North Korea denies hacking; wants joint probe with U.S.

The country's threat of "grave consequences" if offer isn't accepted likely isn't helping its case

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 20, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3b01

If you've been following the story of Sony, the massive hacking, and how it has been handling the controversy over The Interview (and you know you have), then you know its also turning into one of the strangest stories in years. 

We've heard from everyone and their mother about what has transpired, including the President of the United States, but one entity we have not heard from in all of this is North Korea, the country that both President Obama and the FBI have both pointed their fingers at as the main culprit behind these cyber attacks. Well, now we have, and the response is likely just what you'd expect from North Korea.

The country is denying the United States' accusations that it was behind the hackings at Sony, according to a report from Reuters on Saturday, with an unnamed spokesman of the North's foreign ministry calling the accusations "groundless slander."

That part should probably be expected; I don't think it's exactly in North Korea's best interest to poke the United States too hard, even if it does have an influential, if tenuous, friend in China. But the statement almost immediately goes off the rails when the country then says it actually wants to work with the U.S. to find the real hackers (did North Korea turn into OJ Simpson?)

"We propose to conduct a joint investigation with the U.S. in response to groundless slander being perpetrated by the U.S. by mobilizing public opinion," the North Korean spokesman is quoted as saying.

And then there is this, because it would not be North Korea, the country that once vowed to turn Washington into "a sea of fire," if there was not some kind of threat of violence.

"If the U.S. refuses to accept our proposal for a joint investigation and continues to talk about some kind of response by dragging us into the case, it must remember there will be grave consequences."

Even when the North Koreans try to be helpful, they just can't seem to help themselves from going too far. There's no word on whether President Obama is going to accept the proposal, but it seems unlikely, especially given that our government has already begun talks with other countries in the region, including Japan, China, Russia and South Korea, on what to do about the situation.

So far Japan and South Korea have both said they would cooperate in our efforts, whatever they turn out to be.

This pretty bizarre statement from North Korea is just the latest twist and turn in what is turning out to be a fascinating story, and one that will, no doubt, have wide-reaching implications for Hollywood, our entire entertainment industry and likely our relationships with many countries in the Asia Pacific region.

First there was the hacking that exposed Sony executives to be petty, snarky and just a wee bit racist. Then there was complete capitulation to kill the movie by Sony and the major movie theater chains over vague threats of violence sent over by a dictator living halfway across the world, an act seen as so cowardly that even the President of the United States publicly called them out on it. 

Sony is now backtracking, saying it is trying to get the movie out via on demand, but that it can't get any services to bit, completely ignoring that fact that it owns a VOD service called Crackle.

I'm certainly not the first person to say this, but it needs to be said anyway: the absolutely best, and truly incredibly, bizarre part of this entire story is that a stoner comedy from Seth Rogen and James Franco has set off a major international crisis. 

If Hollywood had any guts, it would make a movie out of this. 

(Image source: hollywoodreporter.com)