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U.S. and Australian governments question Sony

Official pressure mounts as Sony denies hacker attempt to sell back information

As the security crisis which racks Sony grows ever more serious, the corporation has been firefighting on many fronts to contain the potential damage.

Firstly, Sony has vigorously denied reports that hackers have attempted to sell the stolen information back to the company.

"To my knowledge there is no truth to this report of a list, or that Sony was offered an opportunity to purchase the list," said Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications & social media on the official PlayStation Blog.

But Sony's woes do not end with the consolation of its customers, governments have also been making their unhappiness apparent.

Following the initial involvement of U.S. senator Richard Blumenthal, a House of Representatives subcommittee has also sent a letter to Sony asking for information about the attack.

The letter is addressed to Sony chairman Kazuo Hirai and asks 13 questions regarding when Sony first discovered evidence of the attack, who was responsible, and what steps it is taking to mitigate the effects of the breach.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has also already indicated it is to quiz Sony over the breach, but it is not yet clear if other government agencies will also become involved.

In Australia the scandal has inspired the federal government to announce plans for a law forcing companies to disclose privacy breaches. Newspaper WA Today reports that 1,560,791 Australian accounts were affected as a result of the Sony attack, with 280,000 credit card details compromised.

Although there is no indication of when the law might come into use, the Australian government has also questioned Sony over their actions and security, with privacy minister Brendan O'Connor commenting that he is, "very concerned" over the data loss.

"Sony isn't alone. We've seen serious privacy-related incidents in recent months involving other large companies," said O'Connor. "All companies that collect customers' personal information must ensure that the information is safe and secure from misuse."

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David Jenkins

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