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The Japanese government won't let Sony restart its online services as it's unsure if the company is doing enough to protect Japanese consumers. The PlayStation Network was recently restored in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and other locations.  (Source:
Government says it won't authorize reboot unless Sony shows what precisely it's doing to protect customers

Citizens across Japan, Europe, and America fell victim to a massive breach of privacy thanks to lax security at Sony Corp. (6758).  As many as 101 million individuals are thought to have lost personal information including hashed (but not salted) passwords, plaintext usernames, addresses, and birth dates.  It is unclear whether Sony also lost tens of millions of other customers’ credit card information.

For American, Canadian, and European customers the PlayStation Network (PSN) is now back online after being shutdown for over three weeks while Sony tried to assess the extent of the damage and secure its systems.

But in Japan the network is still down and may remain so for some time.  The Japanese government has refused to let Sony restart the network without providing more explicit proof that it is securing the network.

Kazushige Nobutani, the director of the Media and Content Industry department at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, comments, "We met with Sony on May 6 and 13, and basically we want two things from them. The first is preventative measures. As of May 13, Sony was incomplete in exercising measures that they said they will do on the May 1 press conference."

The second key point was that the Japanese government is demanding Sony address what steps it’s taking to protect customers whose credit card data may have been stolen.  Sony Japan has been less specific about what measures it has been taking, as opposed to Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC , which announced that it would be providing customers with a year of free identity theft coverage.

The PlayStation Network is currently back online in Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East, though it remains down in Japan and some other locations (such as China and South Korea).

Sony is also working to restore its Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) service, which was also compromised as part of the breach.  SOE offers services for certain streaming music and video offerings and also supports online games like DC Universe.

The company is currently struggling to clear the cloud of negative publicity.  It is currently facing several high profile class action lawsuits internationally, in addition to multiple government inquiries.  Customers have reportedly also been returning their PS3s and trying to trade-in their consoles for cash towards purchasing Xbox 360s.

No charges have yet been filed against those involved in the data breach.  Sony claims the online hacker collective Anonymous might have been involved, but the majority of members of the collective rebuked this claim.  Sony has presented no evidence indicating that it's figured out exactly who was involved.

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RE: gov't protecting its citizens
By nolisi on 5/16/2011 2:27:45 PM , Rating: 4
Seems like systems tend to the extremes of over-regulation or under-regulation, though...

I think we might be failing to look at things from a wider perspective...

We assume that the government is hindering Sony and "protecting" consumers by preventing them from reinstating their service. Why is this not also seen as the Japanese government stepping in to protect Sony as well? By double checking Sony and asking for disclosure, the government is helping to protect what's left of Sony's tarnished reputation, and even bolstering it by backing them up when they provide evidence that enhance security has been implemented. If the Japanese government steps in and qualifies Sony's response to the public, that will help to reinstate trust in Sony as a brand, meanwhile validating the substantial investment in Sony's product.

I have Rock Band for PS- I've made a substantial investment in peripherals, expansion and tracks that I have purchased over the years that I can't transfer over to Xbox. And I still purchase new tracks, and updates are regularly made to add features, fix bugs, etc. As a consumer, I'm torn between making a reinvestment to migrate to what I percieve is a more secure system to recieve updates/expansion packs, or cutting myself off because of perception of insecurity and mismanagement by Sony. Government validation of the improved security reassures me as a consumer and gives me more confidence in trusting Sony with my data.

Further, take a look at the last few months for Japan- Sony is a Japanese company, and only a few months ago, because of corporate mismanagement of a Japanese nuclear plant, Japan is now suffering from a partial meltdown, and the nuclear industry has suffered a massive political setback. These events combined damages world perception of the Japanese making superior products.

By increasing accountability (which is reasonable and different from regulation) and providing the positive perception of government certification, Japan is not only protecting consumers, but helping Japanese businesses and safeguarding its already fragile economy.

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