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Palin's E-Mail Hacker Imprisoned Against Judge's Wishes

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the grizzly-justice dept.

Communications 502

Em Adespoton writes "It was a computer security story that made headlines around the world, involving the private emails of a woman who could have become Vice President of the United States. And now, it's ended with a young man sent to a federal prison, hundreds of miles from his family home. David C Kernell, the hacker who broke into Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo email account, is reported to have been sent to jail despite a judge's recommendation that he should not be put behind bars."

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Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877634)

"That is not the situation that his friends and family were hoping for, however."

No offense, but too fucking bad. Considering the state of our legal system, the guy was lucky to not get boned for the full four crimes he was initially charged with (which would have been a lot longer than just a year, by the way). He committed a crime, one that I personally feel has far-reaching effects as one's e-mail inbox should be considered fairly private. Yes, it was Sarah Palin, and I can't stand her either. Doesn't mean that this guy shouldn't be held accountable for his actions.

"The US Bureau of Prisons, however, has decided to make Mr Kernell serve out his term in the low-security prison camp nearly 300 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee."

Seriously guys, when you're incarcerated, you don't have a choice which facility you will be housed in. The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why. What I don't understand is why this article seems to be doing a lot of crying on behalf of Kernell. Don't commit the crime if you're going to whine all the way to prison. It's that simple.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877670)

Pretty much. In this day and age, it surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email...unless he knew he wouldn't get away with it, and didn't care.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878168)

Pretty much. In this day and age, it surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email...unless he knew he wouldn't get away with it, and didn't care.

Oh, he was dumber than that. He was dumb enough to leave identifying information in the screencap [encycloped...matica.com] (screencap is SFW, some of the ads are NSFW) he took.

By leaving the URL visible, it didn't matter how many proxies he was behind. There was a clear chain of evidence linking him to The Incident. Unsurprisingly, the Party Van showed up, and the rest is history.

Anonymous is legion, but on occasion, some Anonymous are very, very stupid. When Anonymous ceases to be anonymous, Anonymous thinks it's pretty funny.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878298)

It surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email.

Well, I think he would have gotten away with it too if he hadn't gone and posted what he found right away.

I don't know if Yahoo does this, but Gmail does this thing at the bottom of the page, "Last account activity: 7 hours ago at IP whatever.whatever.whatever.whatever" - And do you think Palin regularily checks something like that?

If this guy had any brains about him, he could have easily gotten away with the 'hacking' the email account part. Seriously, suppose someone knew the answer to your security question right now, and was casually reading your already read emails. Assuming you don't look at logs, and they aren't closing your session on you, Would you even suspect something?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877700)

Right on man (70's lingo). He should be in the slammer just for being stupid enough to try it in the first place. What do you think would happen?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877780)

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to keep a person in jail?

Locking people up because they are stupid is enough to bankrupt any country. A much better punishment for nonviolent crimes would be community service (scaled to fit the gravity of the offense), where there's a net gain for society.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (-1, Troll)

bagboy (630125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877970)

Net gain to society? WTF. Are we advocating low impact crimes to help society? I can see some PSA's now - "Forget Jobcorps, come hack email accounts with us and help your community!" This line of thinking also states for future potential crimelords that if you hack into email, your time is a walk in the park. If there is no deterrent then what is the point of the criminal justice system?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878060)

Net gain to society? WTF. Are we advocating low impact crimes to help society? I can see some PSA's now - "Forget Jobcorps, come hack email accounts with us and help your community!"
This line of thinking also states for future potential crimelords that if you hack into email, your time is a walk in the park. If there is no deterrent then what is the point of the criminal justice system?

Wow, way to completely miss the point. Read sentences much? He meant that the COMMUNITY SERVICE was a net gain for society, since the perp has to do something productive to earn his forgiveness, instead of being locked up and supported by taxpayers.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878254)

Are you really as completely retarded and illiterate as you just made yourself look? Low impact crimes helping society? WTF. Because that's not at all what the guy was saying...

Try going back and reading it over from the start... slowly and carefully. Maybe even wait until you sober up this time.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (2)

wzinc (612701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878016)

Wow, that's actually a really good idea. You'd still have to pay guards to keep them working, but w/o housing, you'd save a lot. Another benefit is, say you have them repairing buildings for the city or whatever; you're also teaching them a trade that they can use when they get out of jail. Maybe they'd learn the value of work and go legit. I'm sure there are some downsides, like this might not work for violent criminals, etc.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

Pamplona Slowpoke (1130755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878230)

Another benefit is, say you have them repairing buildings for the city or whatever; you're also teaching them a trade that they can use when they get out of jail.

