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WikiLeaks Launches Giant Searchable Database Of Leaked Sony Emails

A fascinating–and terrifying–cache of emails and documents that were stolen last year is now easy to read and navigate.

WikiLeaks Launches Giant Searchable Database Of Leaked Sony Emails
[Photo: Flickr user Bit Boy]

Thanks to WikiLeaks, you can now search a massive database of hacked information for dirt on your favorite Sony-affiliated celebrities and entertainment-industry folk.

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The Sony Archives is WikiLeak’s latest large-scale release of once-private information from an organization of global importance. In this case, the target is Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and the payload is a collection of 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails previously obtained by hackers believed to be aligned with the North Korean government in response to Sony’s then-impending release of The Interview.

But from WikiLeaks’ vantage point, it’s not just about digging up gossip on celebs and industry insiders. The archive shows the inner workings of a huge, influential company and, WikiLeaks believes its content should remain public because it’s “newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict,” writes WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a press release. “It belongs in the public domain,” Assange adds. “WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

In addition to giving a candid, inside glimpse of how the entertainment industry works, the database illustrates just how far-reaching Sony’s influence and connections are. The archive illustrates some of the company’s dealings with the White House and other politicians, as well as its connections to the U.S. military via the RAND Corporation (SPE’s CEO, Michael Lynton, sits on their board).

As you might imagine, there’s plenty of information here about Sony’s involvement in combating piracy and trying to influence policies related to copyright. As the press release notes:

Sony is a member of the MPAA and a strong lobbyist on issues around internet policy, piracy, trade agreements and copyright issues. The emails show the back and forth on lobbying and political efforts, not only with the MPAA but with politicians directly. In November 2013 WikiLeaks published a secret draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) IP Chapter. The Sony Archives show SPE’s internal reactions, including discussing the impact with Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative. It also references the case against Megaupload and the extradition of its founder Kim DotCom from New Zealand as part of SPE’s war on piracy.

There’s a ton of information packed into this database. And although much of it was previously accessible to journalists–whose reporting caused quite the shake-up in the entertainment industry–this is the first time it’s been available in such an accessible form.

The November hack could hardly have been more embarrassing for Sony and many of its employees. The damage has seemingly already been done, but who knows what else is lurking in the depths of this trove of information.

About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.

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