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Palin E-mail Hacker Indicted

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the very-stealthy dept.

The Courts 846

doomsdaywire writes "A University of Tennessee student who is the son of a Memphis legislator has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hacking Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail. [...] If convicted, [David C.] Kernell faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set."

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What a dumb crime. (5, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 6 years ago | (#25301411)

This is the dumbest crime ever. If he really did it, I just wish he would say, "Yeah I did it, I'm an idiot - just look at my goofy hair." Then they could cite him with a $200 fine for disorderly conduct and we could all move on with our lives. But the fact that he's pleading not guilty is going to give this whole thing legs both in the court and in the media.

Maybe the media is what he wants. (3, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 6 years ago | (#25301451)

When this whole thing came out, I learned that Sarah Palin was illegally using personal email accounts for business email, supposedly to avoid leaving the electronic trail. THAT was eye opening.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301515)

When this whole thing came out, I learned that Sarah Palin was illegally using personal email accounts for business email, supposedly to avoid leaving the electronic trail.

THAT was eye opening.

Somehow I think avoiding prison just might be a more plausible motivation. I bet he would have jumped at a plea-bargain for disorderly conduct (assuming they got the right guy, of course).

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (1, Informative)

operagost (62405) | about 6 years ago | (#25301549)

Close your eyes; it's not illegal.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301859)

Close your eyes; it's not illegal.

The freedom of information act would disagree.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (4, Interesting)

cizoozic (1196001) | about 6 years ago | (#25301551)

Personally I forgot it happened until I saw this story. At least the trial should bring this back out into the open... But my guess is that nothing will happen to Palin and this guy will get punished. Sorry, I'm just your typical American who has lost a great deal of faith in our government, economy, and legal system.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (2, Interesting)

jcnnghm (538570) | about 6 years ago | (#25301585)

The last time something like this happened, it was called Watergate. Nothing incriminating was actually found in that account, and it's naive to assume that off-the-record negotiation doesn't almost always occur before formal negotiation and voting.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (5, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | about 6 years ago | (#25301705)

That's all well and good, but bragging to the world about what you did because you thought it would make you leet is still stupid.

I personally think this deserves punishment, regardless of whose email account he happened to crack. It doesn't matter if it was the Republican nominee for VP or Joe Six-Pack's, and it doesn't matter what portentous revelations came of it.

But the punishment needs to fit the crime. Certainly any sort of jail time would be excessive to say the least. But kids like these need to understand that there are limits and rules which are more important than having a chuckle with the internet. At the very least it should be a lesson on how not to announce to the world what you did.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (1, Flamebait)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | about 6 years ago | (#25301797)

I also learned she is as technically illiterate as McCain. A Yahoo account, using basic password recovery questions, and her zip code? Hopefully you (and he?) will be right, and publicity will expose her sheer incompetence, if not her attempts to hide official communications. He wasn't even a hacker, just a bored kid with google and half a brain*

Though, on the upside, having politicians so stupid they can't even properly hide evidence makes it that much easier to prosecute later on.

*With a full brain, he would have been behind multiple proxies, and edited the screenshots to remove the URL, and made a complete backup of the entire mailbox. Or just pirate public wireless, you could do this from Starbucks.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (4, Interesting)

Holmwood (899130) | about 6 years ago | (#25301869)

Except she wasn't conducting business illegally, and I'm puzzled as to why you'd falsely post that as a justification for an immoral and illegal act. As the hacker Rubico apparently said:

Earlier it was just some prank to me, I really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING, I read everything, every little blackberry confirmation⦠all the pictures, and there was nothing

See, for example, here:
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/09/17/the-story-behind-the-palin-e-mail-hacking/ [michellemalkin.com]

Personally, I prefer Tina Fey to Sarah Palin, but the emails I saw reprinted, while to political colleagues, were the kind that would be illegal (at least at the federal level) to send using government email accounts. For instance, she talked about her Lt-Governor's election campaign. Doing that kind of business on state accounts is a no-no.