Good luck with the unions allowing that!

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878258)

When we do it, it's teaching them a trade. When China does it, it's re-education.

Who are we to tell criminals how they should live their lives?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (2)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877872)

ITT stupidity is a crime.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877878)

Let me preface this by saying that the guy was an idiot and had absolutely no right to go reading someone else's email. He deserves some form of punishment. The legal system is supposed to be fair and consistent, however, and that does not in any way appear to be the case here. Take a look at a few other crimes [toothpicks.org] which have been treated equally harshly.

Seriously guys, when you're incarcerated, you don't have a choice which facility you will be housed in.

Sure you don't get a say, but I find it a little surprising that the judge's recommendation was ignored.

The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why. What I don't understand is why this article seems to be doing a lot of crying on behalf of Kernell. Don't commit the crime if you're going to whine all the way to prison. It's that simple.

The fact that they are making an example of him seems to reinforce the view that an individual invading the privacy of a political figure is somehow worse than the reversed situation. Sounds like a very bad message to be sending, to me.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877746)

Perhaps they feel, as I do, that the punishment is out of proportion with the crime. Should he be punished? Yes, he should; he accessed email without permission. Maybe levy a hefty fine; no one was physically harmed or deprived of property, and he is no danger to society. As such, he doesn't deserve being locked away in a hole with more dangerous individuals.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877928)

Low-security prison camp? That sounds like a fancy name for a country-club prison to me. Plus, it's unlikely he'll have to serve the full term (time off for good behavior, etc).

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877968)

This.

Most people argue that the prison system is to seperate the dangerous individuals from society. This guy is not a danger to society, no one is in danger of getting hurt. Put him on Parole for 2-4 years with community service where all his network access has to be reviewed by a parole officer. Long reaching, annoying punishment, that contributes back to society instead of sapping money.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878334)

Deterrent? Or maybe they hope to make hackers smarter!

Re:Too fucking bad.. (4, Informative)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878052)

He's going to a minimum or low security facility, which is typically almost completely unsecured, and has a focus on work and job programs. We are not talking about "hard time" here. He'll be serving alongside white-collar criminals, not exactly a dangerous bunch.

From the BOP web site [bop.gov] :

The Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Ashland is a low security institution housing male inmates with a satellite camp that houses minimum security inmates.

And since the article calls it low security, but references the prison camp, he might be housed at either the low or min- security facility. Here's a description of the type of facility he's going to [bop.gov] :

Minimum Security: Minimum security institutions, also known as Federal Prison Camps (FPCs), have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing. These institutions are work- and program-oriented; and many are located adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base.

Low Security: Low security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCIs) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dormitory or cubicle housing, and strong work and program components. The staff-to-inmate ratio in these institutions is higher than in minimum security facilities.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878180)

Exactly.

He's going to a minimum security resort prison.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878106)

no one was physically harmed

I take it you've never gotten a phone call at 4:00 AM on an "business use only" line saying "you're a worthless sack of shit and I can't wait to see your death on the news". Four days and zero hours of sleep later, there's definitely "physical harm" involved.

The article only mentions that Palin's family got only "abusive emails and phone calls". There's no mention of threats, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were. That quote above was told to me by someone whose number had been given to a single psychopath. I can only imagine that a widespread leak would be worse.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877776)

It's probably because of this:

BBC News, however, reports [bbc.co.uk] that US government officials have intervened, and Kernell has begun serving time at federal correctional institute in Ashland, Kentucky.

When most people think of an ideal criminal justice system, they think of judges and juries, not government officials. This system does not seem to be a well-oiled machine:

The BOP is not bound by judicial recommendations, one legal expert said federal sentencing was often "arbitrary". "The judge can give either incarceration or probation, but if it's incarceration the state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration," said Professor Robert Weisberg, director of the criminal justice center at Stanford University in California. "There is not a general or uniform US rule," he added. "There is huge local variation."

Re:Too fucking bad.. (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877982)

Oh, there's lots of oil.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877806)

I'm curious how long until he "commits suicide" or keeps getting shuffled around in the prison system until he disappears, or worse, they keep extending his sentence for minor things, until it's his entire lifetime.

