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Palin Email Snoop Found Guilty On 2 Charges

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.

Communications 291

netbuzz writes "A federal jury in Knoxville today has convicted David Kernell, 22, of two charges — misdemeanor computer fraud and felony obstruction of justice — in connection with the 2008 episode where he accessed the personal Yahoo email account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and then initiated a worldwide rummaging of its contents. The obstruction charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years."

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291 comments

Jury also hung on one count (5, Insightful)

random coward (527722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049436)

They also hung on the count of Identity Theft; The DA can retry that later if he so chooses.

Re:Jury also hung on one count (1, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049504)

Identity theft? I'm not sure how much it would bother me if Sarah Palin really did lose her identity.

Re:Jury also hung on one count (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049622)

She doesn't have an identity. Rush Limbaugh's talking points do not an identity create.

No good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049928)

Then there would be two of her running around!

Re:Jury also hung on one count (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050240)

Identity theft? I'm not sure how much it would bother me if Sarah Palin really did lose her identity.

That's really petty.

Two Stupid People (-1, Flamebait)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049450)

There are two stupid people at the heart of this story, David Kernell and Sarah Palin. Stupid knows no political boundaries.

Anyone suggesting otherwise is just politically naive or blinded by (D) or (R) labels

Re:Two Stupid People (3, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049538)

About as stupid as Obama?

"A Frenchman who police say hacked Twitter accounts belonging to US President Barack Obama and celebrities could face jail."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8586269.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Two Stupid People (0, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049636)

Yup, just as stupid. Thank you for reminding me.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049982)

To be fair, I'm sure Obama has never posted to his "own" Twitter page (I remember a published statement to that effect about his Facebook account, at least). It is actually some minor staffer who is the guilty party here: Obama is maybe only transitively guilty for trusting Rahm Emmanuel, who trusted the staffer (or the staffer's immediate boss). That stands in contrast to Sarah Palin's personal email account and the personal Twitter accounts of the celebrities involved in the other incident, the obvious passwords of which reflect much more directly on the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the account owners.

This is why I never seriously answer password reminder questions. Unfortunately there seem to be two uses: the first, where it is used in lieu of a valid email address to reset a password, and the second, where (mostly) banks decide that asking for what amounts to two passwords constitutes "two factor" authentication. Both methods have little upside (for the user) if the questions are answered with personal information.

Re:Two Stupid People (3, Informative)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050176)

Except it wasn't the 'obvious password' which did them in, it was the lame drop-box security questions. Make it so all security questions are chosen when the account is created, and not selected from some stupid list, and your problem is solved.

Re:Two Stupid People (5, Insightful)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049720)

"He gained access to Twitter accounts by simply working out the answers to password reminder questions on targets' e-mail accounts, according to investigators. " Seriously, I hate those things. When it used to be allowed, I always just retyped my password into the answers for those security questions. It's always really easy stuff to socially engineer or, in the case of a public figure, look up on google... Did he figure out the name of Obama's first pet, where he went to school, his first job, his mother's maiden name, or what? All of those things have got to be fairly easy to work out.

Re:Two Stupid People (5, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049848)

Did he figure out the name of Obama's first pet, where he went to school, his first job, his mother's maiden name, or what? All of those things have got to be fairly easy to work out.

You mean, people put honest answers in those fields??? [boggles]

Re:Two Stupid People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049946)

The only *insecure* way of filling those fields is to fill in honest answers. The only secure way is to create random phrases, write them down and stick them by your computer. Then at least your security == physical security. Much better than having an honest answer to "What is the color of your first car??".

Even safer, is to use a safe to store the passwords.

Safest: safety deposit box :)

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050112)

And if you put something in that's neither an honest answer nor a random phrase: the universe explodes.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050098)

If you're President Obama? Probably. Nobody would ever be able to figure it out, after all.

Re:Two Stupid People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050144)

Honestly! I always put in "password" when they ask for it.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050212)

I don't think anyone thinks I really had a pet Vulcan, Dragon or a Dalek as a kid as my first pet.

Oh wait I need to change a bunch of secret questions now.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050238)

My bank now requires me to answer a security question *and* input my password in order to log in. And it picks a random one of my security questions (of which I was required to have 5 or so), which means I have to remember 6 distinct passwords for my bank. Shoot me.