But even if all that were not true, you're saying it's just fine to hack into someone's personal email account because you suspect they are guilty of something. So it's fine for the police to do that to you? You must love the Patriot Act and think it doesn't go remotely far enough.

Call that 1984.

Even if Palin had improperly conducted state business on yahoo (which would be stupid and illegal), hacking her email account is still immoral and illegal. I'm surprised that many people who normally are pro-freedom turn out to have very situational ethics when it comes to people they regard as political enemies. As others have said in this thread, a guy called Richard Nixon seemed to think that way.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (5, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 6 years ago | (#25302063)

Politicians don't deserve the same freedoms as citizens. Sorry to say this but they cannot be trusted with as much freedom. The most a citizen will do doesn't matter to national security w/e. But the president/vicepresident, congresscritters they can cause really big problems and when there are allegations of corruption and wrong doing they should NOT get the same level of privacy citizens are supposed to (but dont get regardless). Look up congression level hacks and almost ALWAYS corruption is found. Sorry, privacy is nice and all but when you find they took a few hundred grand or a house in bribes (previous congressmen) then the hack was well justified. Its the same as hacking/investigating people when you have a warrant. The bar should simply be set lower for politicians since they seem to set it lower.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302111)

But even if all that were not true, you're saying it's just fine to hack into someone's personal email account because you suspect they are guilty of something. So it's fine for the police to do that to you? You must love the Patriot Act and think it doesn't go remotely far enough.

No, but Nazi Germany does. [darknet.org.uk]

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (3, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | about 6 years ago | (#25301875)

Really? The contents of the emails were generally posted on-line. Which emails were you referring to?

In any case, remember that the appropriate standard here is what ALASKA law says she should do with her email. The current President is in some hot water over the Presidential Records Act, but that act doesn't apply to the Governor of Alaska.

If you have both personal and business relationships with people, it's quite common for information to be intermingled in personal and business email accounts. Nothing generally wrong with that.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#25302013)

How could you have learned that?

The entire mail archive was posted to wikileaks. Post ONE email from that archive (with appropriate obfuscations, of course) that supports that claim.

note: I'm not suggesting that she did or didn't do anything, only that I'm not convinced the evidence available supports the claim that she did.

note2: I'm not going to look through the archive myself. I don't want to look through someone else's private mail, and the burden of proof falls on the claim that she did commit wrongdoing, anyway.

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (5, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | about 6 years ago | (#25302027)

To the extent that there may have been e-mail there that was intended to avoid Alaska's public records law, there could have been a crime. However, we will now never know if that alleged illegal activity was taking place, because by compromising the account, this bozo gave Palin a perfect excuse to close the account and (presumably) destroy all the evidence. (And any evidence that can be recovered will be tainted.)

Given the presumption of innocence in US law, we now must presume that she did nothing wrong... even if she had in fact been doing exactly what is alleged. Way to go, fella!

Re:Maybe the media is what he wants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302057)

And you closed your eyes when the thief mentioned that he didn't find anything juicy in the emails? Some trail to hide, eh?

Re:What a dumb crime. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301595)

This is the dumbest crime ever. If he really did it, I just wish he would say, "Yeah I did it, I'm an idiot - just look at my goofy hair." Then they could cite him with a $200 fine for disorderly conduct and we could all move on with our lives. But the fact that he's pleading not guilty is going to give this whole thing legs both in the court and in the media.

Fortunately we live in a society where the rule of law prevails. If you think tampering with email is small potatoes, you just got your wake-up call.

indict Palin (0, Offtopic)

speedtux (1307149) | about 6 years ago | (#25301795)

Fortunately we live in a society where the rule of law prevails.

Apparently not, because Palin doesn't seem to have been indicted yet.

If you think tampering with email is small potatoes, you just got your wake-up call.

It's small potatoes compared to government officials trying to hide from federal reporting requirements by using insecure free E-mail accounts.

Palin's conduct has been unacceptable.

