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Palin's Yahoo E-mail Account Hacked, Contents Posted Online:
Fox News reports:
  In the latest of a series of invasions into Sarah Palin's personal life, hackers have broken into the Republican vice presidential candidate's private e-mail account, and a widely read Web site has published screen grabs from it.
  An article Wednesday in Gawker.com posts family photos and snapshots of e-mail exchanges the Alaska governor had with colleagues. Gawker says the-email account has since been shut down, but it will leave the images up on its site for all to see.
  "Here are the screenshots of the emails saved before the account went dark, along with the contact list. It's newsworthy and we will not be taking it down!" the site declares.
Gawker has posted the contents in several individual posts; here is the most recent.

  UPDATE: The FBI and Secret Service are conducting a joint investigation. The easiest crime to prove here is 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C), accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information, with the possibility of felony liability under 18 U.S.C. 1030(c)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii) and also the possibility of felony liability under 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4). As with most computer crime cases, the real trick will be finding the bad guy rather than finding a charge.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comment thread, J. Aldridge writes:
Since Gawker is fully aware this information was obtained illegally they are looking at some serious charges.
  Well, it's a free country, so anyone can look. But I don't think Gawker is criminally liable for posting the information. While it's unseemly and perhaps rather nasty to post it, it's normally not a crime to post evidence that was obtained as a fruit of crime. There is no claim that the information was obtained in violation of the Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. 2511, which might trigger a prohibition on disclosing illegally intercepted materials. The contents here were stored, not in transit, and thus the Wiretap Act's disclosure limitations don't apply. See, e.g., United States v. Steiger, 318 F.3d 1039 (11th Cir. 2003). Further, even if a statute did prohibit such a disclosure — and again, I don't know of such a statute — publishing it is likely protected by the First Amendment under Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001), assuming that Gawker was not involved in the hack.
Brooks Lyman (mail):
I know that American politics - particularly Presidential politics - has always been a sort of rough game, but tell me: is this a bit over the line or not?
9.17.2008 11:20pm
J. Aldridge:
Since Gawker is fully aware this information was obtained illegally they are looking at some serious charges.
9.17.2008 11:20pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
If you really want privacy in your email, encrypt it before you send it. Sending an email is almost like sending a post card.
9.17.2008 11:24pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
orin: can you offer an opinion on J. aldridge's comment?

would it be possible/ a good idea to prosecute this against gawker (assuming gawker was not the hacker-just the reproducer)
9.17.2008 11:24pm
_quodlibet_:
More details at http://pastebin.com/f652c44fb. (Hat tip to reddit)
9.17.2008 11:27pm
Mike& (mail):
Since Gawker is fully aware this information was obtained illegally they are looking at some serious charges.

Jesus, dude, do you ever research the law before posting? I'll give you a hint: Bartnicki v. Vopper.
9.17.2008 11:28pm
NYU JD:
Also, it's a pretty clear invasion of privacy tort, right? Gawker may not have done the hacking, but putting this crap on their website should expose them to millions in tort liability.
9.17.2008 11:32pm
J. Aldridge:
Mike, I don't see any "great public concern" here. I'm looking at as knowingly receiving stolen property.
9.17.2008 11:33pm
DangerMouse:
Finding the guy is a piece of cake:

This afternoon, in a thread that was later deleted, an individual claiming to be the original poster gave his account of what happened. I’ve attached screencaps. Here’s the text. The original poster used the name “rubico.” The linked email address for the poster was rubico10@yahoo.com.

This is what rubico said:

rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:57:22 No.85782652

Hello, /b/ as many of you might already know, last night sarah palin’s yahoo was “hacked” and caps were posted on /b/, i am the lurker who did it, and i would like to tell the story.

In the past couple days news had come to light about palin using a yahoo mail account, it was in news stories and such, a thread was started full of newfags trying to do something that would not get this off the ground, for the next 2 hours the acct was locked from password recovery presumably from all this bullshit spamming.

after the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)

the second was somewhat harder, the question was “where did you meet your spouse?” did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for “palin eloped” or some such in one of the tabs.

I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on “Wasilla high” I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower…

>> rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:58:04 No.85782727

this is all verifiable if some anal /b/tard wants to think Im a troll, and there isn’t any hard proof to the contrary, but anyone who had followed the thread from the beginning to the 404 will know I probably am not, the picture I posted this topic with is the same one as the original thread.

I read though the emails… ALL OF THEM… before I posted, and what I concluded was anticlimactic, there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped, all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor…. And pictures of her family

I then started a topic on /b/, peeps asked for pics or gtfo and I obliged, then it started to get big

Earlier it was just some prank to me, I really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING, I read everything, every little blackberry confirmation… all the pictures, and there was nothing, and it finally set in, THIS internet was serious business, yes I was behind a proxy, only one, if this shit ever got to the FBI I was fucked, I panicked, i still wanted the stuff out there but I didn’t know how to rapidshit all that stuff, so I posted the pass on /b/, and then promptly deleted everything, and unplugged my internet and just sat there in a comatose state

Then the white knight fucker came along, and did it in for everyone, I trusted /b/ with that email password, I had gotten done what I could do well, then passed the torch , all to be let down by the douchebaggery, good job /b/, this is why we cant have nice things



The “white knight fucker” was the /b/tard who thought that going through Sarah Palin’s email wasn’t cool. He logged in, changed the password, and sent an email to a friend of Palin’s warning her and letting her know the new password. Unfortunately, he then posted a screenshot of this email to let the other /b/tards know their fun was over. He failed to blank the password, and they all tried to log in and change the password — which tripped the automated Yahoo! freeze. Since then, the account has been deleted. “Rapidshit” refers to rapidshare.com — i.e., rubico wanted to download the emails, put them into one file, and put that file up on rapidshare for /b/tards and the world at large to download. But he panicked, or didn’t know how to download the emails, and so pawned that task off on Anonymous, which he didn’t realize wasn’t monolithic and in his favor.
9.17.2008 11:34pm
J. Aldridge:
Wonder if a copyright issue can be made too?
9.17.2008 11:36pm
PQuincy1:
On the one hand, this does seem clearly 'over the line' as an invasion of privacy. It appears to violate the law, as well.

On the other hand, I understand that Gawker justifies its actions on the basis of allegations (not necessarily confirmed) that Governor Palin was using her Yahoo and other non-official accounts to discuss public business and to conduct affairs in a way intended to avoid Alaska open records laws and thus public scrutiny. If this is true -- and again, it has not been confirmed by generally reliable sources, as far as I can see -- then the hacking might be justified politically and morally, at least, though probably not legally.

This raises a difficult Catch-22 problem. Obviously, it would be easy to make such an allegation about ANY public official, so accepting the 'avoiding public scrutiny' argument would (politically and morally) justify hacking any public official's private e-mail.

Yet, the allegations might well be true, and the only real way to find out is to view the contents of the account. After all, the owner of the account WERE using it to avoid scrutiny, she would have every reason to dissemble about the contents of its e-mails, and could be relied on to reveal them.

One could ask a court to intervene, but again, the crucial evidence would itself remain unavailable until access was forced (though it might be reviewed by a judge, at this point, who could decide if it did indeed violate public records laws, and should thus properly become public).

