The Sony hack: 9 more things you didn't know

It was another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for Sony, and we learned even more as reporters sifted through a trove of stolen documents from the Hollywood studio.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
4 min read

President Obama holds a press conference during which he discussed Sony Pictures' decision not to release "The Interview" in the wake of the alleged North Korean hacking scandal. Leigh Vogel, WireImage

Fallout from the destructive breach of Sony Pictures' computer network on November 24 and the struggle against the deluge of leaked internal documents has stretched from Tinseltown to DC and beyond.

President Obama on Friday said Sony "did the wrong thing" when pulling the movie at the heart of the breach, "The Interview," from theaters. Earlier in the day, the FBI said it had concluded North Korea was behind the attack. Hackers had broken into Sony's computer network and leaked thousands of emails and financial documents revealing the Hollywood studio's secrets, demanding that the comedy about assassinating North Korea's leader be kept from release.

Some of the revelations have been merely interesting, a few have been shocking invasions of privacy, while others could damage individual reputations.

From backbiting executives to backroom deals, here are nine more things we learned about Sony. These revelations have been reported previously in a variety of publications.

1) Hell hath no fury like a Google scorned

Google was apoplectic at the prospect of Sony and the other Hollywood studios attempting to resurrect proposed Internet content-restriction laws -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Google general counsel Kent Walker wrote a scathing blog post.

"[O]ne disappointing part of this story is what this all means for the MPAA itself, an organization founded in part 'to promote and defend the First Amendment and artists' right to free expression,'" Walker wrote. "Why, then, is it trying to secretly censor the Internet?"

2) Google will fight The Law -- but will it win?

As part of the efforts to resurrect SOPA's intent through nonlegislative means, Google revealed that Mississippi state attorney general Jim Hood sent the search giant a 79-page subpoena. Google says it is similar to subpoenas discussed in leaked Sony emails, and the company plans to fight back.

3) State Department gave two thumbs up to "The Interview"

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, aware of the sensitive nature of some of the material in "The Interview," screened the comedy to a US State Department official and received a stamp of approval months before it was due in theaters. The unnamed official even signed off on the ending, depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-Un.

4) Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel needed a hug

Spiegel was so upset when his personal emails to Lynton, who sits on Snapchat's board of directors, were exposed he had to go for a walk. "I felt like I was going to cry all morning," he said in a statement to Snapchat employees and on Twitter, so he said he went for a walk where he ran into a high school teacher. "She gave me a huge hug. I really needed it."

5) Even Kanye must pitch

Apparently, Kanye West is in "The Interview" for a hot minute. Perhaps it's connected to West's creative director Elon Rutberg pitching Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal on a film. "[W]e have a major film project coming up that involves both cinematic and technological innovation, so I naturally thought Sony and wanted to reach out," he said, according to the Daily Beast.

6) QR codes are worth more than Google Glass

More Sony emails revealed Snapchat acquired several startups, including $15 million for one making an Internet-connected headset similar to Google Glass, and another for $50 million whose technology reads iBeacons and those pixelated black-and-white boxes called QR codes. QR codes, really.

7) Mark Zuckerberg really, really hated "The Social Network"

We knew Zuckerberg was no fan of the movie about Facebook's origins, but we didn't know until Sony's emails were exposed that Zuck tried to kill the flick outright. "I said to Zuckerberg when he tried to stop 'The Social Network,' 'No one wants their sophomore year in college examined or portrayed,'" Lynton is said to have written in one email, reported Business Insider.

8) And for my next witness, your honor

Next up in court: Sony employees, both current and former. The first lawsuit alleging Sony mishandled the personal information of employees by not having better computer security has been filed.

9) Costliest "Interview" ever?

The stars of the movie that led to the hack that kicked this whole thing off were well-compensated. Seth Rogen was paid $8.4 million, and James Franco got $6.5 million. All told, $44 million was spent on a movie that may never be seen, according to Bloomberg.

Or will it? Following President Obama's comments on Friday that Sony made a mistake by cancelling the film's scheduled release, Sony Pictures sent a statement to the press saying it was looking at " a different platform" for making sure "The Interview" isn't left on the cutting-room floor.

Facebook and Snapchat declined to comment. Sony Pictures didn't return requests for comment.