/ Xeni Jardin / 11 am Fri, Dec 19 2014
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  • Obama on hack: "Sony made a mistake" in killing 'The Interview'

    Obama on hack: "Sony made a mistake" in killing 'The Interview'

    Citing increased cybersecurity threats, President suggests "more rules about how the internet should operate"

    Screengrab from White House live stream of President Obama's final press conference of 2014, on December 19, 2014.

    President Obama gave his final press briefing of 2014 today, and the hack attacks on Sony Pictures, which the administration blames on North Korea, were reporters' first questions. "Sony made a mistake" by pulling the film from theaters, replied the president.

    Obama began by recapping a list of administration accomplishments: energy, the economy, completion of the auto industry bailout, American leadership around the world with regard to the Islamic state, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and leading the fight against Ebola. Energy and climate change were on his list, as was Cuba and the end of America's combat mission in Afghanistan. "Pick any metric that you want," said Obama. "America’s resurgence is real. We’re better off."

    But the main topic on everyone's minds today was the bizarre series of hacking attacks on Sony Pictures, which the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and now Obama himself have formally blamed on North Korea. The breach appears to have been motivated by "The Interview," a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen about the assassination of the regime's leader, Kim Jong-Un. The hackers demanded that Sony not release it, under threat of violence. Sony complied.

    One important point in the President's remarks today: a potentially ominous nod to the need for more regulation and control over the internet. The internet now is like "the Wild West," he said, "We need more rules about how the internet should operate." Cybersecurity is an urgent issue, and the Sony hacks underscore that, said the president. But when heads of state talk about more state control over the internet, rarely does greater freedom of speech result.

    Below, our live-tweets on the portion of the press conference that addressed the Sony hacks.

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