In any event, it would require criminal allegations, or at least a plausible civil case, for a judge to act, and such action could be long delayed (as, for example, the recent White House's use of RNC and non-government e-mail systems in clear violation of official policy, which has not yet resulted in any such emails becoming available to Congressional investigators, quite apart from any privilege claims, as they would be if they had been sent using government accounts).
9.17.2008 11:36pm
Lior:
The kind of yahoo that uses a Yahoo! account to run official government business deserves this result.

BTW, I wonder what are the ordinary consequences for lower-level government employees who store official government correspondence on their private accounts, especially if the accounts are hacked. The incident makes it clear, for example, that Ms. Palin cannot be trusted with a security clearance.
9.17.2008 11:39pm
NYU JD:
Also, Mike&, read the whole case. The court only decided it as an as-applied challenge, where the content published was of public concern. That's not the case with Gawker's publication here, which included purely private matters (such as Bristol Palin's private voicemail, or an Amy McCorckell e-mail to Sarah Palin that was for personal support.) And, since the precedent isn't squarely on, don't forget that two of the 6-3 majority were replaced by Alito and Roberts.
9.17.2008 11:39pm
Asher (mail):
That's rough, but this woman can barely speak (or write) English. I mean:

His fighting you reveals some evil stuff going on with him

or

remember how he said it all only really matters on matters like LIFE, honesty, ability, etc…all those things you are (as opposed to attributes of your opponents)?

The guy she's writing to is LIFE? It all only really matters on matters? It's time for good grammar in The White House again.
9.17.2008 11:41pm
J. Aldridge:
PQuincy1, you might have something there IF Sarah established the account for purely private and personal affairs unrelated to her office. All candidates establish alternative accounts for election communications.
9.17.2008 11:42pm
fullerene:



OK: While it's unseemly and perhaps rather nasty to post it.

Orin, you did link to it, didn't you? Is that all that different from posting it in the first place?
9.17.2008 11:43pm
egn (mail):

I don't see any "great public concern" here. I'm looking at as knowingly receiving stolen property.


That's swell, but Bartnicki pretty clearly stands for the proposition that the media can't be held liable for publishing true information even if the third party that obtained it broke the law. At least parts of what Gawker posted are pretty clearly of "public concern." And awesome.
9.17.2008 11:43pm
J. Aldridge:
Correction: "IF Sarah did not establish"
9.17.2008 11:43pm
DangerMouse:
This thread will quickly degenerate into a bunch of people saying that Palin deserved it because of her politics, or that any (conservative) politician's email deserves to be hacked to find out if they're abusing their office. Why else would a person want a personal email address except to engage in corruption? Which we all know Republicans do.
9.17.2008 11:44pm
Dr. Guest:
Hacking an email to get evidence? Okay politically and morally (if not legally). Waterboard a terrorist? Send 'em to the slammer.

The level of intellectual dishonesty is astounding.
9.17.2008 11:44pm
_quodlibet_:
DangerMouse said:

>Finding the guy is a piece of cake

Methinks that's not his real email address. Only noobs give their real email address on 4chan. Doing is an invitation to get spammed with furry porn.
9.17.2008 11:46pm
Bart (mail):
Get warrants to search Gawker's premises and computers and execute the warrants.

While you are conducting the search, serve the principals with subpoenas to appear before a criminal grand jury asking them who provided them with the materials. Jail them if they refuse to answer. These geeks are not built to survive in a big city lockup and they will crack quickly.

Follow the evidence. It would be very interesting to see if there are Dem party or Obama campaign oppo researchers involved here.
9.17.2008 11:46pm
egn (mail):

Hacking an email to get evidence? Okay politically and morally (if not legally).


But wait, no one actually said..... Oh, I see what you're doing.
9.17.2008 11:47pm
J. Aldridge:
egn, the issue as I see it is not publishing the truth but publishing personal info that was clearly known to had been illegally obtained. Personal communications unrelated to her office isn't sanctioned by Bartnicki from my quick read of it.
9.17.2008 11:48pm
Dr. Guest:
A person's email is hacked and the concern is not that left-wing zealots have lost control but rather that Palin is now unqualified because of her poor judgment in using yahoo email.

Wow. Some of you need to divorce yourself from the campaign season. If this had been Joe Biden's email, you'd be screaming about the right wing fantatics. And you'd be right. And just to be clear, there are people on the right who would rationalize the conduct in the same way. But the key is that it is rationalization.

There are clear lines. This one was transgressed. Don't hide from it. Don't rationalize. Preserve your intellectual honesty and disown it.
9.17.2008 11:48pm
OrinKerr:
Orin, you did link to it, didn't you? Is that all that different from posting it in the first place?

Fullerene, you did refer readers to my link, didn't you? Is that all that different from linking to it?
9.17.2008 11:50pm
Smokey:
Thanx for the nitpicking, Asher. We should all forget the real concerns over honesty and ability and all the really tame stuff in these emails, and worry about grammar instead? RI-i-i-i-i-ght

Just to be fair, we should see 0bama's emails to his felon cronies like Ayers, huh?
9.17.2008 11:50pm
Bode (mail):
I think it's pretty funny that 4chan is responsible for this nonsense. Over the line isn't particularly relevant to these jokers -- it's all for the lulz, in the end. DangerMouse nailed it on the head -- a 4chan addicted coworker told me the same story this morning, and we bet each other about how long it would take to show up in the MSM. Sorry to say he won, since I wasn't entirely convinced it was legit (hard to tell reality from fiction with that crew).

Anyway, I suppose an argument could be made that if you use your yahoo email address for state business, you should expect something like this. I doubt anyone would have been hacking her email if the idea hadn't been planted with the "uses personal email for government work" stories.

Regardless, I really hope the perpetrators are caught, and I have every reason to believe they will. I'm sure Yahoo keeps track of all of this information, and I doubt it'll be too hard to track the guy down. 4chan is a lot of things, but "smart criminals" they aren't. They're just juvenile anarchists.
9.17.2008 11:50pm
DangerMouse:
Dr. Guest,

Your pleas will fall on deaf ears, because the Obama campaign is like a cult. His supporters can do no wrong. They are really deranged. At this point, I predict that they will turn violent very soon.
9.17.2008 11:51pm
Dr. Guest:
egn

Yes, I'm sure it's a leap to assume that PQuincy, who said that the hacking could be justified politically and morally, condemned the interrogration techniques used by the Bush Administration. Want to take odds on that leap?
9.17.2008 11:53pm
egn (mail):

Personal communications unrelated to her office isn't sanctioned by Bartnicki from my quick read of it.


At least one is related to her office.



There are clear lines. This one was transgressed. Don't hide from it. Don't rationalize. Preserve your intellectual honesty and disown it.


I can, I think, disown the act of hacking her e-mail and admit to being intrigued by the results. Not the pictures -- I couldn't care less about those -- but the emails. The way a person writes tells me a lot.

As for Gawker's publication of the materials, I'd defend it on free press grounds regardless of who was the victim of the hacking.
9.17.2008 11:54pm
Lior:
Dr. Guest: Accessing someone else's email account is a crime, but surely assault is a more serious crime?

Speaking of crimes, oughtn't storing government documents on a public server be a crime as well?