Re:Two Stupid People (2, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050060)

Did he figure out the name of Obama's first pet, where he went to school, his first job, his mother's maiden name, or what? All of those things have got to be fairly easy to work out.

You'd think so, given the vetting which is supposed to go into establishing a person's qualifications for the Office of the President but there's been substantial research into each of those things, and each of them bring up non-trivial questions of the veracity of so-called "established fact". Kinda odd considering the public scrutiny - in the media, government, and otherwise - of every other President to date.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050236)

I just use password strength answer and I keep a file of them. I had a great conversation with an online bank. Security had detected a pattern that was unusual and called me. They asked me what high school I went to. I told them UMc9vdX0QLOH (not really, but you get the idea.)

The guy was flabbergasted.

I told him that although I appreciated their security, I didn't trust them, say, to not sell a used laptop on ebay.

He thought it was a great idea.

Of course if I loose my file, I'm screwed, but that's what backups are for.

Re:Two Stupid People (2, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050334)

The big deal with the Obama case is that the question was "Where were you born?" and Obama filled it in honestly. They're trying to cover it up! This is all part of the conspiracy, man.

Re:Two Stupid People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050182)

"About as stupid as Obama?"

Grow up.

Re:Two Stupid People (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050326)

"A Frenchman who police say hacked Twitter accounts belonging to US President Barack Obama and celebrities could face jail."

That seems somewhat redundant. Shouldn't all Frenchmen be in jail, regardless of whatever hacking they've done?

Why is this different? (2, Insightful)

Halborr (1373599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049468)

My question is: Why is going through someone else's email different than going through their regular mail? What makes the addition of a computer so special?

Re:Why is this different? (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049530)

One is a felony Mail tampering, one is computer tampering. Email is not considered the same as regular Mail.

And while my mailbox has a lock on it, it is simple and easy to bypass, I'd hate to see people make the same excuses for someone lifting mail from my box as they do for people lifting email from Hotmail (or whatever).

Re:Why is this different? (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049586)

You can't guess the key to the lock as you can a password?*

If anything S.P. should be footing the bill for all the proceedings simply because she used such easy/obvious answers that it was inevitable to happen. It's like saying someone stole my Porsche Carrera when I left the windows down in front of my house. sure, they were down but I only ran in for a bit. That sort of negligence is inviting to 'criminals' (or joy riders!).

Here's another example: 2 kids playing with a loaded hand gun. Is owner of gun at fault when one kills the other? Sue the dad? No! Sue the gun company for allowing the gun to be shot by kids (enter the gun lock controls).

Even though I jest with serious subjects, you can't always blame the dog for jumping on the chair and eating your food. Sometimes you should just know better.

* And yes you can pick a lock, but that requires skill, something that doesn't require skill is http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=sarah+palin&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai= [google.com]

Re:Why is this different? (0, Redundant)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049742)

If anything S.P. should be footing the bill for all the proceedings simply because she used such easy/obvious answers that it was inevitable to happen.

I wonder what the bill was for the investigation of Obama's Twiiter hacking investigation. Think he'll be the one paying?

"A French computer hacker was facing prison today after breaking into the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama and Britney Spears by ‘guessing’ their passwords.
In the U.S. president's case the key word is said to have included the name of his beloved dog, Bo.
Agents spent six months on his trail after he managed to gain access to Mr Obama’s Twitter account - a micro-blogging site which the president frequently uses to communicate with voters."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1260488/Barack-Obamas-Twitter-password-revealed-French-hacker-arrested.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Why is this different? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050228)

". Think he'll be the one paying?"
I certainly hope not. I also don't the SP should pay..or ANY victim or any crime.

Re:Why is this different? (2, Insightful)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049784)

Ah, so it's OK to steal stuff you regard as inadequately secured.

The dog gets forgiveness, the human should get prison. In your Porche hypothetical, the thief would still go down for GTA.

"Sorry about turning off your respirator, but that should have been keylocked, you know...I couldn't resist."

 

Re:Why is this different? (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049890)

Why bother picking a lock when there's so many other easier ways to get into the average house? Breaking a window is trivial, drilling out a lock isn't hard, etc. To someone even mildly determined to get in, the average house lock is less of a issue than a weak password is for an email account.

