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Palin E-Mail Snoop Gets Year In Prison

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-not-white-collar-resort-prison dept.

Privacy 417

netbuzz writes "David Kernell, whose prying into Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account caused an uproar two months before the 2008 presidential election, was today sentenced to a year and a day by a judge in Knoxville, Tenn. Kernell was convicted of misdemeanor computer fraud and felony obstruction of justice back in April. His attorney had argued for probation on the grounds that what Kernell did amounted to a prank that spun out of control."

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417 comments

As I recall (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208202)

It was guessing the answer to her Security Question that was publicly available on the internet. If that's "hacking" then I'm fucking Kevin Mitnick.

Re:As I recall (4, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208288)

Do you see "hacking" in there? He was convicted of computer fraud as he accessed an account that was not his. He also got busted for obstruction of justice by panicking and wiping his drive, which is what landed him the real jail time.

Meanwhile, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg skates (5, Insightful)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208302)

How Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Into Rival ConnectU In 2004
Mar. 5, 2010
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-mark-zuckerberg-hacked-connectu-2010-3 [businessinsider.com]

...At one point, Mark appears to have exploited a flaw in ConnectU's account verification process to create a fake Cameron Winklevoss account with a fake Harvard.edu email address.

In this new, fake profile, he listed Cameron's height as 7'4", his hair color as "Ayran Blond," and his eye color as "Sky Blue." He listed Cameron's "language" as "WASP-y."

Next, Mark appears to have logged into the accounts of some ConnectU users and changed their privacy settings to invisible. The idea here was apparently to make it harder for people to find friends on ConnectU, thus reducing its utility. Eventually, Mark appears to have gone a step further, deactivating about 20 ConnectU accounts entirely...

Re:As I recall (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208324)

I gotta say, hacking a high-profile politician's email account (ESPECIALLY when they are running for vice president, which means everything of theirs is being watched 24/7) is a really stupid idea. There's pretty much no way you can get away with that nowadays...

Re:As I recall (1)

drougie (36782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208438)

I gotta say, hacking a high-profile politician's email account (ESPECIALLY when they are running for vice president, which means everything of theirs is being watched 24/7) is a really stupid idea. There's pretty much no way you can get away with that nowadays...

clearly you don't fully appreciate the seductiveness of epic lulz for which this was done

Re:As I recall (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208464)

I gotta say, hacking a high-profile politician's email account (ESPECIALLY when they are running for vice president, which means everything of theirs is being watched 24/7) is a really stupid idea. There's pretty much no way you can get away with that nowadays...

You think that when Sarah Palin became the candidate, that the government started monitoring traffic on her Yahoo account? That's not how this kid was caught, he was caught because he changed the password and posted it online.

Re:As I recall (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208532)

No, I think she (or at least people close to her in an official capacity) started paying closer attention.

Besides, my point wasn't even directed at her specifically, just in general.

Re:As I recall (2, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208334)

For better or worse, laws against computer hacking are generally phrased in terms of "unauthorized access" to computer resources, "unauthorized" meaning when you know or ought to know you have no right to them. The law isn't cognizant of how involved or intricate the legwork necessary to obtain access is. A similar situation obtains with the DMCA and its poorly worded prohibition of "circumvention" of "effective" anticopying measures. Is ROT-26 "effective" as a matter of law? What about ROT-13?

You might compare someone being charged with breaking and entering into a house, the door to which was secured with a strip of masking tape.

Re:As I recall (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208708)

Is it somehow more illegal to trespass someone's house if they have 5 locks on their door vs only one? Why should it be more or less illegal to do something based on how difficult it is? It is the behavior that the effort allows that is being punished, either trespassing or accessing someone else's email without permission.

Re:As I recall (2, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208346)

...I'm fucking Kevin Mitnick.

Fag!

Re:As I recall (3, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208356)

If that's "hacking" then I'm fucking Kevin Mitnick.

I think Kevin Mitnick might have something to say about that.

Re:As I recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208392)

I think Kevin was better known for his phone phreaking forays, or his succulent social engineering successes, might I recommend:

"If that's 'hacking' then I'm fucking Albert Gonzalez"

Re:As I recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208444)

It was guessing the answer to her Security Question that was publicly available on the internet. If that's "hacking" then I'm fucking Kevin Mitnick.