PS: The problem with "waterboarding terrorists" is not with the first word, but with the second. As to waterboarding, it's generally agreed that there are circumstances where it's useful and appropriate to torture terrorists. On the other hand, this argument ceases to be relevant once you start labelling every prisoner a "terrorist" -- the current US policy. They are not aruging that it's ok to waterboard terrorists. They are arguing that its ok to waterboard any person whatsoever for any reason whatsoever, as long as the president approves.
9.17.2008 11:56pm
enjointhis:
The interesting thing, I find, is that the hacker was seeking damning e-mails ... but found nothing of consequence. Assuming he was bright enough to recognize something problematic, I think this deflates some of the Democrats' hype about Palin being a right-wing nut case. One would think Palin would be willing to speak more freely using an ostensibly private e-mail address.
9.18.2008 12:01am
Lior:
Damn; posted exactly the opposite of what I meant. The question should be:
Shouldn't it be a crime for a public employee to store official government documents on an insecure service controlled by a private company?


People who take documents home or fail to properly lock their offices get disciplined all the time. Shouldn't Gov. Palin be disciplined for storing official government communications on Yahoo!'s servers?
9.18.2008 12:02am
fullerene:

Orin, you did link to it, didn't you? Is that all that different from posting it in the first place?

Fullerene, you did refer readers to my link, didn't you? Is that all that different from linking to it?


Wha? You linked to Gawker without the slightest hint of criticism of its activities. Later on you argued that Gawker behaved odiously by posting the information. These seem like inconsistent positions to me.

I only referred to your link to argue that you were being inconsistent. Readers who followed my advice to examine your post would have only been exposed to this inconsistency. Not sure how this is at all the same as what you did.
9.18.2008 12:02am
Dr. Guest:
Dangermouse,

Not all of Obama's supporters are as delusional as some who post here. The fact is, there are idiots on both side of the political aisle. What happens when one party is out of power is that they start to adopt a "by any means necessary attitude" toward the other side. Republican frustration with Clinton's victories in 1992 and 1996 fueled the Lewinsky hearings, as most Republicans now divorced from that period would freely admit. But they couldn't admit it during that time because the wounds from other political battles were too fresh.

I see the same phenomenon happening with some of the Obamabots on the net. They feast on any mischaracterization or lie by McCain, while denying that their candidate has engaged in any negative campaigning or deceptive conduct (like, for instance, today's episode involving selected quotations from Limbaugh). You literally could change the names of the person involved in the daily mini-scandal and the reaction would change from savage attack to zealous defender.

The woman's email was stolen. It was wrong. And several commenters here are already trying to minimize the illegal behavior. And you wonder why we can't talk about issues. If we can't reach a fundamental agreement about what is right and wrong, how can we debate what kind of regulation is needed on Wall Street, how the tax system should be structured, and what is the best way to deal with terrorism? We never get to the issues because we have people so blinded by hatred for the other side that they can't even stop to condemn what any reasonable person would acknowledge is outrageous behavior. If this happened to your family memger instead of a political candidate you hate, you wouldn't hesitate to condemn it. The conclusion shouldn't change just because the victim of this particular crime is someone with whom hou happen to disagree as to a number of political issues.
9.18.2008 12:03am
Joe Kowalski (mail):
While I certainly don't condone illegally breaking into a computer service that you're not supposed to have access to, I do think there needs to be some discussion about why Gov. Palin would be conducting official state business with a personal Yahoo account, irrespective of the account being broken into.
9.18.2008 12:04am
fullerene:
OK, I am not attacking you. There has always been a lot of debate about the ethics of linking to other content, and I thought that you were exposing some of the confusion or difficulty surrounding the topic. Nothing personal here.
9.18.2008 12:04am
Lior:
enjointhis: I don't think the hackers were politicially motivated, nor did they scan through the emails to find the "problematic" ones. They posted the two messages to prove that they actually did what they claimed to have done. Probably they have a complete dump of the account, but until that gets posted we won't know what was stored there.
9.18.2008 12:04am
TruthInAdvertising:
In most government workplaces, you would be in serious trouble for conducting government work on a personal e-mail account. I wonder what the punishment would be for a state of Alaska employee doing the same thing?
9.18.2008 12:05am
SATA_Interface:
The problem with 4chan and the lurking /b/tards is that those postings are almost always considered "anonymous". while those of you who would have the FBI grab the HDD and send out subpoenas to fix their little red wagon; it's very possible that the servers are not on American soil... This is the similar group that has harassed Scientologists and also makes a sport of making really poor taste racial humor all over the social networks on the web. Look up "Pool's closed" on encyclopedia dramatica for a better example of this group...
9.18.2008 12:06am
J. Aldridge:
Orin: How about third parties communications being disclosed? Don't they have an expectation to privacy from publishers illegally obtaining their communications?
9.18.2008 12:07am
George Weiss (mail) (www):
thanks for the response update orin. Bartnicki v. Vopper seems to rely on the information being of great public importance to implicate 1st amendment protections. i see no great importance at all here..just private communications between 1 person and another person.

but i think your right that the greater problem with prosecuting the reproducer is that there is no statute prohibiting it in terms of federal law at least.

i think saying its "rather unseemly and perhaps nasty" is the understatement of the year.

lets hope they nail this hacker himself. if he used some public computer for the whole thing or if at a private one he bounced it off a zillion proxies its going to be hard.
9.18.2008 12:07am
Dr. Guest:
Lior,

I didn't say that we should waterborad terrorists or suspected terrorists. But just as "assault" is a more serious crime, storing emails in a personal account that could contain incriminating evidence about misconduct in office is hardly of the magnitude to justify illegal behavior. At least the person waterboarding a suspected terrorist is trying to prevent mass catastrophe. Does that justify the interrogation technique? I'll leave that to others to decide. But if the choice is to violate the rule of law in order to protect some greater good, I'm pretty sure what the greater good is in that scenario.

The infuriating part is the selective appreciation for the rule of law. Either the rule of law is paramount or it is not.
9.18.2008 12:09am
Alligator:
I think the relevant inquiry is whether Sarah Palin is a matter of public concern (i.e., a public figure) rather than whether the content of these e-mails is a matter of public concern. U.S. caselaw doesn't seem to recognize a right of privacy for public figures and public officials.

Unless strict liability attaches to information acquired through unauthorized access of a protected computer, I don't think Gawker can be held liable.
9.18.2008 12:10am
Dr. Guest:
Here we go. "Sure it was wrong, but let's talk about why she was using her private email to conduct government business." Good grief.
9.18.2008 12:11am
_quodlibet_:

while those of you who would have the FBI grab the HDD and send out subpoenas to fix their little red wagon; it's very possible that the servers are not on American soil...

Even if their servers are located in the US, by the time subpoenas are issued, it would be too late. 4chan /b/ has a very high turnover rate; most threads only live for a matter of minutes, and even popular ones only last a couple of hours. When threads die, no record of them is kept; their disk space is re-used to make room for new threads.
9.18.2008 12:12am
OrinKerr:
Fullerene writes:
Wha? You linked to Gawker without the slightest hint of criticism of its activities. Later on you argued that Gawker behaved odiously by posting the information. These seem like inconsistent positions to me.