While it's certainly smarter to have a strong password than a weak one, to say that having a weak password should mean that you take on some of the legal responsibility for a crime committed against you by someone else is ridiculous.

Re:Why is this different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050118)

You know, fuck you.

A criminal is someone that takes your stuff. It doesn't matter if you locked it down or not. They take it == crime. What kind of fucked up word is this now that if you don't lock it down enough, then it's free for all?? No wander companies are turning to DRM - your mindset is what is causing it.

PS. You can pick any lock with a drill. Enough said.

Re:Why is this different? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050208)

no, it has a password, clearly she doesn't want anyone unauthorized going into her email. The quality of the password, or the size of the lock doesn't matter.

Pick A lock? I'll just go through the window, thank you very much.

Re:Why is this different? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049694)

It's not necessarily special to me; however, I see that you've listed your email address which makes it incredibly easy for me, a person with no other information about you, to invade your privacy. Going through your regular mail requires physical access to it. I can try getting at your email from almost anywhere on the planet, or probably even off of it. In that case, there may be some question about the precedence of local laws and such. Which state laws apply? The state of the accused, the state where the servers reside, or something else?

The only other difference I can think of off of the top of my head is that committing computer crimes may also include limitations to the offenders usage of a computer in the future to prevent them from being able to commit the crime again. This is probably reserved for more severe cases, but it's something. Someone more well versed in computer law would probably have a better answer.

Re:Why is this different? (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049802)

The USPS is an agency of the US government, while email is just an agreed upon standard and service provided by private entities. Snail mail is handled by USPS (government) employees from the the time the sender gives it to the USPS, until the USPS gives it to the recipient. Email is handled by multiple servers, routing packets from one point to another, which are (almost entirely) owned by private entities.

In the case of international snail mail, the laws that apply to the USPS only apply while it is within their control. Once it's handed off to the postal service of another country, it's out of US jurisdiction.

I may be mistaken, but I think that other postal companies, like UPS and FedEx don't fall under the same set of laws as the USPS. So in theory, mail fraud wouldn't apply to something sent via UPS. Then again IANAL, so this part is just an educated guess.

Re:Why is this different? (-1, Troll)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049912)

Then again IBUTTSEX, so this part is just a wild-assed guess.

FTFY.

Re:Why is this different? (1)

Halborr (1373599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050356)

That actually makes sense (and I realize that YANAL). I always wondered why the laws were different. Different organizations running them!

I'm still confused by something... (4, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049490)

I understand (and agree) that the guy should be punished for hacking this account, but how come nothing ever happend about Palin conducting official State business using her personal email account? Is it because the information was technically obtained illegaly? Or did something happen and I just missed it...?

Re:I'm still confused by something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049632)

Is it because the information was technically obtained illegaly?

Yes.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (5, Informative)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049718)

No, that's not it. As long as the person is not working as an "agent of the state", anything they do is admissible. This came up when a hacker kept hacking into pedophiles' computers and turning them into the police. The courts ruled he was not working as an agent of the state, since the police had no control over him.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (2, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049924)

Wow, that's a slippery slope. So the police can "encourage" third parties to obtain evidence illegally, then use that evidence. For various definitions of "encourage" which will include pay, bribe, threaten, trade, plea-bargain, extort, harass, intimidate, and some I probably haven't thought of.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049990)

They do.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (2, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049994)

Wow, that's a slippery slope. So the police can "encourage" third parties to obtain evidence illegally, then use that evidence. For various definitions of "encourage" which will include pay, bribe, threaten, trade, plea-bargain, extort, harass, intimidate, and some I probably haven't thought of.

And if the police did any of those things, the third party would automatically become an agent of the state. Just like an employee.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050200)

Yeah, right.

Can I live in your world? It's so clean and simple.

Cop: "Hey Louie, I haven't arrested you in months. Living clean?"
Louie: "Yeah, don't bother me. I've been staying outta trouble."
Cop: "Look Louie, I think I smell something in your car. I think I have to run you in. Or maybe you can help me out. I need some stuff that's in that house over there."

Just like an employee.
I wonder if he gets dental.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050372)

Unless they found some other evidence during the investigation, I'd say that anything on the computer should have been automatically tossed out. It's pretty easy for said "hacker" to plant evidence on the computer of people he didn't like.