Leaving aside the unintentional irony of citing Mitnick in this context (and if it was intentional you may stop reading and start laughing at me), I suppose you mean you would have used a far more costly, complex, technically advanced set of techniques in your failed attempts to access the account.

Re:As I recall (5, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208542)

It was guessing the answer to her Security Question that was publicly available on the internet. If that's "hacking" then I'm fucking Kevin Mitnick.

Most people's (snail) mail boxes are unlocked, but it's still mail fraud to go picking through them.

- RG>

Re:As I recall (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208618)

might not be hacking, but he still had no business going into her email

Re:As I recall (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208734)

By this line of reasoning if I find the key to your front door hidden under your doormat, then it's acceptable for me to enter your home.

Re:As I recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208756)

At least it is not Matt Damon or Ben Affleck

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208210)

lol status: lol'd.

Year and a day? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208216)

What is the point of adding a day onto the sentence?

Re:Year and a day? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208256)

Probably to make sure it got counted as a felony.

Re:Year and a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208310)

yeah judges love to do that, a year and a day just to count it a as felony and when applying for a job and the application asks have you been convicted of a felony in the last 8 years you answer yes and don't get the job or say no and hope they don't find out

Re:Year and a day? (1, Informative)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208284)

Because jails often can only hold people for one year. They give that extra day so he goes to prison instead of jail. ie. it's a worse punishment.

Re:Year and a day? (5, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208330)

Or, as the article says, he was sentenced:

by a judge who recommended that the time be served in a Knoxville, Tenn. halfway house

A little bit different!!

Re:Year and a day? (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208446)

Because jails often can only hold people for one year. They give that extra day so he goes to prison instead of jail. ie. it's a worse punishment.

Actually, no, it's a more lenient sentence -- a year and a day means you're eligible for sentence reductions based on good behavior and the like; any less and you aren't.

Re:Year and a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208712)

Translation: We tacked on the extra day to make use of a loophole just to fuck with him as much as possible.

Re:Year and a day? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208314)

Sounds like something with how the crime was classified; the extra day being used to (minimally) meet any "over a year" requirement.

Re:Year and a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208642)

In many states, sentences of a year or less are not eligible for parole. By adding the extra day he becomes eligible.

Then pardon him already. (-1, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208236)

It might not be politically favorable to someone, but it'd at least mitigate the damage.

Why? (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208282)

He committed a crime, so he goes to jail. What damage is it you want to mitigate here?

Politically raised charges by Palin's folk. (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208360)

N/T

Re:Politically raised charges by Palin's folk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208550)

What politically raised charges? He accessed her account unlawfully; that's computer fraud. Then he tried to wipe his hard drive; that's obstruction of justice. He probably would have gotten away with a house arrest for 2 or 3 months and no computer access if he didn't wipe his hard drive. The serious time he's looking at is from the obstruction of justice. That's not from Palin's group, that's his own fault and the DA following the law.

Re:Politically raised charges by Palin's folk. (3, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208626)

So are you claiming he didn't illegally access her account? This isn't a political thing, he clearly broke the law.

If he accessed your account, my account or Barack Obama's account, it'd still be a crime.

Re:Politically raised charges by Palin's folk. (0)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208732)

The crime was political in nature. She wouldn't have had her account broken into and the details made public if she wasn't such a high profile political figure.

Re:Why? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208388)

Taxpayer money spent upkeeping the institutions.

Re:Why? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208582)

So we shouldn't put anybody in jail because it costs money?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208730)

He committed a crime, so he goes to jail.

With logic like that, I can see why your imprisonment rate is about ten times the world average.

If he gets a year... (5, Funny)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208238)

Then I wonder what punishment the guy who uncovered this [gawker.com] has waiting for him.

Re:If he gets a year... (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208306)

I lost it at "Vladimir Putin, Sultan of Love".

Computer Fraud (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208246)

Worse than regular fraud, because I don't understand computers.

Re:Computer Fraud (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208298)

Worse than regular fraud, because I don't understand computers.

Computer fraud isn't some special set-aside in addition to "normal" fraud. It's just a subset of fraud, akin to mail fraud, identity fraud, tax fraud... the list goes on and on.

actually (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208254)

he got sentenced to a year and a day in a halfway house, not a prison.