Re:indict Palin (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 6 years ago | (#25301959)

If the only proof of the Palin using yahoo to conduct official business came out becuase of the hacking of her account then its going to be hard to get it admitted as evidence. Its all fruit of the poisonous tree. He did much more harm than good. Besides doing something completely illegal.

Re:indict Palin (5, Informative)

rjhubs (929158) | about 6 years ago | (#25302091)

Completely incorrect. Fruit of the poisoness tree ONLY applies to searches done by police. As is the same with most other evidence law precedents. There may be another reason why it isn't admissable, but that is not it.

Re:indict Palin (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 6 years ago | (#25302103)

It could be put in the media and lose her votes. Whereas an official investigation would likely find nothing or be dismissed silently if mccain/palin get in to power.

Re:What a dumb crime. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302043)

Fortunately we live in a society where the rule of law prevails. If you think tampering with email is small potatoes, you just got your wake-up call.

Well hot damn, why can't I get the FBI to investigate and charge someone when we get DDoS'd?

You're out of your fucking mind to call this 'the rule of law prevailing'. The rule of law only prevails when you're a VP candidate and only when it benefits you. Every business that's ever had some asshole root their servers or DDoS their network agrees - nobody gives a shit, nobody will investigate.

Re:What a dumb crime. (5, Insightful)

Leebert (1694) | about 6 years ago | (#25301821)

When the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, "Guilty" is a dumb thing to say.

You can't make a deal with a prosecutor if you have zero leverage.

Remember, because of lawyers, common courtesy is dead. For example, you can no longer apologize at the scene of a car accident that's your fault, because then you might be sued.

Re:What a dumb crime. (3, Insightful)

boojit (256278) | about 6 years ago | (#25301825)

No.

Listen, I am no lover of the McCain-Palin ticket I can assure you, so this is not a partisan slant. But I'll say this: what this dumbass did is _completely_ out of line and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We don't allow this sort of behavior to go unpunished in a civilized society.

This stance does in no way let Palin off the hook for transgressing her government's policies on using outside email for business work, but that's not the point. Her privacy was violated in an illegal manner, and this cannot be tolerated for an instant. How can a person stand against government electronic surveillance while at the same time say the behavior of this individual is acceptable?

I've been a email server administrator for years. Privacy is extremely important to me, and I consider the attack on Palin's privacy to be an attack against us all. We should work to protect everyone's privacy, and in particular, stand up for the privacy rights of those with whom we do not agree. This is called "taking the high road."

Re:What a dumb crime. (4, Insightful)

Windows_NT (1353809) | about 6 years ago | (#25301975)

What id dont get is why if someone hacked my email, there is no way theyd get a penalty like that. the judge would look at me and say "tough love".
although it is illegal, i just dont care because since she is a celebrity right now, she has the pwer to do something about it. just goes to show you dont want her in office, because she thinks that she deserves special treatment. Also, although her daughter is hot (and so is she)

Obama, FTW!

Guilty with a felony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301925)

IANAFL but as I recall the default "plea" with a felony is "not guilty".

I'd ask a lawyer to correct me but I don't have cash or assets.

Dumb dumb dumb (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | about 6 years ago | (#25301429)

There used to be a show about dumb criminals and this guy - if memory serves me right - bragged about the hacking to just about anybody who'd listen, including his Betty Boop clock.

--
Oh well, Bad Karma and all . . .

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (1)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | about 6 years ago | (#25301461)

He's got a Betty Boop clock?

I would have thought it'd be Tweety Bird.

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301577)

Film at 11.

Security fix (5, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | about 6 years ago | (#25301483)

She changed her password to 0ldGuY=Mepr3z!!

Re:Security fix (3, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#25301867)

no no, it's I<3TheMaverick

Re:Security fix (1)

TheNecromancer (179644) | about 6 years ago | (#25302067)

No, I thought it was TinaFey=bitch

wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301487)

thats over 9000 dollars.

Re:wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301727)

5 years? That's almost eighty years!