The republicans support the prison system, and he fucked with a republican candidate.

He's not leaving prison any time soon, and he will likely never see the light of day again.

expect this to become common, soon it will happen when you speak against any candidate with any amount of political power.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877880)

You realize he's in a low security resort prison and not a "Pound Me in the Ass" maximum security prison, right?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878244)

For now.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877808)

I see it the other way around, for such a crime to deserve a prison sentence it should be much more severe. Guessing someones password to yahoo mail, does not seem like a severe crime to me, if anything Sarah Palin should be schooled on password security and disciplined for sharing sensitive information over yahoo of all things. I work for a bank, and if i had emails on yahoo related to my work and got caught, i would be dismissed, end of story.

Making examples of people just because they have upset a celebrity figure is barbarian and i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there. Where i come from everyone is equal, a crime against a politician holds the same weight as a crime against your average citizen.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877890)

i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there.

Common? Yes. Acceptable? No. Well, at least not for those of us that actually think -_-;;

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877942)

I have to agree. It shouldn't matter who's account was hacked. If he cant get a fair trial (the same punishment you'd get for hacking your neighbour's email account not a celebrity) then why even bother with the expense of a trial?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878142)

Tying the penalty to how hard something is to do is simply foolish, I could go end somebody's life with a couple pounds of pressure on a trigger, and hacking the private communications of a political candidate is something that can easily subvert the election process. It should carry extremely stiff penalties.

If Palin was wrong in any illegal way she should be punished also. Two wrongs don't make a right, remember?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878148)

I see it the other way around, for such a crime to deserve a prison sentence it should be much more severe. Guessing someones password to yahoo mail, does not seem like a severe crime to me

The strength of a password has no bearing on the severity of the crime. kicking in a deadbolt and breaking a window to get in a house are both breaking and entering. Nobody ever suggests a homeowner should have nothing but concrete block walls.

Making examples of people just because they have upset a celebrity figure is barbarian and i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there. Where i come from everyone is equal, a crime against a politician holds the same weight as a crime against your average citizen.

Where are you from? Antarctica?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877864)

No offense, but too fucking bad. Considering the state of our legal system, the guy was lucky to not get boned for the full four crimes he was initially charged with (which would have been a lot longer than just a year, by the way). He committed a crime, one that I personally feel has far-reaching effects as one's e-mail inbox should be considered fairly private. Yes, it was Sarah Palin, and I can't stand her either. Doesn't mean that this guy shouldn't be held accountable for his actions.

Completely agree. While I can't stand Sarah Palin either, this kid committed a crime and must face the consequences. As my Grandfather told me as a child, you have freedom of choice, you do not have freedom of consequences. If this kid didn't want to go to jail he should not have hacked someone's email. Once he did that, plus the other things he did, he put himself in a position to have his freedom put at the discretion of the judicial system.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878028)

You seem so fatalistic. "Even if the consequences are not in proportion to the crime, you MUST FACE THEM! There's nothing that can be done, they're written in stone, we must take them on faith like the 10 commandments and never question them..."

The beauty of the American political system is that the Constitution and the Laws are NOT written in stone; they can be changed, amended, repealed, according to the will of the people. Are you going to stand up for what's right, or for what's been written?

Re:Too fucking bad.. (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877874)

"The US Bureau of Prisons, however, has decided to make Mr Kernell serve out his term in the low-security prison camp nearly 300 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee." ...The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why.

Actually it sounds like USBOP is doing him a favor - putting him in a regular Federal rape-cage closer to his home would not be in his best interest. IIRC, his father is well-connected politically.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1, Insightful)

Azarman (1730212) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877920)

I understand where you are coming from

However what is being missed here completely by all this drama is that Sarah Palin had government related emails in her personal mail box. Now under US law this is highly illegal as all government related emails must pass via the public system so that it can be monitored.

This guy broke in to her email, found emails relating to her work which by law should not have been there and suddenly there is a massive circus and he goes to prison. This is just another case of the government using a scape goat to hide the fact that a government official was doing something they should not.

Also he did not HACK it, that would imply some skill, he simply answered the secret question and got the password reset. His fail was that he used a Proxy that was known to give up private details if requested by the government.

Now finally in closing, I agree he did something wrong, however if this had been done to a normal person no one would have cared. The reason for the media circus was/is to take the light off the fact that Sarah is talking to other government members via private email so that it stays off the audit trail.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877966)

You seriously think some kid breaking into someone's e-mail is a danger to society? Basically you're equating it to a violent crime where they need to be locked away.