Theres a difference.

Good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208272)

He deserved the sentence. Hopefully, at the end of the year in prison, his asshole goes from this: . to this: O

Sentence (5, Informative)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208278)

I am pretty sure the actual sentence was 1 year 1 day in custody; to be served at a halfway house.

The local source - http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=13490313&Call=Email&Format=HTML [newschannel5.com]

Re:Sentence (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208326)

The title is indeed misleading. Where he spends his time is yet to be decided.

Re:Sentence (1)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208362)

Agreed, I should have noted "recommended to be served at a halfway house".

Re:Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208554)

Yes, he could very well serve as a pimp in whorehouse

Re:Sentence (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208752)

Or, he could very well serve as a Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.

Sarah Palin Should Get YEARS In Prison (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208290)

for bullying Ben Bernanke [buzzbox.com] when she can't distinguish microeconomics from macroeconomics.

Stick to baking.

Yours In Moscow,
K. Trout.

Re:Sarah Palin Should Get YEARS In Prison (2, Funny)

blai (1380673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208402)

No. You are intentionally putting her in danger and we know it. The kitchen has the highest number of flaming hot stoves in the house, for hell's sake.

Could have been worse (2, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208300)

Let's face it; he hacked the email account of a Vice Presidential candidate. Regardless of how one feels about Sarah Palin (I can't stand her myself...the things she says makes me want to slam my head in a file cabinet drawer) it's not rocket science to recognize that what he did is a bit more severe (and consequence-prone) than going after your typical person. He should consider himself lucky that he only got a year, really...I figured they'd do much worse.

Then make O'Keefe a felon as well. (0, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208386)

Kernell's only crime was his political alignment. It would only be consistent to do that as well.

Re:Then make O'Keefe a felon as well. (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208562)

Really? His "only crime was his political alignment?" Do you actually believe that? I'm personally glad we have laws that make it punishable to access other peoples accounts and spread their private information without permission. Right to privacy and all that.

Incidentally I'm not sure if you're missing the details or not, but the felony was obstruction of justice -- attempting to hide and destroy evidence (and so on). Had he not done that, he would have been fine (well not fine, he was still hit with a misdemeanor, but less of a big deal than a felony!)

I haven't followed O'Keefe closely at all -- what did he do that warrants a felony?

Re:Could have been worse (4, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208448)

No really how is that different to someone hacking the email of the randomer next door or anyone else?

After all a candidate is only a candidate and anyone whose email is hacked can have their reputation ruined for the next job interview or anything else.

If she was an actual vice president you could possibly attach some national security element to this but even that's a stretch, and giving these people extra protection will just promote the idea of government secrecy, big brother "we need to see your communication but you can't see ours" kind of thing. and there is no doubt in my mind she wouldn't fully back any kind of new mass surveillance initiative.

Re:Could have been worse (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208516)

I agree, I'd say he did pretty well, it could have been much worse consequences - I hold his dad partially responsible for not teaching him any tolerance for the opposing views. My own 17 year old daughter is on the complete opposite side of the political fence from myself and we have healthy debates about conservatism vs liberalism, the democrats and republicans etc. She respects my views and I respect hers - This kid was so brainwashed by his father that he felt it was OK to break into another persons e-mail account to affect a presidential election, it sure seems like dad could stand to bear a little of the blame and punishment !!

Re:Could have been worse (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208530)

Criminal law shouldn't make such a differentiation. The penalty should only be greater if the information released is specifically protected by law. e.g. corporate espionage or disclosure of state secrets. Allowing a difference here would be like saying that murderer of hoboes should receive a lighter sentence than someone who kills the same number of rich guys. In reality crimes involving powerful people are probably more likely to attract greater attention (and maybe more aggressive sentencing) but in principle this shouldn't really happen.

All things being equal, a civil suit is where a high profile victim would expect a larger payout based on the more significant losses they can prove as a result of their reputation being damaged and/or loss of earnings.

Re:Could have been worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208692)

he hacked the email account of a Vice Presidential candidate. Regardless of how one feels about Sarah Palin (I can't stand her myself...the things she says makes me want to slam my head in a file cabinet drawer) it's not rocket science to recognize that what he did is a bit more severe (and consequence-prone) than going after your typical person.