I only referred to your link to argue that you were being inconsistent. Readers who followed my advice to examine your post would have only been exposed to this inconsistency. Not sure how this is at all the same as what you did.
Fullerene, I often link to things I disagree with: I hope Internet readers are sophisticated enough to know that I do not endorse everything I link to. I linked to it because it is one of the leading news stories in the United States right now: Copies have already appeared in thousands of places online. Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not see it as a secret that I am ruining by linking to it.
9.18.2008 12:13am
enjointhis:
@ Lior, I was drawing from 'mouse's 10:34 rubico paste, where the (supposed) hacker (supposedly) writes that he "really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING". Of course, I have a hard time understanding/parsing hacker braggadocio, since I'm about as far removed from that lifestyle as any human could be.
9.18.2008 12:13am
Laura S.:

The interesting thing, I find, is that the hacker was seeking damning e-mails ...

The whole affair was spurred on by the shoddy WaPo story about Palin using personal email rather the state gov email for political business. As if this were a bad thing--omitting that its illegal to use government supplied email accounts for political business. But this has become the Democrats' whipping boy over Bush secrecy. So reason is out the door.
9.18.2008 12:13am
Bode (mail):
SATA_Interface:

I don't believe the investigation will focus on 4chan at all. It'll focus on yahoo, and the records they keep. It's entirely possible the actual culprit doesn't even know what 4chan is, and called his buddy with the password (unlikely as that may be). Posting the password isn't as important as who originally accessed the material, and it's not usually that hard to unwind that sort of thing given a subpoena. You better believe yahoo keeps good logs, as do most ISPs and telephone companies. If these guys were professionals there would be less problem getting away with it, but as should be apparent from the posting, they're probably not. Do a google search for "Jake Brahm" for a shining example of the master criminals we're most likely dealing with here.
9.18.2008 12:14am
DangerMouse:
Those wondering if Palin abused her office, and needing to see evidence of that, must think that people here are dumb enough not to believe that such musing don't represent implicit approval of the hacking. Newsflash: you don't get to justify criminal behavior by trying to pilfer through stolen documents merely to satisfy your political dementia.
9.18.2008 12:15am
Dr. Guest:
An email at the end of the day is a communication. If the communication involves confidential material, the use of private email may be problematic (I doubt it actually violates state law but probably does violate internal policies). But if the email is simply a communication to another person that does not involve confidential material, what is the difference between an email and a cell phone conversation? Or for that matter a statement to someone in a hallway?

Maybe there is an internal policy that forbids the use of private email, but otherwise, using a communication facility to transmit communications doesn't strike me as particularly problematic.
9.18.2008 12:15am
J. Aldridge:
Reading these emails I find nothing of "great public concern" with them. They are for all intents and purposes, private communication unrelated to any public concern. Gawker is aware of this yet they continue making them available to the public without lawful permission.
9.18.2008 12:19am
fullerene:


Fullerene, I often link to things I disagree with: I hope Internet readers are sophisticated enough to know that I do not endorse everything I link to. I linked to it because it is one of the leading news stories in the United States right now: Copies have already appeared in thousands of places online. Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not see it as a secret that I am ruining by linking to it.



I assume that Gawker would say the same thing in its defense. Personally, I see nothing wrong with what you did, but I also don't seem anything wrong with posting the emails (stealing them is another matter).



LauraS: The whole affair was spurred on by the shoddy WaPo story about Palin using personal email rather the state gov email for political business.


Shoddy? It seems like WaPo got it right. What constitutes state business or political business is a fine line. Is pressuring a state employee to fire your brother-in-law state business or is it personal? Hard to tell.
9.18.2008 12:19am
DangerMouse:
Dr. Guest,

I agree with you completely. This tribalism is seriously very, very disturbing. But I think that this reaches a new level of maliciousness than the Clinton-Lewinsky years. Trig is an innocent child, and the left would have had him killed. The bloodlust over that baby is seriously disturbing. All because he's got an extra chromosome and thus he's not worthy of life.

The stage has already been set. I hope that baby has a very good Secret Service protector.
9.18.2008 12:19am
Alligator:

Trig is an innocent child, and the left would have had him killed. The bloodlust over that baby is seriously disturbing. All because he's got an extra chromosome and thus he's not worthy of life.


Seriously? Could you provide some examples that aren't anecdotal or posted anonymously in a comment thread?
9.18.2008 12:29am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Lior: Improper storage of classified documents is a problem, not storage of 'government documents' per se.

As a government employee, I could and did take home all sorts of 'government documents'. Things like pay stubs, administrative notices, speeches by gov't employees, volumes of federal regulations. When they became available electronically, I could download most of them to my home PC from publicly accessible website.

Often, too, the office network could go down while important things needed to be done. I and my Washington colleagues would certainly use private e-mail accounts to transmit official documents--not classified mind you--because the alternative was to wait too long. I would also use personal e-mail to query about things that did not need to be in the system for permanent archiving. Consider them 'work product' if you will.

If I had something really sensitive to address--while still not classified--I would use a phone. There's no record requirement for phone calls and the only information available to be gleaned without a tap was the time and numbers of the call.

If still more sensitive--and still not classified--I could use an encrypted phone. Still a minimal record of the call and none on the contents.

Of course, face-to-face leaves no searchable record, either, unless you've got lip-readers or a bugged room.

But if you start with the assumption that all communication between government officials must be insidious, I can see why you'd like to have records to pore through.
9.18.2008 12:35am
Quilly Mammoth (mail) (www):
While it's unseemly and perhaps rather nasty to post it, it's normally not a crime to post evidence that was obtained as a fruit of crime.

But in this case Gawker acted like a fence. The payoff for the criminals was the publication of the emails that they stole. No publication, no profit. By publishing these Gawker essentially "fenced" the crime.
9.18.2008 12:36am
DangerMouse:
Seriously? Could you provide some examples that aren't anecdotal or posted anonymously in a comment thread?

Start here.

Then right here.

And then there's this friend of Bill Mahr's statement on Trig.

Then there's the dehumanization of Trig.

5 kids, one retard.

Then, of course, read Sullivan for your daily dose of dementia and baby hating. Truly, the Infanticide Candidate's supporters would never dehumanize an innocent baby!
9.18.2008 12:46am
Bombast:
Obama's silence on this is deafening.

He could pull a lot of independents over by strongly condemning this, something like "This is an assault on our democratic system. When I'm President, I will direct the Justice Department to vigorously pursue anyone involved."

He hasn't, and I don't think he will. He's too beholden to the far left who're applauding this.
9.18.2008 12:46am
mrbill:
The guys who got into the account said that if the government could get into our email without a warrant whenever they wanted to....then they would reciprocate when they wanted to.

I believe they are the same group posting all over against Scientology and Tom Crazy.


....oh and the Trig baby thingy, think Peter Singer - Princeton - look him up on wiki - should cover it.
9.18.2008 12:46am
VincentPaul (mail):
Asher,
As "His fighting you" serves as the subject of reveals, it is grammatically correct.
9.18.2008 12:50am
Bruce:
This is a serious violation of the law, and I hope it is treated as such by my fellow Democrats. Responsible websites should pull down the material and the offenders need to be brought to justice.