Your attitude it precisely what's wrong with the US justice system. Why don't we try to rehabilitate people? Even the lightest punishment would be enough to teach this kid his lesson. Give him probation and community service and he will probably never hack anything again in his life. I don't want to pay to keep him locked up in a prison for something that could be taken care of a lot easier, without the brutal punishment of the federal pen.

Sure, habitual offenders might need something a little more tough but in this case we're talking about someone who never broke any laws before.

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878182)

A) are legal system sin't that abd, and no one with any real knowledge of it expect any of the really charges to actually be workable.

B) Yes it was a crime, but this punishment is bad for numerous reasons.
    1) He sin't a risk to society.
    2) It's an unnecessary expense to the tax payers
    3) These types of sentences end up creating more criminals the prevents
      4) Prisons should be about rehabilitation, not about creating more criminals, and not jsut about punishment. For the majority of crimes, there are better punishments.

    5) While not imprison, they could be working and adding benefit to society.

Yes, he committed a crime. But for this crime, not allowed on social media sites for 6 months, and picking up trash on the side of the road would be more appropriate, and better for society. If not that, then teaching classes on internet safety to kids.
Prison? No, not in this case.

This is bad for him, bad for his family,a dn bad for societ. It hurts far more then it punishes.
"his 366 day punishment at a halfway house, describing it as "a sufficient restriction of the defendant's liberty"."

That would have been a reasonable punishment for this crime. Why people think someone did a crime, there for lock them up in prison actually helps anyone is beyond me.

And of course, Palin blames this on her failure. Not her nonsensical speeches, and vapid answers to questions.

 

Re:Too fucking bad.. (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878212)

I agree but I think the question some folks are asking is whether he would have received the same sentence if the victim was someone other than Sarah Palin. People hack email accounts all the time and post stuff on the net. Suppose, for example, he had hacked a high school class mate's email account. Would he have received a year in jail?

He's Getting Off Easy (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877666)

People still know where he is...

Not "hacked" (2, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877668)

Not even cracked. Please stop talking about this guy like he has some computer wiizardry - he guessed at recovery questions. If I leave a riddle taped to my safe that gives the combo when solved, how angry can I be when somebody figures it out?

Re:Not "hacked" (1, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877696)

Not even cracked. Please stop talking about this guy like he has some computer wiizardry - he guessed at recovery questions. If I leave a riddle taped to my safe that gives the combo when solved, how angry can I be when somebody figures it out?

If my car has only a thin, brittle piece of glass protecting it from being entered into and driven off without my consent, how angry can I be when someone figures it out?

Bad analogy, meet car analogy. Hoyoooooo!

Re:Not "hacked" (4, Insightful)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877756)

was there a pizza in the car?

Re:Not "hacked" (3, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877844)

It's more like having a spare key taped to the sub-frame. Her 'security questions' all had answers that were public information.

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878036)

So if you accidentally leave your car door unlocked, or perhaps, in some strange situation, need to leave a key for someone to grab (a tow guy, whatever) and then if someone takes your car you won't care?

After all, you left it unlocked or left the key taped to the sub frame. How can taking the car be a crime?

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878320)

If I left my keys in the car 100% of the time (a proper analogy to Sarah Palin having a publically solvable recovery question on her account) I would be a whiny ass to complain when someone finally stole it.

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878246)

The best analogy I can think of: If the front door to my house is left unlocked, it is still illegal for you to open the door come in without my permission.

Re:Not "hacked" (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877858)

That's different. Cracking the window glass is more like cracking (heh) since it's unauthorized by design. It may have been a bad analogy but the point stands.

Consider those cars with the entry code buttons - you punch in the code and the door unlocks. What if, on an old car, three of the buttons were very worn and the rest untouched? Sure, getting into my car by trying any of the 6 combinations would be wrong, but you wouldn't be a master thief.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877936)

That's different. Cracking the window glass is more like cracking (heh) since it's unauthorized by design. It may have been a bad analogy but the point stands.

Consider those cars with the entry code buttons - you punch in the code and the door unlocks. What if, on an old car, three of the buttons were very worn and the rest untouched? Sure, getting into my car by trying any of the 6 combinations would be wrong, but you wouldn't be a master thief.

Er... it has occurred to you that a button could be hit more than once?