Why? Sorry, I don't see this at all. Do you mean that if he had hacked, say, MY email account, he shouldn't have gotten the same sentence, simply because I'm just a small fry and Palin's a well-known and influential politician?

We do NOT have aristocracy in this country yet. How much money or power or influence or connections the victim of a crime has has no bearing on the sentence the perpetrator will receive; or at least that's the theory, and the ideal we all strive for. It may not always be true in practice, but it's what we want, and it's what is right.

If you were thinking more clearly... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208694)

you'd want to slam her head in a file cabinet drawer, not your own. :)

Injustice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208750)

he hacked the email account of a Vice Presidential candidate

And if that resulted in a larger sentence than if it was his next-door neighbor's account, then logically, justice wasn't the motive of the sentence.

The idea that the elite at the top of the pyramid are more valuable than the common man at the bottom should tell you something about a government's agenda and motive. To be clear, their agenda certainly isn't equality, and it certainly isn't to serve the interest of the common man.

The mistake this guy made... (4, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208318)

... was not being in the Federal government. If he had been, his actions would've been deemed legal.

Re:The mistake this guy made... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208754)

If you want to look at it that way, murder is only murder because it doesn't have government sanction. Do it on your own and you're a monster, do it because the government told you to and you're a hero.

It is all in who the victim is.... (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208320)

So this kid gets a year in prison... but most cases like this will not even get a return call from the police. I guess it is not just 'how much justice can you afford' but 'how much your victim can afford'.

Re:It is all in who the victim is.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208394)

Yes, let's make this about THE VICTIM.

Sometimes I just don't understand "liberals" ...

Re:It is all in who the victim is.... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208710)

You are severely misguided if you think sentencing shouldn't be influenced by who the victim is.

I would expect someone who shot a random 5 year old to get a worse sentence than someone who shot a random 30 year old because the former crime is far worse, despite the only difference being the victim.

If a random person's emails were hacked and posted online, they get what... 5 people reading them? No one cares about a stranger's email (especially if no CC info was in them) . Palin's a public figure, 10,000s will have gone through the emails. Not to mention she was a potential vice president, even personal information that had nothing to do with her job could have national security implications (or endanger family and friends).

Yes crimes are sentenced based on the victims, that's because, the nature of who the victim is can mean the crime is more damaging to them compared to most people.

He should have been a rich banker (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208336)

Rich banker gets to escape felony hit and run charges, because the judge felt "a felony charge would hurt his ability to make shit tons of money"

http://dailybail.com/home/outrage-morgan-stanley-banker-escapes-felony-charges-for-hit.html

Lesson about VPN servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208358)

IIRC one reason why this guy got caught. He used only one anonymous VPN server between his IP and the target. The VPN server was also located in the US.

Just a note -- don't do hanky panky using a VPN, or else you will get caught. This also applies to P2P, as well as getting false access to an account, especially one of a likely future US President.

Re:Lesson about VPN servers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208526)

He wasn't using a VPN, he was just using a web based proxy.

Holy shit a year? (2, Insightful)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208372)

That's a long time for making such a small mistake... There's got to be some sort of easily phrased lesson to be learned here. "If you're going to anger politically powerful people, do it anonymously" ? He should have sent all the data he found to wiki leaks then burned his computer.

Re:Holy shit a year? (1, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208454)

Really? Breaking into someone's private email and then distributing what they found -- with clearly malicious intent -- is "such a small mistake" ?

Furthermore, when you say "He should have sent all the data he found to wiki leaks then burned his computer," that's exactly wrong! Had he not wiped his disk and tried (ineffectively!) to hide the evidence, he probably would have gotten substantially less punishment. In fact HIDING the evidence (obstruction of justice) is what got him the felony. The actual act was just a misdemeanor.

So in short, you're wrong bout everything!

Re:Holy shit a year? (1)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208614)

Point taken, I agree that it wasn't right to do. But if he had broken into some random persons email would it have been a year sentence? And if the fact that it's a political figure matters that much this seems more like political disobedience than purely malicious intent. Though I admit I have no idea what his intent was. Sending the evidence to wikileaks would have at least looked more politically motivated. Finally, to your point that I was 'wrong bout everything', if he had burned the computer correctly that would have been more effective that his method and he may have successfully hidden the evidence.