Still, as grounds for a proper search warrant it should be OK. If they find actual pictures or hard media (not the computer hard drive) then they could go for the conviction.

That's as long as - of course - the hacker wasn't working FOR the police, and also if he himself were caught they should prosecute him under wiretap etc laws...

Re:I'm still confused by something... (0, Flamebait)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049640)

If they went after Palin for it they would also have to go after the Bush administration for doing the same thing.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (4, Insightful)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049770)

If they went after the Bush administration for doing it, they would have to go after the Obama administration also. It's a slippery slope that leads to everyone getting attacked.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (4, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050014)

Really? You've got creditable evidence that the Obama administration is using personal email to circumvent email logging and conduct official business "off the record"?

That would be fascinating to hear about, tell us more.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (0)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050384)

There was a news story just last week, IIRC, about exactly that. Someone who used to work at Google using his gmail account for official business for the administration, I think. Too lazy to look up the details, though, so no "informative" mods for me.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049700)

Do you seriously think Palin will be held responsible for anything?

She's a master at evading responsiblity. She even supposedly got her daughter off scot-free for $20K in damages to someone else's house during a party. See here [alaskawtf.com] and here [blogspot.com] .

As long as there is corrupt cronyism, the guilty can do whatever they want.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049716)

>Or did something happen and I just missed it...?

At the very most, the state could have forced an early end to her term as Governor. Even though the state didn't seek to do that, she resigned anyway. Clearly not satisfying to Palin's detractors, but the end result is the same without the state legislature suffering political consequences that would have followed from confronting Palin on that particular issue.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (0, Redundant)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049732)

how come nothing ever happend about Palin conducting official State business using her personal email account?

Precisely my question. *waits for replies*

Re:I'm still confused by something... (4, Informative)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049768)

The court determined that she wasn't in violation. Take it up with the court if you disagree.

http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=11867946 [ktuu.com]

Re:I'm still confused by something... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050040)

That article does a horrible job and totally misses the point of the ruling by focusing on the emotional side. It turns out, the public records law was really lax, so it was up to Palin to decide what was official business and what wasn't. As well, she could call any message "transitory" and it didn't need to be preserved either. The ruling could apply to e-mailed not handed over from state computers just as well.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049922)

You'd be suprised how often this happens.. definitly not just her, nor just the US. Usually it's to get around what they view as annoying restrictions we put in place (attachments etc)

Dumb yes, but uncommon no.

lazy posters now adays can't even google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050036)

What is it with people who post this stuff and can't be arsed to find out on their own? Its not even news anymore that the judge in alaska found in palin's favor 3 months ago! But that doesn't fit the narrative because palin is an EEEVVILL STOOPID CONSERVATIVE. All the media and established politicians are scared to death of her and tried to pin whatever they can on her. It was front page news when the lawsuit over her using yahoo email was filed, she wins and its back news and all the liberal slashdotters "*waits for replies*" because they're only listening to the talking points from the drive by media.

/end rant
/end troll.

Re:I'm still confused by something... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049794)

It's OK as far as I know to prosecute on information obtained illegally, as long as the perpetrators of the illegal information gathering were not law enforcement. IANAL, so...

You missed something (4, Informative)

random coward (527722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049886)

An Alaska judge has sided with former Gov. Sarah Palin in a lawsuit over e-mail, finding that state law doesn't forbid the use of private e-mail accounts to conduct state business. [juneauempire.com]


Just because you want it to be illegal doesn't make it illegal; i.e. laws have to be passed by legislature first.

The Firm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049492)

Go Airwolf!

Double Standard (-1, Redundant)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049540)

This guy will charged with hacking Sarah Palin's account which is crime.

Where is Sarah Palin's trial for using a non-government account for state business(which is also a crime)?

Re:Double Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049588)

This guy will charged with hacking Sarah Palin's account which is crime.

Where is Sarah Palin's trial for using a non-government account for state business(which is also a crime)?

citation needed:

using a non-government account for state business(which is also a crime)?

Re:Double Standard (0, Flamebait)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049618)

She can't be prosecuted for that, that's why she quit! derrrrrrr

:P

Re:Double Standard (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049668)

Citation needed.

Re:Double Standard (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050052)

You need a citation? How about, the purloined emails themselves [zdnet.com] .