My combination could very well be 123232131221... if it'd let me enter a code that long.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878108)

Of course there are differences, I don't entirely disagree with you. I was mostly just trying to play up another angle on the argument. This conversation is all the more epic considering your handle is "slimjim"...

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878118)

I had a Ford "Exploder" that had this exact "problem". Five keys on the keypad. Only three of them used for my combo became visibly worn within a few years. Four digit combo. Not too hard to figure out how to get into my car for a determined mathematically literate thief. (Dumber thief would just break the window.)

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878282)

You can always replace those you know, even with keys with no markings.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877892)

I think he meant to say "How surprised can one be" instead of how Angry. I mean, my car getting stolen? Yeah that would definately get me angry, but considering how easy it is for someone to steal a car, it wouldn't surprise* me.

*I mean it would catch me off guard, but I wouldn't be completely dumbfounded on how the theif managed to get past the lock.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877922)

Well put. After all the responses, I wish I'd put it that way... I was addressing the 'hacker' designation mostly.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877908)

If my car has only a thin, brittle piece of glass protecting it from being entered into and driven off without my consent, how angry can I be

Hmmm... In that case you should be pretty angry at your car's manufacturer, because apparently they neglected to include a keyed ignition switch.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877912)

Not even cracked. Please stop talking about this guy like he has some computer wiizardry - he guessed at recovery questions. If I leave a riddle taped to my safe that gives the combo when solved, how angry can I be when somebody figures it out?

If my car has only a thin, brittle piece of glass protecting it from being entered into and driven off without my consent, how angry can I be when someone figures it out?

Bad analogy, meet car analogy. Hoyoooooo!

Parent was complaining that the term 'hacker' has been spun by the media and is flagrantly over-used for even the simplest minute mischief on a computer. Somebody who breaks glass and jacks the car is like a script-kiddie (akin to our friend David Kernell), and equating him with true hackers, say, like the people who wrote Stuxnet or people who hack an ECU to bypass electronic ignition, well, there are different echelons of knowledge required to cross that gap.

Parent, like many of us here, deep down in our hearts cannot fucking stand that the media lumps everybody in one big giant stereotype, because by doing so the commoner hears the word hacker and immediately has about twenty preconceived notions about the individual. Same thing for words like 'Tea-Party' or 'Socialist', or 'Activist'. There are good and bad of both, but stereotypes take independent analysis and critical thinking out of the reporting equation because just using the stereotypical word removes half of the breaking stories exposition, and usually unfairly against the reportee.

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878068)

Mine has a CAT1 immobilizer and CAT1 alarm, despite being 7 years old. Try driving that away without the key.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878130)

If I leave my car unlocked, with the key in the ignition, and someone steals the car then the car was still stolen, regardless of how careless I may have been. Just because it is easy to commit a crime does not make it less of a crime.

          The real issue here is that when David Kernell hacked into one of Sarah Palin's e-mail account was treated very differently than he would have been if he had done the same thing to your e-mail, or my e-mail accounts.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877762)

I see, so if it's easy to break into someplace, it's legal to do so?

If that's the standard of privacy and property you want to go with, then I guess you wouldn't mind somebody bugging all your phones, and tracking your every movement, right? After all, its pretty easy to do. How angry can you be about it when somebody does it?

Re:Not "hacked" (2, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877894)

Not what I said. But if somebody robs my house if I leave it unlocked for a week while away, and I tell them "a maaster robber took my stuff", I'll get some funny looks.

Heck, if you have known bad locks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878010)

Heck, if you have known bad locks on your house and you get burgled, your insurance won't pay up.

So, yes, the ease of break-in DOES make a difference.

PS what about Palin's abuse and hiding of government email, avoiding (and DELETING!!!! cf CRU "deleted my data!" complaints, esp. from Palin and pals) the freedom of information act and hiding her actions illegally?

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877768)

If I leave a hundred dollars on my desk and you take it, I may be careless but you're still a thief.

And if I'm the most powerful woman in the Right Wing of the United States and I leave a hundred dollars on my desk and you take it, you're a thief and a friggin' idiot with a death wish.

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878264)

More like:

If I leave a hundred dollars on my desk and you take it, I tell my manager a hundred dollars is gone and I think you took it. He calls you into his office and yells at you. You give back the hundred dollars. Depending on the manager you may or may not be disciplined, and you may or may not be fired.

If Sarah Palin leaves a hundred dollars on her desk and you take it, you go to federal prison for a year.

