Sony: Congress, Batman and Anonymous! Oh… my?
To say this has gotten weird does little justice to the circumstance.
But hey, all these new victims can line up for free “Batman-Inspired” Cowls, right?
As Sony tries to fan attention towards the swift gazelles that comprise Anonymous, the various predatory international Government entities circle Sony like a plump cow with a sprained ankle. After nipping at Sony’s ankles to drop the beast safely on the firm ground the feasting in the form of fines, seizure and compensation will be ripped from the MegaCorp’s body and as a few drizzles of sustenance are sprinkled towards the hungry victims of the recent hack, the government predators will draw up bloody pieces of litigation to eat at this fallen bovine for years to come.
Congress has asked Sony to come out and explain itself. Sony said, “Nah.”
The problem with being called before congress in this fashion is that you’re basically being put in the public hot seat by douchebags who are superior to all other douchebags because those in Congress SAY they are. Additionally, it’s not as though politicians are squeaky clean folks, it’s like having a convicted serial rapist call you in front of your parents, teachers and friends to give you sexual advice. It’s distasteful in and of itself because they only call you in for good news when you’re already made aware of your medal or whatever.
How do you look like less of a douchebag when the douchebag mothership calls you in for a visit? Well, you can’t. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t because it’s a witch hunt our more asshole-y politicians use to sucker people into thinking congress does things or gives two shits about the people they represent over their own interests. Sony’s entire approach to this situation from the beginning has essentially been summed up as “DON’T!”, and their response hasn’t changed here making their “I’ve got a doctor’s note” style excuse look pretty flakey and otherwise labeling them further in the public consciousness as a corporation of douchebags trying to cover their collective asses.
What does a trip before Congress accomplish? Jack and Shit. Remember when the Oil Tycoons were brought before Congress because of outrageous gas prices and the politicians desperate for votes were actually in-fighting on National Television because the politicians that were hoping for continued
bribes campaign support were defending them and trying to grant them special treatment in the hot seat? Yeah, if you’ve seen a gas station (that still happens to be in business) you’ve also seen their jaw-dropping prices on gas, so the “tribunal” Congress launched didn’t do shit and prices on gas have almost more than doubled nationwide.
The only thing Congress could do to Sony is rail against them on National Television, screaming and raving as they boiled over with accusatory and inflammatory assertions towards Sony’s failure to psychically predict a super-hacking after their whole defense had been bent over and violated by “hack-tivists”. Likewise, As Congress tries to blame Sony, the flailing Electronics giant points its finger at the notoriously difficult to finger Anonymous claiming they planted stuff in their servers, etc.
To clarify, I’m not about to defend Sony, but I’m also not defending Anonymous because the majority of this stuff just seems OFF for them. I’m looking at a bigger picture where a bunch of well-meaning cyberterrorists worked in tandem to cripple a Network in order to get Sony’s attention, but in their combined efforts they also left Sony’s door open for smart, calculating people to burst in and grab everything they could carry, leaving something that would keep Sony looking to Anonymous for responsibility for this hack job.
It’s pretty much the perfect crime. I mean, who’d sympathize with the cyber-terrorists, right?!? The 77 million victims certainly would not be in a forgiving mood and these guys would want blood on an international scale, it would be TOTALLY in the interest of the governments, churches and interest groups that have been undermined by Anonymous’ actions to have them thoroughly vilified making them less interested in finding out who REALLY conducted the hack and far more interested in stringing up as many Anon folks as they could muster using the Sony hack as a license to circumvent as many rights as possible to shut them down in order to prevent any further Hacktivist watchdog groups from retaliating down the line.
I could be wrong, I HOPE I’m wrong and that the REAL criminals will be brought to REAL justice, but I’m finding this a little too easy to blame on Anyonymous, especially when they as a hacktivist group WANT to be blamed for things (like taking down PSN awhile back). They disable websites, masquerade in Guy Fawkes masks in person, post people’s info attacking those on the decision-making ladder to make them suffer for their choices, they’re not Robin Hood by any means, but their intentions have never been about money. They’ve practically been anarchists on the internet, but when taking the spurs to a mega corp full of money things get complicated. I suspect the ease into which Anon-hackers peered into the members’ account is why the organization stopped its raids on their servers so mysteriously in order to let Sony build its fucking defenses, hence their insistence that they never wanted to hurt the customers Sony had been neglecting as it undermined their own efforts to sway the company.