This kid is in Obama Youth (-1, Troll)

New_Age_Reform_Act (1256010) | about 6 years ago | (#25301491)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxJ7t3U3TDg [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTm5rp8r6fE&feature=related [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD0-2CSph_A&feature=related [youtube.com]

When you see people willing to commit crimes for the one, you know something familiar is coming....

Re:This kid is in Obama Youth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301581)

because we all know that Nixon never had people willing to commit crimes for him.

Re:This kid is in Obama Youth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301775)

Welcome to a consumerist's democracy. Turn on your tv and stay a while.

I agree, it's sickening how brainwashed some people will let themselves become. But it's not like you're going to vote for a third party candidate. (If you are, then maybe there's some hope for the U.S. after all).

Plus, I'm pretty sure that the kid in that is the subject of this article didn't give a crap about Obama, at least before all of this went down. He was just your typical 4chan /b/-tard. It was never a crime to guess the answer to someone's "secret question" (a security practice that really should be taken out back and shot).

How strange! (5, Funny)

jesdynf (42915) | about 6 years ago | (#25301493)

My understanding was that illegally wiretapping American citizens carried neither fine nor penalty.

why parent offtopic ? (1, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#25301649)

can the moron who modded it offtopic explain the reason ?

so, government is ok when it ILLEGALLY wiretaps its citizens, but its not ok when the citizen does it ?

whats this, love of fascism, idiocy, morondom ? which ?

or did republican party unleashed a chapter full of registered members on slashdot ? i have noticed that A LOT of comments pointing to misdeeds of the current administration and the republican party and its candidates are being modded down with irrelevant moderation selections lately.. EVEN if you recite highly relevant, proven, undeniable FACTS. or is it a fault with the moderation screening process ?

Re:why parent offtopic ? (0, Offtopic)

cube135 (1231528) | about 6 years ago | (#25301889)

He's modded funny. Get over it.

Re:why parent offtopic ? (1)

omeomi (675045) | about 6 years ago | (#25302009)

so, government is ok when it ILLEGALLY wiretaps its citizens, but its not ok when the citizen does it ?

Pretty much, yeah. Where have you been the last 8 years?

Re:How strange! (3, Insightful)

AmericanGladiator (848223) | about 6 years ago | (#25301957)

My understanding was that illegally wiretapping American citizens carried neither fine nor penalty.

Your argument is pretty weak. Using your logic, because police officers detain suspects we the public should be able to as well. The public is not granted the same powers as law enforcement. The public enacts laws that apply in different ways to the general population vs law enforcement.

Re:How strange! (2, Informative)

Bryansix (761547) | about 6 years ago | (#25302029)

Well you don't understand wiretapping then. This is not it. Wiretapping means listening in on a conversation without intruding. This moron changed the password on the account and compromised it. This cause actual damages since she can't use the email address anymore since it has been compromised. At the very least it would have become a spam nightmare. This fraud is why he should stand trial and go to jail.

Bummer (4, Interesting)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#25301501)

Obviously, the perpetrator was not entitled to any of the information contained within that Yahoo! email account and should be punished for breaking the law. What sucks is that he not really being punished for breaking the law, rather he's being punished for making Sarah Palin and thus the GOP look bad.

Re:Bummer (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25301573)

One can only hope that he is prosecuted to the exact same extent that he would be prosecuted for hacking my Yahoo mail account.

Re:Bummer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301599)

You mean how the watergate burglars were punshied for more than simple breaking & entering?

Re:Bummer (4, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | about 6 years ago | (#25301603)

What sucks is that he not really being punished for breaking the law

Yes, he is.

rather he's being punished for making Sarah Palin and thus the GOP look bad.

Please stop reposting from the DailyKos.

Re:Bummer (0, Flamebait)

justdrew (706141) | about 6 years ago | (#25301919)

republican SCUM. you really think 'da authorities' would give a fuck if your email had been hacked? think they'd waste a dollar to find out who did it? bullshit.

Re:Bummer (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25301627)

he's being punished for making Sarah Palin and thus the GOP look bad.

