber breach to the public, who at this point is very absorbed in holiday shopping. Weary of all the cyber breaches of late – Home Depot, Target, Michaels, PF Chang…etc….the public may not even notice it happened.
However if you peek behind the curtains of this breach a very troubling issue begins to come into focus. Indications are that the SONY breach is not just ‘another’ hacking event, but that it may have been launched as punishment for the proposed release of a comedy film entitled ‘The Interview’. In a sense a nation state or organized group is saying ‘How dare you or anyone make this sort of film’…and this is the punishment that awaits anyone who dares to do such a thing in the future.
In one swift blow…or click of a mouse if you will…the film industry has been put on notice and their freedom of speech is curtailed and fear of reprisal instilled in the industry. With nation states or organized groups now having the potential ability to reach across oceans and delve deeply in the digital networks of Hollywood, they have in essence become the new censors of the media. For generations the film industry has fought to defend its freedom of speech and produced countless films…some good and some bad…that poked a thumb in the eye of governments or individuals for their behavior and suppression of the basic rights of others. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood reacts to this challenge…will they stand up to this form of tyranny or defend the freedoms that President Roosevelt felt so strongly about during his Presidency. We can only hope they will do so and that basic freedoms will mean more than big box office dollars.
The “Four Freedoms”, Fraklin D. Roosevelt’s Address to Congress, January 6, 1941