And yes, sometimes they decided to stay within the law, and other times they didn't. Frankly, they should have always kept a big bold line between the work and personal.

Re:Double Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049810)

Where is Sarah Palin's trial for using a non-government account for state business(which is also a crime)?

How soon you forget that there are two sets of laws, one for the common folk, and one for "them" in control.

Alaskan judge disagrees with you (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050180)

An Alaska judge has sided with former Gov. Sarah Palin in a lawsuit over e-mail, finding that state law doesn't forbid the use of private e-mail accounts [juneauempire.com] to conduct state business.

By the way, that was from back in January. Didn't your copt of Palin Haters Weekly include that news? Gee, I wonder why not?

So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049546)

but you do this, and you get 20 years on average.

it seems like u.s. justice system is so fucked up.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049698)

You've confused three completely different things -- minimum, maximum, and average.

First of all, the penalty for the e-mail guy is 20 years maximum not average. Second of all, it really doesn't make a lot of sense to try to draw conclusions from comparing one crime's minimum sentence to another crime's maximum sentence, even if you try to confuse the issue by saying "average" instead of "maximum". I highly doubt the average murderer gets out in 2 years.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (5, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049758)

Two years only happens in extenuating circumstances (say, a woman kills her rapist after the fact; it's murder, but it's really hard to apply a tough sentence). Murder is rarely punished with a mere two years. That said, sentencing guidelines are fscked up, because it's always easier to appear "tough on crime" than it is to establish just guidelines.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049764)

You can kill a guy and never go to jail, like Laura Bush, or a woman and never go to jail like Ted Kennedy.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049792)

Also, the maximum sentence is 20 years, not the average sentence. Obstruction of justice covers a lot of scenarios, so the 20 years is for the guy who goes around cleaning the blood and fingerprints off the murder weapons of a friend of his (yes, accomplice after the fact to murder would cover this, but you get the idea). I have a really hard time believing this guy will get anything close to 20 years.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050086)

So "obstructing justice" relating to a misdemeanor is a felony?

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050172)

Yeah, that bothers me too. I'm not in favor of punishing the cover up more harshly than the crime.

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049808)

> it seems like u.s. justice system is so fucked up.
It probably is. But your post here, vastly understating murder sentences and exaggerating obstruction charges, is a good example of how twisted and oblivious to reality the American mind can be. And, since people like you often vote, we don't really have to look that far to see why the "system is so fucked up".

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049970)

apart from the fact that im not american

Re:So you kill a guy, can get out in 2 years min (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050262)

but you do this, and you get 20 years on average.
it seems like u.s. justice system is so fucked up.

In the American federal system, murder is almost always prosecuted under state law. Sentencing Guidelines As Applied To Murder [crimevictimsunited.org] [Oregon, 1998]

You want to see a change in sentencing? Talk to your state legislator.

Obstruction of justice (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049556)

What did he do that qualifies as obstruction of justice?

Re:Obstruction of justice (4, Informative)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049774)

He ran away from the feds when they came knocking, and apparently formatted his hard drive to erase evidence (the wikipedia page says deleted, but I'm guessing that's what he did).

Re:Obstruction of justice (2, Informative)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049818)

Erasing his hard drive would have been perfectly fine if he did it before he realized he was the subject of an investigation.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050054)

True, though, wouldn't shock me if they just said whatever they could to see what would stick.

Kid's laywer probably wasn't amazing if the kid was dumb enough to plead not guilty.

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050226)

Obstruction? You could say he facilitated the justice of examining how Palin purposefully avoided records retention of her business as Governor. Which crime is more significant here?

Pardon him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32049562)

...find him some work, and deny the Palins a scalp.

They just wanted revenge and Tennessee obliged.

I will guarantee...(Re:Pardon him) (1)

joedoc (441972) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049780)

...that Palin will ask the judge and the prosecutor to not give the guy any jail time, but maybe a few years probation and some community service.

I doubt throwing the guy in jail was a goal in this action.

Mark my words on this.

Re:I will guarantee...(Re:Pardon him) (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050084)

...that Palin will ask the judge and the prosecutor to not give the guy any jail time, but maybe a few years probation and some community service.

I'll take that bet.

Justice? (1)

rpgdude (1439591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049564)

I understand computer fraud, but obstruction of justice? Exactly how was justice obstructed?