He's being punished for breaking the law in a high-profile way. Millions of people get away with speeding every day, yet if I were to speed past a vigil for children killed by reckless drivers, and TV cameras caught it and it became a big news story, I'd expect to get busted for it. High profile crimes are typically prosecuted in a high profile way.

As for the assertion that it made the GOP look bad, how so? There was nothing incriminating there, he even commented himself on how disappointed he was when he was unable to find something to use against her. If anything, it's a net positive for the GOP since they've been victimized by a crime from Obama's supporters without any damage being done in the long run.

Re:Bummer (-1)

speedtux (1307149) | about 6 years ago | (#25301947)

As for the assertion that it made the GOP look bad, how so? There was nothing incriminating there,

Using a Yahoo account for official government business is a violation of government reporting requirements and security rules.

Re:Bummer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301753)

> What sucks is that he not really being punished for breaking the law,
> rather he's being punished for making Sarah Palin and thus the GOP look bad.

That would only make sense if he actually *found* any of the kind of thing he was looking for and, thus, actually made the aforementioned persons look bad. The only people who really look bad here are Yahoo, and perhaps other sites that follow a similar practice of encouraging users to use fundamentally highly insecure "Security Questions.

At worst Palin comes off looking she's not a computer security expert (everyone who is surprised about this, raise your hand), and at best she comes off looking like she has nothing to hide. The only way she'd look bad out of this would be if she got hateful and vindictive and angry about it and started screaming for justice, but she presumably has better political sense than that, having already run a successful campaign for office at the state level.

I'm sure Slashdot's privacy hypocrites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301511)

...will live up to their usual high standards.

Some are more equal than others... (5, Insightful)

DigitalGodBoy (142596) | about 6 years ago | (#25301533)

The only reason this is even news is because of the target. If there's no government communication on the account, why are the FBI and Secret Service involved?

How many times a day do bitter exs break into each others accounts? Nothing ever comes of those incidents.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 6 years ago | (#25301643)

So if burglars break into Obama's mansion in Illinois, the FBI and Secret Service should stay out of it? It's not a government building.

Breaking into email accounts is a Federal crime -- hence FBI involvement. The Secret Service protects Presidents and Presidential candidates -- hence Secret Service involvement.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (3, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25301933)

Hell fucking yes. If burglars break into Obama's mansion he should get the exact same response that I would get if a burglar broke into my place.

Obama is not King and we are not his subjects. He's a citizen like everybody else, who just happens to hold a high office. Law enforcement should not treat him specially just because of that.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (3, Informative)

cvd6262 (180823) | about 6 years ago | (#25301661)

How many times a day do bitter exs break into each others accounts? Nothing ever comes of those incidents.

It probably helps to be a public personality, but there are cases where people breaking into less-than-presidential-candidate-email have found themselves losing to the law:

http://news.google.com/news?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&tab=wn&nolr=1&hl=en&q=%22Larry+Mendte%22&btnG=Search+News [google.com]

Re:Some are more equal than others... (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#25301699)

The Secret Service is involved because they deal with Computer Crimes. Yes the target has something to do with it also. But it is not like they made up this law just because of this target. The kid was stupid for doing it. But hey he is the son of someone in the government he will get a slap on the wrist.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (1)

AmericanGladiator (848223) | about 6 years ago | (#25301801)

"liberty and justice for all those who can afford it" Unfortunately, this tag doesn't really apply to the Palins. They are no better off than your average couple.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25302005)

The salary for the position of governor of alaska was $81,648 [stateline.org] in 2001. It may be higher now. In any case, that amount is quite a bit more than "your average couple", although I'll freely admit that that is far from being rich. However, political connections can buy justice just as well, if not better, than money.

Re:Some are more equal than others... (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 6 years ago | (#25301923)

> why are the FBI and Secret Service involved?

Because it made the news, and so everyone is watching to see what they do. If they didn't do anything, it would look like they were soft on computer crime. (Yeah, okay, so I'm cynical. My philosophy prof, Dr. Forbes, told me I was too young to be so cynical. But I'm a few years older now, so maybe it's okay.)

