September 19, 2020

Sony GC’s emails leaked in ongoing hacker fallout


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incoming mail conceptBy Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. general counsel Leah Weil reportedly argued against a company policy of saving all emails and in favor of instituting a regular purge. Ironically, she made the argument in one of the many Weil emails hacked and made public by a group calling itself Guardians of the Peace.

Weil, who has been with Sony since 1996 and GC since 2001, also serves as the company’s chief compliance officer. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sony, the target of a major breach on Nov. 24, has seen a raft of information slowly leaked, everything from ’s number to employees’ credit card logins. The hackers reportedly have threatened the firm and leaked online copies of several films, including its remake of “Annie,” starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, and ’s new movie, “Fury.”

On Thursday the hackers reportedly posted emails from the account of Sony’s top lawyer.

Most of the hackers’ posts appear briefly and then disappear. But Gizmodo, a design and technology news site, apparently captured some posts of Weil’s emails and revealed them Thursday.

One email contained what Gizmodo said was a discussion between Weil and Andrew Davis, president of ’ business affairs and operations, about a possible “email purge.” Weil apparently thought Sony should take a more cautious approach to email retention policies.

“Andrew—the issue behind our moving in this direction is not one of whether the company should continue to retain its records etc. It is about the fact that email is not the correct repository for this,” Gizmodo quoted the email. “While undoubtedly there will be emails that need to be retained and or stored electronically in a system other than email, many can be deleted and I am informed by our IT colleagues that our current use of the email system for virtually everything is not the best way to do this.”

Gizmodo writer Ashley Feinberg comments: “We don’t know for sure whether they were grappling with a simple storage issue or security implications. Either way, though, Sony apparently knew its email system was less than ideal.”

Some experts have theorized that North Korea is behind the computer attack because it was angry over Sony’s forthcoming release of “The Interview,” which makes fun of the secretive dictatorship. Whoever did it is leaking more information each day.

Another vague email involving several unnamed executives seems to deal with whether to take a stand on net neutrality, but offers no answer. And another involves what Gizmodo calls a “strategic invitation from Google to start working together.”

This thread begins with an Oct. 22 message from Google Inc.’s Adam Kovacevich, head of competition public policy and public affairs, to Sony’s Keith Weaver, head of worldwide government affairs. It proposes that the two executives talk in the next few weeks. “Our sense is that our future business interests are more aligned than many people realize,” the email reportedly states.

Then Weaver forwards the email to Weil, commenting to her: “Both loaded and smart strategy on their end. … I’m going to sync up with Aimee [Wolfson, Sony’s head of intellectual property] and circle back to you.”

But perhaps the oddest email string in the bunch involved one sent by noted screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter of the late Apple Inc. cofounder Steve Jobs. Apparently, Brennan-Jobs wanted to see Sorkin’s script for a movie about Jobs, and the writer claimed that Wolfson in IP didn’t want him to show it to her.

Then there’s an email from Wolfson to Weil, forwarding Sorkin’s email and saying, “Sorkin just invoked my name, for no goddamn reason, and actually, completely inaccurately.”

Gizmodo’s overall take on the Sony email situation: “It seems unlikely that this will be the last of the leaks. … And if the message accompanying this newest leak is to be believed, things will only ‘get more interesting in the coming days.’”

We can hardly wait.

IMAGE: auris-Fotolia

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