In Related News (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208374)

In related news, Sarah Palin is still on the loose, endangering all sanity as we know it.

Given that this is Slashdot (0, Troll)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208378)

And on Slashdot you can't say anything bad about liberals, Barak Hussein Obama, etc, that it's considered a BAD thing for the son of a Democrat congressman to go to prison for hacking Sarah Palin's email, while every commentator on this site would howl for the death penalty if the son of a Republican congressman had done the same to Dear Leader?

Violating people's privacy is wrong regardless of party affiliation.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208426)

Heh. And I bet you'll think it's a partisan conspiracy when that comment gets modded down.

It's possible to make even a fairly partisan point without it being flamebait. Your comment doesn't achieve that possibility.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208548)

Heh. And I bet you'll think it's a partisan conspiracy when that comment gets modded down.

No, he'd think it was Slashdot, which has steadily slid away from libertarian roots that would have applauded someone revealing personal emails from ANYONE being charged with an offense.

Though I'll bet you think it was a conservative conspiracy that has modded his statement up...

When conspiracies come up it's pretty much always liberals claiming there's a conspiracy at hand. As an example, Birthers (wrongly) think Obama doesn't have a valid certificate, but do not think there's a massive cover-up. Truthers (wrongly) think there's a vast conspiracy that sought to kill people for some perceived benefit of the government.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208594)

Though I'll bet you think it was a conservative conspiracy that has modded his statement up...

It's sitting at 2: Flamebait right now, so... no.

As an example, Birthers (wrongly) think Obama doesn't have a valid certificate, but do not think there's a massive cover-up.

Really? Where are you finding your Birthers, and how can I get the ones I know to be that sane?

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208578)

It's possible on Slashdot, but less likely.

Try an experiment. Create a new account and make some stupidass post in the first remotely political article that is either anti-republican or anti-democrat. See what happens!

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208682)

Try an experiment. Create a new account and make some stupidass post in the first remotely political article that is either anti-republican or anti-democrat. See what happens!

Well, my point is, if you make that post and it's not a stupidass post, i.e. you're backing up your position with facts and you're not just regurgitating talking points, it probably won't end up mod-bombed no matter what position it takes. It might get slapped with a negative mod or three, but in the long run it will end up at least where it started and probably higher.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208456)

while every commentator on this site would howl for the death penalty if the son of a Republican congressman had done the same to Dear Leader?

You don't know that for sure.

And I guess we won't know until they try it and get caught.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208468)

That's true, and so is the paranoid delusion that the community is biased against you.

You're just wrong, is all.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208472)

Nonsense, almost everyone on Slashdot can find faults in every other person, including their 'Dear Leader'...

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (3, Informative)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208488)

I don't think you know Slashdot very well at all. It is primarily a Libertarian site. I don't think they would react any different if someone hacked in to some Democrat governor's site.
 
Yeah, violating someone's privacy is wrong. But does it deserve a year in prison? That is what people are objecting to...the overly harsh penalties assigned to crimes regarding computers. The less famous/rich you are the higher the chance you will serve a more severe sentence.
 
And seriously, try not to be such a partisan douche in the future.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208490)

Violating people's privacy is wrong regardless of party affiliation

If only it were true, but we all know that isn't. The differentiator isn't party though; it's citizen or oligarch. If you're a citizen, you may be spied on at will without any possible recourse available. If you are part of the oligarchy, you may not be spied on and will see the citizenry face stiff penalties for any attempts to do so. This case has set that policy in stone.

Nice straw man you set up there though. Set that thing up and knock it down. I'm soooo impressed.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208536)

I'm sorry but the suggestion that a Republican heir could use a computer or understandard anything 'modern' is so preposterous that your comment is invalidated.

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (0, Flamebait)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208662)

What's the point in stating his middle name? I hear it all the time from conservative radio personalities, but hear it rarely elsewhere. You hear a lot about George W. Bush, but it's almost never "George Walker Bush." His father is regularly referred to as George Herbert Walker Bush, but only since his son was elected. Bill Clinton did use his middle name, often being referred to as William Jefferson Clinton, but a lot of people of all political stripes did that. I didn't even know Reagan's or Carter's middle names (Wilson & Earl, respectively) until I just looked it up, though that may just be because they were before my time. As I see it, however, no real convention exists for referring to a president by all 3 (or more) names.