$200 fine? More like $20,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301553)

I agree that this sort of crime shouldn't see any jail time, but the punishment should be painful nonetheless.

People who break into other people's mailboxes, whether physical or not, with the intent of damaging their reputation should pay a hefty fine.

Otherwise what stops anyone from breaking into their neighbor's mail on a daily basis? I thought Slashdot was all about privacy ;)

Re:$200 fine? More like $20,000 (2, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#25301723)

They are except when it happens to a republican then its all ok. Had this been Obamas' e-mail account they would be up in arms.

Re:$200 fine? More like $20,000 (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 6 years ago | (#25301833)

They are except when it happens to a republican then its all ok. Had this been Obamas' e-mail account they would be up in arms.

Don't be an idiot. Let those running for office be the idiots....per usual.

Re:$200 fine? More like $20,000 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301981)

Had this happened to Obama, by the son of a Republican McCain supporter, this would be front page, top of the hour news with the media demanding investigations into the republican political machine (the new Cyber-Watergate).

But-- since it was a conservative, we're all sure she was breaking the law and thus he was a justified hero.

After Obama wins all 57 states, he should pardon and appoint Kernell as the new Whitehouse Privacy head.

Re:$200 fine? More like $20,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302047)

He should be sentenced to four years in a Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Balance (4, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | about 6 years ago | (#25301563)

Is it just me, or does that sound a bit excessive for guessing the answers to her all-too-obvious "forgot password" questions? I'm not saying he shouldn't be punished, but no actual harm was done. How does this compare to what the punishment would be for, say, hacking into an ISP's mail server and obtaining root access? Or defacing a company's web site?

Re:Balance (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#25301779)

I think the law is dealing with the fact that it is an e-mail account, not who's account or what it is used for. Also just because they guessed the answers to the questions still means they broke the law to gained access to an e-mail account. This is no different then someone brute forcing there way into a pentagon e-mail account.

Re:Balance (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 6 years ago | (#25301969)

Tell that to Gary McKinnon who logged into US DoD and NASA computers because they had no blank passwords and is being extradited from the UK to the US with the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a US jail.

Whilst I agree there's something horribly wrong with such a simple crime with being punished so harshly it seems it's treated as if you walked round someones house looking through their stuff because they left the door open.

I do think realistically the punishment should be capped drastically lower if the victim did essentially leave the door open though as in the case of electronic break ins it's more down to curiosity and less to do with malice in those circumstances. It shouldn't carry a jail term, just community service and a fine of a maximum of a couple of hundred £ or something.

5 year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301569)

As far as I can tell, this is just a misdemeanor, which should carry at most a 1-year sentence. Does anybody have more details on this?

dom

Is that fine a bit large? (1, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | about 6 years ago | (#25301579)

Will sarah palin get a similar fine for using Yahoo mail to conduct official business?

Secondly, would the fine and prison term be that large if it was any old persons e-mail he hacked* into.

*If you consider asking Yahoo for the password to be hacking

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (0, Troll)

ciaohound (118419) | about 6 years ago | (#25301807)

if it was any old persons e-mail

Not really relevant, since old persons don't use email. Just ask John McCain.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (3, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | about 6 years ago | (#25301945)

Not really relevant, since old persons don't use email. Just ask John McCain.

John McCain can't type because his arms were repeatedly broken by the Vietnamese while he was a POW. Why do you insult disabled veterans?

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#25301809)

Secondly, would the fine and prison term be that large if it was any old persons e-mail he hacked* into.

High profile crimes tend to receive heavier punishment because when everyone is watching, it is easier to make an example of the defendant.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (4, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25302055)

Unfortunately the example it makes is that you can get away with crimes as long as the victim isn't important.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25301811)

*If you consider asking Yahoo for the password to be hacking

Seriously. I'm not saying that this guy deserves to get away scot-free, but I would suggest that perhaps the crime here is fraud, not breaking into a computer system (though all the sources I've seen are unclear as to what he's actually being charged with).

