What We Know About the New U.S. Sanctions Against North Korea In Response to Sony Hack

President Obama has signed an executive order issuing sanctions against North Korean businesses and entities in the wake of the Sony Pictures hack.

The sanctions, which were announced on the Department of Treasury’s website Friday, are the first part of what the government has said will be a “proportional” response to the recent cyber attack against Sony and threats of violence against American movie theaters, which US officials say was supported by the North Korean government. The sanctions will impact several North Korean businesses and government agencies, as well as 10 government officials, who will be prohibited from dealing with the U.S. financial system.

Importantly, these 10 individuals are not accused of playing any role in the hacking of Sony, though they are said to have been involved in anti-American activities in the past.

“This step reflects the ongoing commitment of the United States to hold North Korea accountable for its destabilizing, destructive and repressive actions, particularly its efforts to undermine U.S. cyber-security and intimidate U.S. businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech,” the announcement reads.

It’s clear that this is in many ways a symbolic move. North Korea is a country already saddled with sanctions, so these new measures are less potent than they would be in another country with friendlier diplomatic relations with the United States. The sanctions announced Friday affect a North Korean arms dealer, an intelligence agency, and a defense research contractor.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that U.S. officials have cited evidence that North Korea is behind the Sony hack, some cyber security experts remain unconvinced, as the attack against Sony didn’t resemble past cyber attacks by nation states.

For now, however, the U.S. is doubling down on its insistence that North Korea is the culprit. According to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew, the goal of the sanctions is to “further isolate key North Korean entities and disrupt the activities of close to a dozen critical North Korean operatives.”

“We will continue to use this broad and powerful tool to expose the activities of North Korean government officials and entities,” he said in a statement.

Whether further isolating an already isolated country is just punishment, however, remains to be seen.

How Quantified-Self Will Redefine the Future of the Enterprise



The last several years have marked the rise of the Internet of Things and Big Data. These trends enabled individuals to gain unprecedented insights into their own daily behaviors through self-quantification technologies, ultimately empowering them to make healthier daily decisions. But self-quantification technologies won’t only allow us to control our waistlines—they’re also poised to help us reclaim our most valuable resource: time.

With this influx of technologies in our daily lives, the line between work and home-life is increasingly blurred, placing competing demands on our time and making it seemingly impossible for people to have any time for themselves. Ironically, technology itself is what will help us regain our time.

Reclaiming Time With Data, Visibility and Analytics

Today and beyond, the self-quantification trend will evolve beyond physical health to encompass all aspects of people’s daily lives—including time spent at work. Just as individual consumers have embraced wellness self-quantification data, including minutes spent moving and calories consumed, employees will embrace technologies, such as people analytics, at work to better inform individual and team performance trends.

[ Also on Insights: Will 2015 Be the Year Your Watch Teaches You About Your Health? | Improving Patient Care With Wearables ]

The data gleaned through feedback and people analytics technologies will provide unprecedented insights around workplace habits, including time spent in email, collaborating with others, walking to meetings and even chatting with coworkers, sensed through near-field communications and micro transmitters. Personal dashboards can report on employees’ daily activities and provide feedback loops that empower individual employees, departments and companies to improve performance and efficiency.

External studies support the prediction, with a report published recently by the World Economic Forum suggesting that increased connectivity through new technologies and big data could result in $14.4 trillion of added value across global industries. These commercial gains are driven by the opportunity for improvements in employee productivity, asset utilization and innovation.

Extraordinary Insight Into How Time is Invested

People analytics and daily performance feedback technologies will essentially transform how organizations understand time investment and forecast performance. With data collected from these technologies, businesses can begin predicting employee performance and attrition based on their own internal data.

For example, an employee’s time spent in one-on-one meetings with a manager is highly correlated with outstanding sales performance. Using their own internal data, companies are capable of predicting a salesperson’s quota attainment based on time spent with management and other network characteristics. Furthermore, a salesperson can benchmark her own networking and collaboration behaviors using a personalized performance dashboard and course-correct before the quarter’s end.

Improving the Way Work Works

Just as consumer self-quantification technologies empower individuals to make healthier decisions, data assembled by people analytics technologies allows both individual employees and entire enterprises to invest time more strategically and predict overall performance based on real-time data. While many enterprises already use big data technologies externally, the workplace of the future will apply these analytics internally.

People’s fascination with their own data is seemingly insatiable. As emerging technologies empower individuals to make healthier daily decisions, people analytics and big data will help employees invest their time in ways that propel individual performance forward and drive business outcomes. In the future, the workplace will be the next frontier for self-performance technologies.

Ryan Fuller is co-founder and CEO of VoloMetrix.

Our 10 Favorite Comics and Graphic Novels of the Year


Reboots of vintage characters, two toy lines sharing the same page, an entirely new Ms. Marvel on the scene—2014 was a pretty eclectic year in the world of comics and graphic novels. It had a whole new multiverse from Grant Morrison and a pair of Sex Criminals, too. Peruse the gallery above to see our 10 favorite books of 2014.

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