Re: Bartnicki, it's not clear precedent against liability if this situation involved a wiretap (which it doesn't seem like it does). The Bartnicki tapes involved conversations arguably related to matters of public concern, namely whether teachers' union members were plotting to commit violence in connection with a dispute with the school board. I haven't seen these emails but Bartnicki is not carte blanche for redistributing wiretaps of public figures.
9.18.2008 12:51am
Kazinski:
I am a government worker and I occasionally use my private email account to send myself files etc that I want to work on at home. It is not a big deal because just about everything I do is only an FOIA request away in the first place. If I ever had sensitive data such as SSN's or account numbers or personnel records then of course it would be a big deal. But everything is so open where I work paychecks are not even put in envelopes they are placed on desks, unfolded because finding out what somebody makes is a few mouse clicks away. Its already been published on the Internets.

The fact that the hacker admits he didn't find anything completely takes Palin off the hook. She didn't conduct any sensitive business on her private email account. Sending or receiving a document covered by sunshine laws is not a security breach or evidence of incompetence.
9.18.2008 12:52am
rrr (mail):
"Personally, I see nothing wrong with what you did, but I also don't seem anything wrong with posting the emails picking up stolen property that I saw the thief drop on the ground (stealing them is another matter)."

There. Fixed that for you.

Love sleight of hand.
9.18.2008 12:54am
Bruce:
"Obama's silence on this is deafening. . . . He's too beholden to the far left who're applauding this."

Oh come on. This thread is starting to get ridiculous.
9.18.2008 12:55am
Alligator:
J. Aldridge:

Reading these emails I find nothing of "great public concern" with them. They are for all intents and purposes, private communication unrelated to any public concern. Gawker is aware of this yet they continue making them available to the public without lawful permission.


Why does Gawker need permission for the publication to be lawful? Many celebrity sex tapes have been published lawfully notwithstanding a celebrity's refusal to grant permission. How is this any different from a legal standpoint?
9.18.2008 12:58am
Lior:
John: of course I meant "confidential" (including "classified") rather than all government documents.

Dr. Guest: I'm surprised that there's any discussion whether this was a crime. Obviously this is a crime. But the I think the relevant point to most of us is not whether breaking into the e-mail account was a crime, but whether it is appropriate for a governor to conduct official business on a Yahoo! account.
9.18.2008 1:00am
Dr. Guest:
Lior,

A zealot steals a person's email, completely blinded by any sense of right and wrong in order to tear down a political opponent. And what is relevant is whether it is appropriate for the governor to conduct "official business" on a Yahoo account? Wow. I haven't seen a single communication cited that is alleged to be inappropriate, and yet notwithstanding that fact, we are supposed to presume that there is an issue that needs to be explored?

Shameless.
9.18.2008 1:07am
Bill Kilgore:
He could pull a lot of independents over by strongly condemning this, something like "This is an assault on our democratic system. When I'm President, I will direct the Justice Department to vigorously pursue anyone involved."

I believe his spokesman indicated that Obama will be reviewing some poll data tomorrow. If it comes out favorably, he'll follow your advice.

Sure it's a cheap shot but it's a good deal better than breaking into his home because there might be evidence of a Rezko home-buying scheme there... which appears to be the preferred course of some of his supporters.
9.18.2008 1:09am
DangerMouse:
9.18.2008 1:09am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Wouldn't these emails be copyrighted and therefore subject the Digital Millennium take down notice and damages, etc.? Civil Rico?

Says the "Dog"
9.18.2008 1:11am
Bill Kilgore:
That post was dismissive of those Obama supporters who have been quick to condemn this nonsense, a number of whom are within this thread. I apologize for painting with such a broad brush.
9.18.2008 1:12am
Laura S.:

Shoddy? It seems like WaPo got it right. What constitutes state business or political business is a fine line. Is pressuring a state employee to fire your brother-in-law state business or is it personal? Hard to tell.

Shoddy because they neglected to discuss that such a line exists, neglected to discuss that political and personal discourse on state systems is an ethical no-no. It left a slanted impression by omitting the most reasonable explanation. Since you admit its a fine line, its hardly a story, but they played it as it were one.
9.18.2008 1:12am
J. Aldridge:
Alligator said: "Why does Gawker need permission for the publication to be lawful? Many celebrity sex tapes have been published lawfully notwithstanding a celebrity's refusal to grant permission. How is this any different from a legal standpoint?"

I think mostly because one of the parties sold them or because it had been acquired lawfully. That Pam and Tommy sex tape it was learned they had signed away the rights but still sued for copyright and invasion of privacy which they won in court.
9.18.2008 1:13am
Bombast:

Oh come on. This thread is starting to get ridiculous.



Bruce, I would love to be wrong.

It only took Obama a couple of hours to respond to Amir Taheri's article about Obama conducting his own backchanel negotiations with the Iraqi government. This has been the top story for about 10 hours, his campaign hasn't said a word.
9.18.2008 1:16am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Joe Kowalski: I believe there is evidence to suggest that you are financially supporting a terrorist network. I think you have just given me the right to hack your communications so that I can rummage around to see if I can find evidence to support my belief.

If I find such information, it will be of great public interest and concern.

You okay with that? (Not that I need to ask, of course.)
9.18.2008 1:16am
Randy R. (mail):
"Obama's silence on this is deafening. "

I think most people consider the Wall Street meltdown and the fundamental change in how it operates to be a bit more important than a few emails hacked by someone who is not on Obama's staff.

This isn't to condone the actions, but in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatos.

Now please let me get back to cleaning off the blood off my knife so I can go kill more babies. Thanks!
9.18.2008 1:21am
Brian G (mail) (www):
9.18.2008 1:22am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
U.S. caselaw doesn't seem to recognize a right of privacy for public figures and public officials.

Oh, wonderful. Just wait -- clandestine locker room photos of Sarah Palin in next month's issue of Hustler ...

Hmm. Is Helen Thomas a public figure?
9.18.2008 1:23am
Alligator:
DangerMouse, I read your initial post about Trig literally -- I thought you meant that there was talk of murdering him now, as a 4-month-old. My mistake, sorry.

Also, I didn't mean to suggest that Obama's supporters were above such things (although that's certainly a plausible inference from my post). In fact, it's quite clear that people populating the left and right tails of the political bell curve really don't consider anything to be below them. Two (standard) deviations, indeed.
9.18.2008 1:24am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
This isn't to condone the actions, but in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatos.

This wasn't deliberate irony, was it?
9.18.2008 1:26am
DangerMouse:
Alligator,

No apologies necessary. The left would've preferred Trig to have been aborted. But also, if Obama loses, I am seriously concerned that one of his supporters might try to attack Trig at some point, or another member of Palin's family. They're that deranged. So they both wanted Trig to be killed, and are so messed up that I fear for his safety in the future.
9.18.2008 1:28am
OrinKerr:
Brian G,

Saracasm can be funny, but it backfires when you don't know what you're talking about. Of course the person who accessed the e-mail account without authorization is guilty of a crime: 18 U.S.C. 1030, as I explained in the update (and as Mendte pled). But Section 1030 is a different offense than the Wiretap Act, and hacking into an e-mail account is not a Wiretap Act offense, as the Steiger case I linked to concludes. If you're interested in learning more, I recommend my casebook on Computer Crime Law, Chapter 6.
9.18.2008 1:29am
Bill Kilgore:
I think most people consider the Wall Street meltdown and the fundamental change in how it operates to be a bit more important than a few emails hacked by someone who is not on Obama's staff.