Does that seem right?

Re:Not "hacked" (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878332)

Let me amend that. Nobody stole anything. Nobody lost anything.

If I break my company's rules and use my company issued cell phone for personal calls and you catch me and play my voicemails over the P.A. to embarrass me, *I* may get disciplined or fired, you probably won't.

If Sarah Palin breaks the government's rules and uses her government issued cell phone for personal calls and you catch her and play her voicemails over the P.A. you go to federal prison for a year.

Now how fair does it sound?

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877814)

Even if you had a safe with the combination etched into the side of it, it still wouldn't make it legal for someone to open the safe and take shit out of it. Taking stuff that isn't yours is illegal, period, the ease of doing so is irrelevant. Just like you can't rape an invalid just because they're too weak to fight back.

Re:Not "hacked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877896)

So in so much as I have the ability to take your stuff, you won't press charges or be upset?

Might makes right, I suppose...

Re:Not "hacked" (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878012)

In English, words can have multiple meanings. "Hack" is such a word.

The word "hack" in this context means "circumvent computer security." He clearly 'hacked.' As one who hacked, he was a 'hacker.'

There is another definitions of the word "hack:" to cleverly use something in an unintended way. This may be what you are thinking, but this is not the definition being used in the article. Remember back to grade school and "context clues?" Use your context clues in the future to figure out which "hack" is intended by the author.

It's for his own protection... (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877726)

... lest Palin draws a gunsight around his head...

Re:It's for his own protection... (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877854)

Ugh, I'm pretty sick of references to that map. How come nobody is talking about the DLC bullseye map in 2004? Exact same concept, but the media didn't seem to take issue with it.

Re:It's for his own protection... (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877956)

Because nobody got shot as a result of it?

Also the map in 2004 used archery or dartboard style targets, not rifle crosshairs.

Re:It's for his own protection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878360)

Maybe the lack of "let's take them out!" and other aggressive verbiage, along with actual reps NAMES listed, instead of just a state with a bullseye style target on it? And the fact that it had Palin's name all over it? If the same thing had happened to something/someone related to the DLC map, it just wouldn't have had nearly the same ring to it.

And to anyone who doesn't know the difference between a bullseye and a cross-hair, please just stop talking. I am not going to listen to you.

Palin was the one breaking the law... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877732)

Palin was conducting government business in that personal yahoo email account. So what does she get for doing that?

This kid exposes her wrong doing and he goes to prison? Did we become soviet during the 2008 election?

Re:Palin was the one breaking the law... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877790)

It's no different than a police officer illegally entering your house, finding the huge bag of weed and bong you keep in your bedroom, then trying to bring you up on possession charges. It would get thrown out, because the evidence was obtained illegally (or something like that, IANAL so I don't know the "official" wording of such a thing.)

Re:Palin was the one breaking the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877976)

Isn't evidence that was gathered by someone who is not an agent of law enforcement admissible even if it was gathered illegally?

Re:Palin was the one breaking the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878252)

It's actually VERY different:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusionary_rule#Limitations_of_the_rule

A private individual can break the law to gather evidence. They get in trouble for breaking the law but you go down too.

They were both breaking the law! (1)

Arrepiadd (688829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878276)

The kid got caught breaking the law and goes to prison for the crimes he committed. What's so wrong about that part of the whole story?

yeah...if you piss someone off.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877782)

I speak from first hand experience that even if you're innocent, the system will do their best to get their hands on you in the worst possible way if they want to make you pay for something, possibly unrelated. For me it was a friend who did stupid stuff and I was trying to talk him out of it. The caught me on a technicality and got me in jail and then "accidentally" shipped me off to a medium security prison where I stood toe to toe with a guy who was facing 246 years(that is not a typo). All just to make me talk. I never did..fuck 'em.

Re:yeah...if you piss someone off.. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877856)

Sir, we are coming to your house. Place your hands in the yellow circle. If you state you are a meat popsicle [wikipedia.org] , you will be arrested.

Punishment - Crime (4, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877820)

I think the sad thing here is that this guy's future is pretty well screwed for what was (from memory) a fairly impetuous and unsophisticated crime. Sure he should be held accountable, but sending the kid to an institution where he is more likely to be released into a world of criminality with contacts that may like to exploit his rudimentary skills is probably not serving the best interests of his community.

