Ex-employees sue Sony for failure to protect data

Suit filed in LA court argues Sony should have been ready following PlayStation Network raid

Tags: Cyber crimeJapanSony CorporationUSA
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Ex-employees sue Sony for failure to protect data
By  Stephen McBride Published  December 17, 2014

Two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment are suing the company for failure to protect their personal data, following a cyber-attack in November that has left the company's reputation tarnished on a number of fronts.

According to Reuters, the suit was filed in a Los Angeles court on Monday and accuses Sony Corp's US-based film studio of failure to adequately guard against data theft. As well as crippling the company's network for a week, the breach included a raid on the company's digital assets, including copies of movies and early drafts of scripts.

But it is personal data that lies at the heart of the lawsuit. Embarrassing emails, sensitive contracts, social security numbers, healthcare records and salary information were compromised by Guardians of Peace (GOP), the group claiming responsibility for the attack.

"An epic nightmare, much better suited to a cinematic thriller than to real life, is unfolding in slow motion for Sony's current and former employees," the lawsuit said.

While only two former employees are named as plaintiffs so far, lawyers acting for them have claimed that dozens of ex-Sony workers have contacted them, meaning the filing may become a class-action suit.

The filing argues that Sony "knew or should have known that such a security breach was likely" because of previous attacks, such as that of a 2011 incursion of its PlayStation Network, which resulted in Sony paying $15m in settlements to customers.

But while some settlements do occur, Marcia Hoffman, a San Francisco-based attorney who specializes in Internet law, told Reuters she was not aware of any explicit judgments for such plaintiffs at trial.

"I'm not saying it could never happen," she said. "I'm saying this is a pretty cutting-edge, novel complaint."

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