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Sony case underlines cyber security needs for India

columns Updated: Dec 22, 2014 03:15 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
The interview

Hollywood, the glamorous film industry of the world’s biggest votary of free speech, the US, has withheld the release of “The Interview” after threats linked to North Korean hackers upset over the comedy built around the assassination of its leader, Kim Jong-un.

The US and North Korea are in a diplomatic face-off, with Pyongyang denying charges that it was behind the hacking that led to the stealing of embarrassing confidential e-mails – and even an early screenplay of the next James Bond movie. How ironic is that!

“James Bond may need a licence to kill, but North Korea only needed an Internet connection and computers to cripple an entire company,” said the respected technology news site,, adding. “China, Israel, France, Syria and the US are among the world's most powerful countries that have amassed armies of hackers engaged in cyber warfare.”

The cases involving Australian Julian Assange’s whistleblower site WikiLeaks and US whistleblower Ed Snowden, a former security official, exposed how free speech is vulnerable to state control.

India started a National Cyber Security Policy framework in 2013 but it is still largely a work in progress that needs to fleshed out – although it details well the nature of the threats and the responses needed. The Sony case shows that Big Brother who watches the network may be a necessary evil. This can potentially hurt privacy and free speech. Are we in a Devil vs Deep Sea situation?

(India’s National Cyber Security Policy framework can be accessed here .)