Judicial recommendation =/= prison placement (5, Informative)

celticryan (887773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877822)

FTFA:

"The judge can give either incarceration or probation, but if it's incarceration the state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration," said Professor Robert Weisberg, director of the criminal justice center at Stanford University in California.

If the Judge didn't want him to go to prison maybe he shouldn't have sentenced him to prison time...

Re:Judicial recommendation =/= prison placement (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878310)

Yes, but it almost always does especially when the prosecution agrees. Fed prisoner placement is almost always about risk and resources.

Dollar to donuts, the Judge would have chosen probation had he know that some one would have done this.

Just probation would have marked him for life.

Does prison get worse with distance? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877824)

Is there some law of prison quality that states the comfort of prison is inversely proportional to the distance from the prisoner's home? A small enough data sample sort of points to this as house arrest is probably the most comfortable, but i think the hypothesis falls apart after that. Many people who are in prison might not even have a good home.

For me, I'd think it would be the opposite. I think if i land in prison, i'd rather not have a steady influx of family visitors. I'd hope i was as far from home as possible.

Re:Does prison get worse with distance? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877902)

I think if i land in prison, i'd rather not have a steady influx of family visitors. I'd hope i was as far from home as possible.

You'd rather be completely isolated??

Re:Does prison get worse with distance? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878294)

i'm not sure if you are asking if i want to be put in solitary confinement or not. Obviously i wouldn't want that.

I imagine i would be sufficiently ashamed to not want my mom coming to prison to check up on me. plus what would the other prisoners think?

I'm pretty sure i'm not doing anything i'm going to go to prison for though.

In case anyone forgot (4, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877862)

The account he broke into was being used by Palin to conduct state business that she wanted to hide from being recorded in her official state email account.

Just a reminder.

Re:In case anyone forgot (0, Redundant)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877988)

The account he broke into was being used by Palin to conduct state business that she wanted to hide from being recorded in her official state email account.

Just a reminder.

And whether or not that's true, it's completely immaterial to the facts of his prosecution. Just a reminder.

Re:In case anyone forgot (1)

lingon (559576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878260)

Uhm, no, it's absolutely not, have you ever heard of attenuating circumstances (or at least I think it's called that in the US)? Guessing the answers to security questions to access a state officials e-mail account in order to show that the official in question is using it for illegal purposes should be a helluva lot lighter than hacking an e-mail account in general using any sane interpretation of the law.

Re:In case anyone forgot (1)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878026)

As my father used to tell me as a child, "two wrongs != a right"

Re:In case anyone forgot (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878078)

Salvador Allende would be proud!

Re:In case anyone forgot (1)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878116)

Sarcasm is anger's ugly cousin.

Re:In case anyone forgot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878082)

Someone mod this up.

Re:In case anyone forgot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878202)

Was she punished for doing this?

Re:In case anyone forgot (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878272)

Yes; she was sentenced to writing a bestselling book and having her own TV show.

Re:In case anyone forgot (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878270)

...And that somehow makes it better that he accessed someone's email account without authorization?

The people executed in North Korea are convicted criminals. Just a reminder.

No, he got what was coming to him (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877868)

For as much as I agree with the judge (and am an anti-Palinite), I'm not so sure why he should be an exception.

Eh? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878038)

I know very little about American law, but if the judge recommends a particular sentence, who has the power to change that?

Re:Eh? (1)

Arrepiadd (688829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878222)

RTFA!

I know this is Slashdot, but before you start making questions, you can at least try reading the available info. Otherwise, just start commenting right away, but making statements, not questions!

Re:Eh? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878340)

Recommendations is not the same as Sentence.

The judge sentenced the guy to serve time but recommended immediate parole.

The judge is not an arbiter of parole, which is the authority of the parole boards.

As someone else already said.. if the judge didnt want this guy to serve time, he should not have sentenced him to jail time. But the judge did want him to serve time, just not hard time.

He got off easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878124)

He should have had longer sentence.

Don't simplify the crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878236)

1. He didn't break into "someone's account. He broke into a governor and VP candidate's account.
2. He didn't stop at breaking into the account and reading the data. He passed the password onto others. That's like the difference between stealing a set of keys and simply entering the house versus giving the keys to someone who's going to steal things.

He was convicted of... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878354)

obstruction of justice
Maximum 20 years in prison
$250,000 fine
5 years supervised release

Basically he panic and tried to cover his tracks. Sure he was found guilt and punished, but this punishment is stupid, spiteful, and harmful to society as a whole.

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