As for Obama specifically, if you look him up, on either Bing or Google, you'll see that referring to him as "Barack Hussein Obama" is almost entirely the province of the right. So I ask again, why do conservatives insist on using his middle name when neither he, nor most others refer to him in that manner?

Re:Given that this is Slashdot (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208714)

So I ask again, why do conservatives insist on using his middle name when neither he, nor most others refer to him in that manner?

Because it makes him sound scarier and less "mainstream America."

Er, I hope that wasn't a rhetorical question.

Punishment based on victim, not crime (5, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208398)

Would he have received the same sentence if he had hacked the email of a random neighbour?

Re:Punishment based on victim, not crime (1, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208510)

Probably not, but he should.

Re:Punishment based on victim, not crime (2, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208696)

Yea because people need to go to jail for crimes that hurt nobody? He "hacked" a single email account a handful of hours of community service and nothing on his record. There is nothing to show a pattern or even any real malice intent he guessed a trivial password for haha's.

Re:Punishment based on victim, not crime (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208544)

Welcome to the American Judiciary system.

Re:Punishment based on victim, not crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208568)

Victim *and* perpetrator. As also evidenced by the BART cop who liquidated a handcuffed guy, getting a 2y slap of the wrist.

Punishment is based on damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208736)

This crime was far more damaging than would likely occur from hacking the neighbour's email. But, let's imagine your neighbour depends on his credibility for his job (Let's say he's a pastor). You find out that your neighbour is having an affair via the email. You then manage to get most of the country knowledgeable about that fact. That person's life is destroyed and as such, you will face a similar sentence.

If your neighbour, however, was working as, say, a trucker, and you did the same thing, the damage is mitigated somewhat (and you would receive a lighter sentence) based on the fact it won't affect the neghbour's employment prospects (as much). And if you found nothing more than an order for Domino's pizza, unless the neighbour worked for the competition, you'd probably receive the lightest sentence of all.

But, go ahead, consipracy theories are easier, after all!

Re:Punishment based on victim, not crime (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208738)

Is random neighbour protected by the secret service? if yes then YES, if no the NO.

the way it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208744)

No, he wouldn't have, and that's the way it should be.

Do you get the same sentence for threatening the president as threatening your neighbor?

Do you get the same sentence for obstructing a police officer as for obstructing your neighbor mowing his lawn?

And as others have said, it doesn't matter whether Palin is a joke of a candidate. She was playing a major role in the political system. Let her lose the election on her own merits, not via crimes committed by those who don't like her.

Would he be in jail if (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208420)

if it were you or I?

I refuse to take sides on a political debate, but just because someone is a big figure in politics doesn't mean they should get special treatment. I guess that's why they have their lobbyist groups though.

Re:Would he be in jail if (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208538)

just because someone is a big figure in politics doesn't mean they should get special treatment.

I guess the Secret Service should stick to chasing counterfeiters?

Only liberals serve time down here, boy (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208440)

This guy just got lucky and guessed a password. But he acted against a conservative in Tennessee, so he got a year in prison. James O'Keefe [wikipedia.org] actually tried to physically bug the telephone of a sitting U.S. Senator. But O'Keefe acted against a liberal in Louisiana, so he walked with probation.

And if it was my email hacked? (4, Insightful)

Maclir (33773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208466)

What punishment would the guilty person get? I'll bet you London to brick it wouldn't even get to court.

One law for the power elite, and the rest of us can bugger off.

Rich HP Pretexter vs. Poor Student Pretexter (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208518)

HP Pretexting Charges Dismissed [informationweek.com] : "Charges against defendants in the Hewlett-Packard pretexting case have been dismissed."

Sarah Palin commented on this... (0, Troll)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208576)

...but I couldn't understand anything due to the incessant screeching.

Meanwhile Palin has yet to answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208690)

..for her multiple yahoo email accounts and use of government resources for personal and financial gain.

Wag doggy, wag.

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