In view of the fact that Obama spent last night at a Streisand concert lining his own pockets, I find it difficult to conclude that he is so busy that he was unable to address this in any way.

Right now the campaign is speaking with Alter and the like to see if there is anything juicy so that they can press the "governor was committing a crime" angle. If/when there's nothing there, then he'll condemn the act. If there is something there, he'll condemn the act while scoring political points about the corrupt governor.
9.18.2008 1:29am
KWC (mail):
Wow.

I vehemently oppose McCain-Palin, but I will not go to that site and read her emails. I think that the hacking is despicable and Gawkers' posting of it is similarly disturbing.

Even though I don't like them, I hope that nothing damaging comes out of these emails because this kind of behavior should not be rewarded.
9.18.2008 1:29am
OrinKerr:
DangerMouse,

Could you please move the discussion of your fears that someone is plotting to kill Trig Palin to another blog? You have a tendency to bring up the topic of physical assault in threads that have nothing whatsoever to do with physical assault (as you did when you suggested that people should physically assault Justice Kennedy in response to one of his decisions), and such discussions strike me as both inappropriate and irrelevant to our threads.
9.18.2008 1:32am
DangerMouse:
Orin, respectfully, this email hacking of Palin is seriously on the dangerous side, and I can't be faulted for thinking that if the left is this demented, it will do other things. For Gods sake, the Secret Service is treating this as a dangerous event against a federal candidate. But if you don't want it here, then fine.
9.18.2008 1:36am
J. Aldridge:
Brian G wrote: "Former CBS 3 anchor Larry Mendte entered a guilty plea in Federal Court Friday after being charged with a felony count of intentionally accessing the private e-mail accounts of former co-anchor Alycia Lane hundreds of times."

What, he didn't argue there was "great public concern" behind his actions? /s
9.18.2008 1:42am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
The folks on the left who are downplaying the seriousness of hacking a candidate's private e-mail accounts should realize that they've just lowered the bar on what's acceptable behavior in campaign tactics and public discourse. Remember that left-wingers aren't the only ones capable of doing such a thing.

I view Dick Tuck as having opened the door for Nixon's plumbers.
9.18.2008 1:44am
Alligator:
Dan Solove's article from 2003 covers the relevant law and provides in depth analysis (with bonus critique of Eugene Volokh's position!). The Virtues of Knowing Less: Justifying Privacy Protections Against Disclosure 53 Duke L.J. 967

(Orin's post has driven me to research.)
9.18.2008 1:49am
MnZ:
I hope that the FBI and Secret Service prosecute the people behind this. The prospect of going prison should make partisan hacks on both sides think twice.
9.18.2008 1:51am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

1. Evidently the "hacker" used a proxy server where the admin recognized the URL in the browser screenshots.

2. It's not really hacking. The guy basically did some research and took over a Yahoo email account.

3. If you're doing anything serious with Yahoo email, have your head examined. Please.

4. Unless the "hacker" really did cover his tracks with more than that one proxy then he's toast.

5. Personally I'd do my best to confirm that it wasn't an employee of Yahoo engaged in this first.
9.18.2008 1:57am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
" it's very possible that the servers are not on American soil..."

I find it hard to believe that writers of such poor English are non-American.
9.18.2008 2:08am
Asher (mail):
Thanx for the nitpicking, Asher. We should all forget the real concerns over honesty and ability and all the really tame stuff in these emails, and worry about grammar instead? RI-i-i-i-i-ght

No, let's not. She's not very able (knowing how to communicate is part of ability, though), and she's disturbingly dishonest. But it's unfortunate that her e-mail's been hacked - though I don't think Obama needs to say anything about it or that this reflects in any way on him or his supporters.
9.18.2008 2:14am
PC:
The FBI should certainly prosecute the person behind this. For anyone that thinks that /b/ or Anonymous is backing Obama, I'd suggest checking this out (NSFW). Why would Obama support a group that posts something like that?

Anonymous is the same group that protested Scientology, raids tweener game boards and generally cause mischief and mayhem across the internet. Of course Anonymous isn't a formal group, it's more of a standalone complex.

It appears this "hack" wasn't even done by Anonymous, it was some random person that managed to reset the password to the account using publicly available information (/huge/ security hole in Yahoo! mail). The info was posted on a *chan board and it snowballed from there causing lulz for many, but if you saw any of the threads they were about as apolitical as an internet thread can be.

As to any accusations about the "left" being involved in this, lrn2internets (not safe for sanity).
9.18.2008 2:16am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Dr. Guest: I'm surprised that there's any discussion whether this was a crime. Obviously this is a crime. But the I think the relevant point to most of us is not whether breaking into the e-mail account was a crime, but whether it is appropriate for a governor to conduct official business on a Yahoo! account.
Sure, why not?

Would you think there was something wrong with the governor conducting official business on her home telephone?
9.18.2008 2:31am
Bill Kilgore:
Would you think there was something wrong with the governor conducting official business on her home telephone?

It depends. Is the governor in your scenario a Democrat or a Republican?
9.18.2008 2:33am
Cold Warrior:
This is despicable.

And yes, I did look at the Gawker link.

The best thing about it? Absolutely nothing of interest in these e-mails. Nothing. You'd think that the hacker might've kept this to himself, having hacked into her account only to discover absolutely nothing of interest there. Let's hope that makes it easier to prosecute him.
9.18.2008 2:34am
Dave N (mail):
I agree with Dr. Guest's posts in their entirety and feel little need to comment further.

But I will anyway.

A person's private e-mail accounts are just that--PRIVATE. I am astounded that Obama partisans, supposedly the party of privacy, somehow thinks this is just hunky dory because Governor Palin may have (GASP) somehow conducted state business on her personal e-mail account. This is despicable sophistry--and an attempt to make excuses for the inexcusible.

And yes, I would feel the same way if the hacked e-mails were Senator Obama's or Senator Biden's.
9.18.2008 2:35am
TerrencePhilip:
If "rubico" is, in fact, the guy who did this, he has published what may be the most detailed unsolicited confession to a computer crime ever.

Orin, I think you have some comic relief for the next edition of your book.
9.18.2008 2:39am
RW Rogers (mail):
Gawker published a list of email addresses in Palin's account. What useful purpose was served by that? While I am sure they would deny it, it looks like an invitation to others to engage in more illegal rummaging through private email accounts. The innocent acquaintances of Palin's may have their privacy invaded in the quest to destroy a politician. As this thread shows, for some people the ends will always justify the means (but don't you dare do it to them).

Someone mentioned upthread that 4chan files are overwritten within a short period of time. The question now is, who provided Gawker with copies of the files? Did they attempt to shop them to any other news outlets and what is their relationship, if any, to the Obama campaign?
9.18.2008 2:46am
LM (mail):
Mike G in Corvallis:

The folks on the left who are downplaying the seriousness of hacking a candidate's private e-mail accounts should realize that they've just lowered the bar on what's acceptable behavior in campaign tactics and public discourse.

