Recently we learned that Sony will not distribute the new Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy "The Interview" because of terrorist threats against the theaters that would show it. The film ridicules the Korean dictation Kim Jong Un. Sony pulled the film not because (as many are saying) they lack a spine, but because the theater owners refused to show the film once the bombing threats were issued.
Their lawyers told them that if anyone got hurt in their theaters, they would be liable and would be sued by the families of those affected. And all this happened shortly after North Korean hackers broke into Sony's computers and stole social security numbers, home addresses, emails, and god knows what else.
At the same time we are learning more and more about just how awful the CIA's torture program got, and perhaps how bad it sometimes still is. The west is losing whatever moral ascendency it had, and at the same time losing our technological superiority.
We fought WWII because Hitler and Mussolini and Tojo were threatening the world, and we won because we out-produced them and innovated. Much of the world now sees us as the threat, our productiveness is not what it used to be, and our innovations cannot save us anymore.
Today we are vulnerable to those who can threaten us from afar (hacking) and by infiltration (bombs in the subway). No armies are needed, and no "mutually assured destruction" threat will protect us. If ISIS or whatever the next group will be called decides we deserve to suffer, they can make it happen. If they decide a movie must not be released, they can keep it from being released. The game has decidedly changed.
I don't know what we can do about cyberterrorism, or any terrorism for that matter, apart from removing ourselves as such a glaring target. We need to regain our moral ascendency, and we need to do it soon.
Friday, December 19, 2014
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