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (2, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | about 6 years ago | (#25302119)

"I'm not saying that this guy deserves to get away scot-free"

Siccing the Scots on him would be cruel and unusual.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#25301827)

Except she did not use it for official business. The guy that hacked it even said he did not find anything that showed her account being used for official business. But if it would make you happy i think they should investigate it. While they are at it they should investigate all of congress too because I am sure everyone does it if the Governor of Alaska does it.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301851)

One: There was a serious non-issue with the e-mails.

Two: Using the password was hacking regardless of what you think about asking for the password.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (0, Troll)

furball (2853) | about 6 years ago | (#25301855)

Has someone charged her with conducting official business with Yahoo! mail?

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (5, Insightful)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | about 6 years ago | (#25301891)

Enough with this.

I can't believe how many blindly partisan people simply ignore the violation of her privacy.

Would you have the same attitude if you had been the victim?
You'd be OK with someone hacking into your email, or perhaps browsing around your home to look for something that *might* indicate that you've done something wrong?
Would you say, "I guess I had it coming"?

I think it's sad that this (eternal) election has divided American citizens into Republicans or Democrats and not much else.

Damn.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (2, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25302107)

It's rather the opposite, really.

Perform this thought experiment. You discover that your e-mail account has been hacked. You call the police. What happens then?

If you answered "sweet fuck all" then you are correct! A normal person is never going to get law enforcement to dedicate any resources to the hacking of a free e-mail account. If you are very lucky then perhaps you'll be able to do all the legwork yourself, gather all the evidence pointing to the perpetrator, and convince the DA to prosecute. But even this is unlikely.

But if you're candidate for Vice President suddenly the FBI and Secret Service come swarming out of the woodwork and put this guy into PMITA Federal Prison post-haste!

Yeah, it sucks her privacy was violated. But I care much more about the fact that this guy is only getting prosecuted because he hacked the account of somebody "important".

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (1)

east coast (590680) | about 6 years ago | (#25301943)

Will sarah palin get a similar fine for using Yahoo mail to conduct official business?

This is against the law? Can you cite me the law that makes this illegal?

Secondly, would the fine and prison term be that large if it was any old persons e-mail he hacked* into.

I don't think this law was written with Palin in mind. Seriously, step back a second and see what you're really asking here. You're acting like the maximum sentence was just dreamed up on the spot. The maximum penalty for a crime is determined before anyone is ever charged with the crime. Let's wait and see how he fairs in court before we go ranting on about how abusive of a sentence it is. The boy hasn't even had his day in court yet.

My guess is that the charges will be lessened or dropped because of how high profile the case is. She doesn't want this kind of publicity. This is the same reasoning that politician use not to charge each other with slander during election season.

*If you consider asking Yahoo for the password to be hacking

The mere fact that he attempted to access an account that wasn't his and he wasn't authorized to access is probably good enough to find him guilty. Let's not get on our high horses about what is and is not a crime by 31337 terms. If we really wanted to downgrade society to that level we could let all kinds of things slide that are normally kept in check by the law. It's the proverbial slippery slope that we hear so much around here when it suits the posters needs.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302125)

1) Why can't she use a Yahoo account to conduct official business?

2) Did you mean a *personal* account? Well, then, I guess that would depend on whether it's been proven that she did so. Has it?

3) It's not highly technical, but it's still a hack.

Re:Is that fine a bit large? (1)

that IT girl (864406) | about 6 years ago | (#25302129)

It said this was her "personal" email, not an official business account. So... no.

Should make for a great trial! (2, Interesting)

cavis (1283146) | about 6 years ago | (#25301673)

A lot of great information has come out of this so far. On one hand, we have the Governor of Alaska and potential VP of the United States using a public e-mail system (with a really simple password hint) for state work. On the other hand, we have some college kid who used Wikipedia to find out personal information on Palin, hacked her account, bragged about it, then plead not guilty. Is this some type of contest to see who is dumber?

However, I think that there are going to be a whole lot of people that are going to learn a lesson here. Like most of you here, I know a few things about cyber security (I work in the field) but Joe Six-Pack really doesn't. Maybe this will open a few eyes and we can cut down on cyber crime.