If you think it's OK to lower your ethical bar to the behavior of the worst miscreant who says he agrees with your opponent, you might as well just do whatever you want to and skip the middle man. It's a good bet that in a country of 300 million people, there's someone in the half you don't belong to who's doing whatever you'll come up with.
9.18.2008 2:49am
marbledclay:
Maybe a few lessons will come out of all this. One might be that a service user's bad security practice does not necessarily make it legal or morally trivial for a curious person to obtain the user's easily accessible though supposedly protected information.

Another lesson might be that using even a medium-strength password can be helpful in defeating simple cracking attempts.
9.18.2008 2:56am
JB:
1) Left-wing zealots are applauding this, because left-wing zealots are morons, but it was done by a politically apathetic group.
2) In the long term, what is more worrisome is that tens of millions of people in this country can't distinguish between guessing someone's Yahoo password recovery questions and Van Eck Phreaking. What does that say about our society's computer knowledge?
9.18.2008 2:58am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
If you think it's OK to lower your ethical bar to the behavior of the worst miscreant who says he agrees with your opponent, you might
as well just do whatever you want to and skip the middle man.


I don't think it's OK — that was my point.

But if I don't approve of something, that doesn't mean it isn't going to happen.

It's a good bet that in a country of 300 million people, there's someone
in the half you don't belong to who's doing whatever you'll come up with.


It's not the fact that someone does it so much as the fact that so many others on the same side approve of it — or minimize its implications.

u
9.18.2008 3:03am
PC:
Cold Warrior: You'd think that the hacker might've kept this to himself, having hacked into her account only to discover absolutely nothing of interest there.

Still not getting it. If this had been an Obama supporting cracker and he didn't find anything, why would he risk exposing himself to show nothing? Like most /b/ "hackers" he wanted some e-cred and he did it for the lulz.

RW Rogers: The question now is, who provided Gawker with copies of the files? Did they attempt to shop them to any other news outlets and what is their relationship, if any, to the Obama campaign?

I haven't seen the exact timeline, but this was popping up on reddit, ycombinator and Digg this morning. The files were released to Wikileaks and Rapid Share, then posted to various torrent sites. Gawker could have pulled the files from any of those sources or someone could have sent Gawker the files from one of those sources.

The guy is probably going to a Fed prison in short order, as he should.
9.18.2008 3:06am
TerrencePhilip:
RW Rogers wrote: Someone mentioned upthread that 4chan files are overwritten within a short period of time. The question now is, who provided Gawker with copies of the files? Did they attempt to shop them to any other news outlets and what is their relationship, if any, to the Obama campaign?

People going to 4chan are always getting screenshots and saving stuff to their own computers, which they can email to others or post somewhere else, which is surely what happened here.

I assume your reference to Obama was simply some kind of trolling attempt. "Hey, what better way to help our candidate than to provide stolen emails to websites, which have virtually no intrinsic interest and whose content does nothing to help our campaign?" Right.
9.18.2008 3:13am
Bill McGonigle (www):
First, the Gawker people are complete crap for posting the e-mail addresses of Gov. Palin's friends and family. If nothing else, this is unmistakably over the top - several dozen people will now effectively have to start all new e-mail accounts and endure the difficulties associated with that. Inexcusable.

As to conducting government business, yeah, there's a point to be made here. However, I'll bet that the most likely reason is that the sender typed 'sarah palin' in their mailer, and having two addresses for her picked the wrong one. Many mailers hide the actual address after choosing, so this is an easy mistake to make. The governor could have at that point chosen to scold the sender, but instead she just replied. The former would have been the pedantically correct thing to do - whether the latter was inexcusable or pragmatic is a matter of perspective.

The important thing to do here to implicate Gov. Palin would be to establish a pattern of certain types of mails, certain correspondents, certain policies, specific projects that she only used her Yahoo! account for. This doesn't seem to exist - the contents appear to be random and mundane. Even the guy who broke into her account and read all of her mails looking for something 'juicy' concurs. So, the conspiracy hypothesis fails, leaving random technology farts as the likely cause.

There's still a technical case to be made here, but good luck getting anybody who has a work and home account themselves to actually care.
9.18.2008 3:14am
bc (mail):
Wow, by not being a scum bag, Sarah Palin is sure dodging a lot of bullets. Why don't other politicians use the same insidious technique?
9.18.2008 3:15am
OrinKerr:
If "rubico" is, in fact, the guy who did this, he has published what may be the most detailed unsolicited confession to a computer crime ever.

Orin, I think you have some comic relief for the next edition of your book.


Actually, some hackers have been known to keep personal diaries of exactly how they committed their offenses. Talk about proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
9.18.2008 3:17am
J. Aldridge:
I have a theory to hold Gawker liable under the The Stored Communications Act.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 2701, an offense is committed by anyone who: “(1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided;” or “(2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains...[an] electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system.” 18 U.S.C. § 2701(a)(1)-(2).

The SCA provides that any “person or entity providing an electronic communication service to the public shall not knowingly divulge to any person or entity the contents of a communication while in electronic storage by that service,” with limited exceptions. 18 U.S.C. § 2702

Hackers moved protected communications from Yahoo over to Gawker, who then acted as an agent on behalf of the hackers to divulged the protected contents to other persons from the new storage location found on Gawkers server.

Gawker probably faces civil copyright and invasion of privacy complaints from 3rd parties.
9.18.2008 3:26am
Stellar (mail):
Is this not more than personal emails posted on the net? What are the laws regarding publishing a list of email addresses of citizens not in public life and publishing personal contact info (phone number) of a minor child?
9.18.2008 3:36am
Bill McGonigle (www):
I copied the above comment of mine to my blog and attached an illustrative screenshot, in case my description was unclear.
9.18.2008 3:36am
Mike& (mail):
Incidentally, if you want to understand rubico's email, read "Encyclopedia Dramatica." Be careful before clicking some of the links, though, as there's some disturbing stuff there.

/b/ subculture is really, really interesting. I spent 3 or so hours on ED a few weeks ago. Here's a good start. Anonymous.
9.18.2008 3:43am
JB:


It's not the fact that someone does it so much as the fact that so many others on the same side approve of it — or minimize its implications.


Yes, that's low, but "Hacking" has come to be far too broad a term. What should be reported as "Internet anarchist troublemaker guesses the password of poorly-secured account of public figure, which anyone with 20 minutes to spare could have done" becomes "ZOMG political partisan infiltrates enemy's private communications secret-agent style." No recognition that this is about as far from what the Chinese have been doing to the DoD and the Russian cyberattacks on Estonia as the two candidates' abortion positions.

Cases like this show the callousness of a few political partisans, and the utter ignorance of everyone else. The latter is what troubles me most.
9.18.2008 3:47am
rosignol (mail):
4chan.org is hosted at Netasset in Fresno, CA. Contrary to popular belief, only slightly more than half of it's visitors are from the USA.

There isn't much point in serving a warrant on 4chan, as the earlier comment re thread life, anonymity, and retention are accurate- they don't keep anything.

<i>4chan is a lot of things, but "smart criminals" they aren't. They're just juvenile anarchists.</i>

QFT.
9.18.2008 3:49am
Bombast:
There's a reason to serve a warrant on 4chan.