Sony is semi-desperate not to look like the bad guy and to be perfectly honest, we all know they’re not the bad guy. We know. Sony didn’t leave our info out by the dumpster, but their actions before during and after the hack have been questionable, arrogant and even suspicious. How so? Well, Sony rolled out their legal teams to bring romantic-rump-justice to the guys who found the Root Key to the PS3 and when it came time to face their vict-er, defendants the only one STUPID enough to publicly identify himself was Hotz making him Sony’s #1 target. They tracked another one in Germany, but have otherwise kept their hacker search pretty low-key (mostly because it appears no one is interested in surrendering their customer information or, unlike Hotz, they understand the concept of subtlety).
No one likes big, rich companies. They are “THE MAN” and no one likes “THE MAN”, a fact Sony is all too aware of during its several decades of obsessive control over products it sold and I think obsessive doesn’t do their actions justice and the people that otherwise lived uncomfortably in their midst. Sony has to win a battle of public opinion in order to make any headway in regaining all the consumer trust it has lost and that’s probably the hardest thing this company will ever do, assuming it doesn’t end up committing every cent and asset it has towards that very goal.
To start making themselves look better, Sony needs to make a villain and they’ve been working on that for awhile… to no avail. While Hotz isn’t exactly sympathetic, he’s not evil. He’s just dumb. Anonymous isn’t entirely discernible, so they’re scary because their presence and purpose is difficult to digest entirely and things people don’t understand are always scary, but Anonymous has a resume that kind of distinguishes their actions as being benign. Or perhaps I should refer to Anonymous as “mostly harmless” cyber-terrorists with the best of intentions? They still sound better than a greedy corporation telling you when, how and where to use your device and while I’m not hacking my PS3 to be a machine of the Gods on mount Olympus, it irks me that Sony asserts that there’s no consequence for selling me a device and telling me what to do with it post-sale.
So now, Sony is still going to try and finger Anonymous. Before Sony came clean the FBI was deployed in relation to the breach and they rounded up forty or so Anons (Anonymouses?) to answer for a crime Sony couldn’t fully fathom. They continue to assert that it is the fault of Anonymous. Meanwhile they still have to regain trust of their the customers who got the shaft, including the SOE MMO customers who Sony tried to assure were kind/sorta/mostly safe-ish until they confirmed that there was a precise number of people affected by the hack. Uh oh… So they’re offering all manner of limited, totally intangible apologies including a Batman mask/cowl thing, but not BATMAN’S, of course. Playstation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners who comprise the majority of the victims are still being assured some “free thing(s)” including access to PlayStation Plus for a month on Sony’s completely new network. SOE folks have a free month tacked on from the day they were inconvenienced as well.
Free Batman stuff is a nice start, but they have a long way to go before people want to trust their service again en masse. The mere concept of people looking into Xbox live is shocking because although a lot of Sony’s services were otherwise “free”, the cost of “free” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence anymore. They at least offered access to online sales (unlike Xbox Live) and that was a big freakin’ deal and I really hope that doesn’t change because if they lose that then they may as well pack up and go home.
So Sony needs to take it in the teeth and business-wise they seem hesitant to take blame or take things in their teeth, which may make forgiving them down the line a little difficult because it would be so much easier to empathize with them if they acted like humans. A bow to the Japanese is nice, but Kevin Butler could never be more essential to keeping Sony afloat than he is now and I am only seeing him trying to sell Move-related FPS gear these days for Socom, stressing the whole squad aspect… which needs to be online… which hasn’t been for quite awhile.
So yeah. They need to get ahead of the news. They need to be ON THE BALL. They need to be above water. They need to stop trying to shift blame because hackers or no, the buck will always stop at Sony’s door because it happened on their watch and they held on to the morsel of information that could have made all the difference for millions of people. Time-Warner isn’t going to turn to Sony for ANOTHER MMO title ever, Freerealms is an ironically named place now and the internet just got a lot less friendly to Sony altogether making their attempt at saving the company name all the more difficult to accomplish. So they better get started on making themselves look less like victimized assholes and more like competent, caring and recovering folks that intend to truly “make good” on helping their customers and keeping them happy enough not to launch ANOTHER class action suit against Sony.