Turned himself in? Really? (2, Informative)

phatvw (996438) | about 6 years ago | (#25301683)

"Kernell, the son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, turned himself in to federal authorities today."

Is this paragraph from the article misleading? I assume what they are getting at is that he didn't try to run away. I don't think he voluntarily went to the police and told them what he did. He was investigated and got caught, or at least the evidence points in his direction. Now he will take the heat like a man.

Either way, when he gets out of jail, he is going to get some major liberal/hacker tang!

Re:Turned himself in? Really? (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 6 years ago | (#25301883)

Is this paragraph from the article misleading? I assume what they are getting at is that he didn't try to run away

It's not misleading. Turning oneself in means delivering yourself into police custody, usually by driving down to the police station. This is opposed to the cops having to track you down. I don't believe it has anything to do with confessions.

Re:Turned himself in? Really? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#25301929)

What it usually means is they've already got a warrant for your arrest... and at this point you've got two choices - hide / run, or turn yourself in. He wisely chose the latter. The court doesn't like it when the law actually has to chase you down.

For reference, watch Dave Chappelle's bit on what it'd be like if black people got treated like white people regarding similar situations.

So.... (1)

nizo (81281) | about 6 years ago | (#25301747)

What are the penalties for carrying out official state business in an unsecured email account?

Re:So.... (1)

portnux (630256) | about 6 years ago | (#25301899)

I think Palin's damn lucky she isn't a democrat or she would be crucified. As it is, I think it's probably perfectly legal.

Insanely stupid crime (1)

Miladinoski (1280850) | about 6 years ago | (#25301749)

I mean, I'm not American, I don't know what are the laws in there, but I personally think that first of all Palin was guilty of the thing she used Y! mail to do professional business instead of using another paid provider that would serve her better. Like she couldn't be smart enough to use a provider that does only POP or IMAP mail and locked to her computers IP.

It's stupid to get jail just because you were "smarter" than the guy (woman in this case) whose mail you were cracking. There are worse crimes in the world that get less punished than this one.

That's all I can say on this subject.

its not a hack (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | about 6 years ago | (#25301769)

He simply typed a simple password and got in.

Re:its not a hack (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#25301951)

No, he got her password reset. All this bs about the password being "popcorn" - that's what he SET the password to. He used public information to answer her security questions and reset her password. That's what gave him access to her account.

And the moral of the story is... (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25301773)

If you do something illegal, STFU!

-jcr

*Democrat* State Legislator (4, Interesting)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 6 years ago | (#25301799)

For some reason the uber-parent failed to mention this, but the TN State legislator is a Democrat. May or may not mean anything, but odd to not mention it, isn't it?

Re:*Democrat* State Legislator (2, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#25301845)

Welcome to the Democratic Part...I mean slashdot

It could become interesting to prove outside (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 6 years ago | (#25301839)

court that what he did will "pale in" comparison to what she has been doing on the campaign trail in helping party. On NPR I heard that she claimed to be a friend of and to have a number of lesbian friends. Lesbians replied, "She's not friend of OURS", so i had a little chuckle out of that. Once people obtain the power she's seeking, what most of the public can doo will PALE IN comparison to what she is capable of or will do to protect what she gains access to.

(captcha: distorts)

Re:It could become interesting to prove outside (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about 6 years ago | (#25302049)

What strikes me about Obama, Biden and McCain is that whilst they may have some level of corruption I think to be fair on them all they do genuinely believe they can better the country if they become president.

Palin is the only one out the 4 who strikes me as only seeming to care about increasing her power rather than improving the country.

Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

javelinco (652113) | about 6 years ago | (#25301841)

I seem to see dozens of posters who have decided that Palin was conducting government business over her email. I thought I'd read all the email that had been made public. Did I miss some? Where is this idea coming from? Is it just a meme that everyone believes because someone asserted it? Has anyone actually SEEN an email that was "conducting government business"? If so, can you please post the content?
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