During his year-end press conference, President Barack Obama said that Sony made a mistake by not releasing “The Interview” in theaters, adding that he wishes he had been consulted before Sony made the decision to nix the film’s Christmas release.
“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against some employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake,” Obama said Friday.
“In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults, both in the private sector and in the public sector. now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place,” Obama said, adding that he’s tried to do what he’s able to at the government level.
Earlier Friday morning, the FBI officially confirmed North Korea involvement in the cyberattack against Sony late last month. (RELATED: US Officially Names North Korea In Sony Hack)
“We’re not even close to where we need to be. And one of the things in the new year that I hope Congress is prepared to work with us on is cyber security laws that will allow for information sharing across private sector platforms as well as the public sector so that we are incorporating the best practices and preventing these attacks from happening in the first place,” the president said.
Obama was speaking before he jets off to Hawaii to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season with his family away from the White House.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place we cannot have a society in can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” Obama continued, “because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary they don’t like, or news reports that they don’t like.”
“Even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. You know, that’s not who we are. That’s not what America’s about,” he said.
“I wish they would have spoken with me first. I would have told them, do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks,” Obama said. “Imagine if instead of it being a cyber threat, somebody had broken into their offices and destroyed a bunch of computers and stolen disks and — is that what it takes for suddenly you to pull the plug on something?”
“So, you know, we’ll engage with not just the film industry but news industry and the private sector around these issues. We already have. We will continue to do so,” Obama told the White House press corps. “But I think all of us have to anticipate occasionally there are going to be breaches like this. They’re going to be costly. they’re going to be serious. We take them with the utmost seriousness.”