Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Comedy Devolves Into Farce

Sony pictures is hacked and the government almost immediately announces that they know, have proof in fact, that North Korea did it and that the purpose was to prevent the release of a movie mocking the North Korean leader. The train of thought appears to be that North Korea is a terrorist state and therefor emulates radical Islam by threatening death to parties mocking their leader.

The “proof” is offered by the same FBI which once proudly announced the arrest of a man for attempting to blow up the Mackinack Bridge in Michigan, only to find out that he had no explosives because the only thing he was actually doing was bootlegging cell phones.

Anyway, professional computer companies examine the FBI proof of North Korea’s guilt in the Sony hack and say that it is doubtful that it proves anything of the sort. They reveal that the initial demand had nothing to do with the silly movie at all, but was an attempt to extort money and they suggest that they suspect a disgruntled former employee.

The government responds by standing its ground and claiming that some of its proof is too secret to release. The secret proof is more thorough, they say, than that which is being debunked by computer professionals, but we will have to trust them because disclosing it cannot be done for national security reasons. Just to prove how serious we are about this, though we are issuing sanctions against North Korea for hacking us.

That did not put the issue to rest because apparently we don't actually trust them all that much. The computer companies continue to say that they just don’t think the hack looks like North Korea, raising some pretty good points to support their contentions.

So here comes the FBI, who just won’t give up on this, saying that we know it was North Korea who hacked Sony because we hacked them first. We had, it seems, installed spyware in North Korea’s computers and were actually watching them hack Sony, and we know they did it because we were watching them do it.

Well, no, that would raise the question of why did we not stop them, so the FBI admits that our spyware did not see the actual hack of Sony but did see other things which lead to proof that the Sony hack came from the same computers. Unfortunately for the FBI, that’s not how spyware works, but we won’t go into that here.

Just the supposed fact that we hacked them first is ironic enough. How can we be quite so outraged at them hacking us if we did it to them first? The image of James Comey standing at the podium in high dudgeon over North Korea’s invasion of our computer networks and saying that he knows they did it because we invaded their networks first is simply beyond belief.

Germany, England and other allies have not yet raised the question that, if we have planted spyware in one government’s computer system, have we done the same in the computer systems of their nations as well? That question will arise, and when it does, things are going to get very, very awkward.

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