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Is reading Sony’s hacked emails the same as looking at hacked nude pics?

A group of intelligent losers with too much time on their hands (for the sake of this discussion, we’ll call them “hackers”) piped into Sony’s mainframe and wormed their way into the private email correspondence of some of Hollywood’s biggest execs.

(Warning: The following contains spoilers.)

As we read one headline after another, garnered from private emails that were never written for public consumption, we have to ask — isn’t reading anything related to the Sony email hack on par with looking at the hacked nude celebrity photos? A privacy breach is a privacy breach. Does it really matter what the content is?

More: Sony hacks: A timeline of every dirty detail revealed

On Wednesday, we read that Sony execs referred to Angelina Jolie as a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in a heated (and now hacked) email exchange. We learned that Sony plans a Men in Black and 21 Jump Street hybrid movie, courtesy of stolen information. We were also informed that Sony’s CEO told Seth Rogen to make the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un less gruesome at the end of The Interview. (It would be our guess that neither Sony nor Rogen is in love with the ending of their movie being leaked before it has been released.) Also, according to the hacked emails, a Spider-Man comedy may be in the works.

More: Sony hack exposes how execs really feel about Angelina Jolie

Another hack, the infamous nude celebrity photo hack of October 2014, left several celebrities, um, exposed. Jennifer Lawrence was one of the first and most publicized hacks, and she had fighting words for those who looked at her private collection of pictures, that — again – were never meant for public consumption. “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.”

More: Jennifer Lawrence says photo hack is a sex crime: Do you agree?

It’s a federal crime to open snail mail for a reason. That’s federal — with an “f.” It’s punishable with up to five years in prison. We exchange the type of personal information in the mail that could put us at risk for fraud, identity theft, etc., if it falls into the wrong hands. Disclosing email content carries the same punishment as opening someone else’s snail mail, as it should.

The issue here, however, is not content. It shouldn’t matter if it’s nude photos that were meant for someone’s boyfriend or a Sony exec throwing shade at Angelina Jolie. The underlying theme between both of these hacks is that a breach of privacy was committed. So if we’re reading the content of hacked emails, is that any different from looking at the hacked nude photos? Isn’t it the same as rooting through someone’s closet, or snooping through your host’s medicine cabinet, or reading someone’s diary? How is reading the content of these emails any different?

It’s hard at times to feel any real sympathy for celebrities because there is so much perceived wealth, entitlement and diva behavior in Hollywood. The victims here are also not the issue, however. The theft of private information is.

So what do you think? Is reading the content of these hacked emails any different than looking at nude hacked photos? Think about the content of your email right now. There’s bound to be at least one or two exchanges that you wouldn’t want made public, even in your smaller circle. And wouldn’t having that content shared without your permission make you feel as if you are standing nude in front of a group of people?

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