[Ed. – The following is a guest editorial by Larry Hart, Director of Government Relations for the American Conservative Union.]
Just weeks after Barack Obama’s election as president in 2008, his chosen Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had this to say to the Wall Street Journal about the economic collapse that Fall: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” indicating that the Obama Administration would exploit that crisis to pass their political agenda.
The apparently state-sponsored cyberattack on the Sony Company by North Korea has brought a long simmering crisis to a boil and may force the U.S. and other countries to act. Instead of joining forces with others to protect the Internet from these cyberterrorists, Google has used it for their own political purposes, by saying that the movie industry will try to bring back legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Mayor Emanuel may be smiling at this but we at the American Conservative Union are not.
All that the Sony emails revealed is that the motion picture industry is working with law enforcement officials to discuss ways that existing law can be used to stop online theft of intellectual property, as well they should. They have said they have no plans to revive old legislation and should be taken at their word.
There are two separate issues here. One is intellectual property theft, the other is cyberterrorism.
ACU is a long-time supporter of intellectual property rights and strongly opposes online piracy. At the same time, we have opposed federal government mandates that would interfere with the Internet freedom we all enjoy. We hope that all concerned with this issue will work together to find appropriate solutions to this serious problem.
The Sony emails may be punch line fodder for late night comedians but this is serious stuff. It is critical that the U.S and the rest of the world wake up to the international cyber-attack threat and find ways to defend against it. What we should not be doing is exploiting these serious problems to make our political points.