Re:Justice? (3, Informative)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049692)

The obstruction of justice charge stems from an allegation by the FBI that Kernell attempted to erase evidence of the crime from his hard drive

Re:Justice? (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050162)

I wonder if wiping your fingerprints after a robbery constitutes obstruction of justice?

Re:Justice? (3, Funny)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050194)

It was not his fault, it was a Kernell Panic.

20 years? (1)

majorme (515104) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049582)

Can't be real. Please tell me (but don't lie) I am reading this wrong. I guess that's what he deserves eh? One has to wonder if that e-mail account contained "sensitive data" concerning your US "national security" hahah. Oh boy...

Re:20 years? (2, Insightful)

chudnall (514856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049948)

Kernell was found guilty of computer fraud - a misdemeanor subject to a prison term of up to one year -- and obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence.

Don't lie to the feds. They get all bent out of shape about that. Frankly, even if they were to question me about someone else's crime, I would give serious consideration to refusing to speak to them, out of concern that my version of events might not be the same as someone else's, and they might decide that I was the one "misremembering".

Probation would be an appropriate sentence (1)

bareman (60518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049584)

if he's a first time offender I hope he doesn't do prison time, but rather gets put on probation with any violation resulting in a long sentence.

Re:Probation would be an appropriate sentence (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050070)

Most first time offenders do go to prison.

Lessons learned (4, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049728)

If you're going to do this, at least become a telecom company first. When they pull this kind of shit, they get a pat on the back.

Cost of imprisonment isn't worth it. (4, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049870)

Things like this make me sad. Not just because I feel bad for the person, but also because frankly I don't want my taxes spent on keeping this man imprisoned for up to twenty years. Cost of imprisonment is on average 22,650 per year [usdoj.gov] , at 20 years that's $453,000. In my opinion it's not worth that much to keep a man behind bars for guessing a password.

Re:Cost of imprisonment isn't worth it. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32049918)

Yep. Felony conviction, put him on the street with time served.

Re:Cost of imprisonment isn't worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050380)

It's a felony conviction based on moronic laws and he was convicted by a jury most likely unaware of their right and obligation to judge not only his guilt but the laws that would make him guilty.

Basically, we have people in our military and government that have actually physically tortured both guilty and innocent folks, or sanctioned said torture and even tried to cover it up - nothing has happened or will happen to them. But no, you're worried this dude might be on the street with a felony conviction for doing something stupid, then reacting stupidly when he got caught, yet in the way that 95% of folks would have reacted. Geez!

Re:Cost of imprisonment isn't worth it. (1)

Martz (861209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050382)

As per QI:

"1% of American adults are in prison (2.3m people)

No society in history has imprisoned more of it's citizens than the United States of America

1 in 30 men aged 20-34 are in prison
1 in 9 black males are in prison
There are more 17 year old black people in prison than in college.

Prison labour produces 100% all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet proof vests, id tags, and other items of uniform

93% of domestic produced paints, 36% of home appliances and 21% of office furniture. This allows the US to compete with Mexican labour - because the workers cannot refuse to work for 25 cents per hour. "

I wonder how much money a single inmate could earn to offset their $453,00 "rehabilitation" bill. It's no wonder the sentances are so harsh.

YouTube clip of QI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E7wgFcCefE [youtube.com]

They don't know what deadlock means (4, Funny)

200_success (623160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050012)

From the article:

A sentencing date will not be set until prosecutors decide whether they will retry kernel on the deadlocked charge, according to this report.

You can't retry a deadlocked kernel. The only way out is a hard reset.

It's always a good day when privacy protections (4, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050142)

are upheld in Court. Personal email really IS private, and people should be held accountable if they cross the line. Jail time sounds a bit extreme, given the youthful age of the accused, but I'm glad the legal precedents are being followed correctly.

The basics? (1)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050222)

Somehow, I missed the original story. Must have been on travels at the time. Would someone help me with these basic questions? (I can't help being interested in the trivia. I love Sarah Palin stories. US politics would be so dull without her...)

- How did he hack the account? Guess the password? Do we know what the password was?

- Were funny email bits published on the net? Are they still available somewhere?

- How did the guy actually get caught?

worldwide rummage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050350)

What's a "worldwide rummage" when it's at home??

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