So the feds can take all their servers for forensic analysis. As well as the home computers of their admins.

That should only take a year or two.
9.18.2008 4:01am
Alligator:
J. Aldrige, Gawker did not obtain the e-mails by accessing a stored communications facility (i.e., server). There was at least one intermediary between Gawker and the person who "accesse[d] without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided."

Regarding § 2702, even if Gawker provides an electronic communication service, Gawker did not divulge Palin's e-mails (electronic communications) while the e-mails were in Gawker's electronic storage. The e-mails were in Yahoo!'s electronic storage, divulged by a third party, ... , then posted on Gawker.

There is no agency relationship unless the "hackers" authorized Gawker to act as their agent. The authorization must have been explicit. There is no evidence of that here.

I haven't actually looked at the e-mails but the few quotes I've seen here suggest that the merger doctrine might preclude liability for copyright infringement.
9.18.2008 4:21am
Nikolay (mail):

Then, of course, read Sullivan for your daily dose of dementia and baby hating

You mean like this?


the decision to bring up a child with Down Syndrome is one of the most noble, beautiful and admirable decisions any person can make. That Sarah Palin is doing that says a huge amount in favor of her. The love obviously being shown toward tiny Trig is also about as profound an advertisement for genuine, pro-life Christianity as you can have. It means that, in this respect, Palin has walked the walk of the pro-life movement - in ways that many others have not. In my view, and I mean this as passionately as I mean my criticisms of her public record, this really is God's work.

Daily Dish
9.18.2008 6:10am
A.W. (mail):
By the way, to anyone here who claims that this is no big deal, I will remind all of you that this is virtually the same thing as what those “third rate burglars” in Watergate tried to do.

Obama better make damned sure none of his people did this.

As for the legal analysis up there, you guys are forgetting state law on the subject. I don’t know which states are involved, so I can’t say anything on that subject, but that would be implicated, too.

Nikolay

You don’t prove that Mr. Excitable is a nice guy in general by picking out one nice thing he said. Let’s not forget that he has claimed that McCain lied about the cross in the dirt story, and that he also circulated rumors that Sarah’s latest child was not her own.

Sully was once a respectable and balanced commenter. But around when Bush came out in favor of an anti-gay-marriage amendment, he first just became another anti-bush guy, and quickly descended into full-on derangement.
9.18.2008 6:59am
Kevin P. (mail):
Nikolay, you pulled out the one single decent post Andrew Sullivan made about Sarah Palin since she came into the public spotlight. Other than that, he has been a disgusting sleazebag not fit for civilized company.
9.18.2008 7:03am
Bill Kilgore:
Nikolay- how come you didn't pick the Sullivan post where he demanded that Palin turn over her gynecological records in order to prove she was really the mother of her last child?
9.18.2008 7:12am
Kevin P. (mail):

AW
Sully was once a respectable and balanced commenter. But around when Bush came out in favor of an anti-gay-marriage amendment, he first just became another anti-bush guy, and quickly descended into full-on derangement.


Exactly. I used to read him. He was always excitable, but still worth reading. Then, ironically, just as the gay marriage debate seemed to be dying down, San Francisco started conducting illegal gay marriages, prompting the right to return to the fight and float the gay marriage amendment. Sullivan has never been the same since.

I have been returning to his blog of late, much like one can't tear one's eyes away from a train wreck. I find gems like this:

Self-rationalization

Alex Massie is disappointed by my relentless vetting of Palin, specifically the bizarre facts in the public record about her fifth pregnancy. For my part, I stand by my skepticism of everything Sarah Palin says. To my mind, her constant public lies about almost anything, large and small, and the proximity of this strange, unvetted blank slate of a candidate to the Oval Office render all usual assumptions of good faith on the part of a candidate moot.


Awesome self-rationalization, no?
9.18.2008 7:12am
Nikolay (mail):

Nikolay- how come you didn't pick the Sullivan post where he demanded that Palin turn over her gynecological records in order to prove she was really the mother of her last child?
Well, maybe it has to do with the fact that these inquiries, whoever improper they may be, have nothing to do with wanting to kill the baby Dangermouse was speaking about.
Sullivan may have crossed the bounds of sanity re:Palin, but to accuse him of baby hating and wanting to kill Trig the way Dangermouse is doing is a totally outrageous slander.
9.18.2008 8:33am
Sarcastro (www):
I think it's clear this "rubico" is Barak Obama himself, with help from Ayers and Rezco.

We need to blame this on Obama now!
9.18.2008 9:57am
A.W. (mail):
Kevin P.

I am really pretty sure I saw the exact moment he turned against bush. Bush announced he was for an amendment against gay marriage, and Sully wrote a very angry post about how he loves the constitution, and now suddenly the constitution is going to discriminate against people like him, if Bush wins that debate and so on.

I remember thinking, really, Andrew? You think those evangelicals who wrote the Fourteenth Amendment were cool with gay marriage?

The Fourteenth Amendment is more “liberal” on equality of opportunity than a lot of people give it credit for being, but I can assure you they did not support gay rights. You can think whatever you want about that, but that is just the fact of the matter.
9.18.2008 10:08am
The Ace (mail):
I am astounded that Obama partisans, supposedly the party of privacy, somehow thinks this is just hunky dory because Governor Palin may have (GASP) somehow conducted state business on her personal e-mail account

I'm not.

Liberals will say anything to justify their behavior, even if it contradicts a previously held political position.

These same people will lecture endlessly on "privacy" until you take a political position that contradicts thier own.
9.18.2008 10:29am
MJG:
Professor,

Would the private liability sections of the SCA be implicated by gawker? I did some work on this in the past but don't have it in front of me now, but I assume that those who actually hacked in would be liable for at least statutory damages, since they accessed without authorization data held in electronic storage.

But then maybe that doesn't extend to gawker for posting it? Also, what about a privacy tort? I guess the reasonable expectation of privacy analysis could draw from the 4th amendment jurisprudence on this stuff. And it's an interesting question. My sense is that the internet is fair game so no expectation of privacy, but maybe I'm harsh -- it was a private email account.

I leave open the question of what the damages for the tort would be.
9.18.2008 10:32am
erics (mail):
After watching everyone piss their pants over FISA and wiretapping, this story has a delightful man bites dog aspect.
9.18.2008 10:44am
PC:
After watching everyone piss their pants over FISA and wiretapping, this story has a delightful man bites dog aspect.


Indeed, some random basement dweller infiltrating a poorly secured free email service is just like the federal government doing broad based vacuuming of internet traffic using cutting edge technology.

It's like totally the same.
9.18.2008 11:09am
Dan Weber (www):
If you really want privacy in your email, encrypt it before you send it. Sending an email is almost like sending a post card.

If you think encryption is your solution, you don't understand your problem.
9.18.2008 11:18am
eaglewingz08 (mail):
What about the crime of possession of stolen property? The emails constitute property of the Governor, and Gawker is in possession of it without any right or justification to same. Gawker should also have civil liability as well. One should also check Illinois computer privacy statutes as the black bag operation appears to have transpired in Chicago, mirable dictu, the home of the Obamanation's political operation as well.
9.18.2008 11:19am
erics (mail):
PC

I'm not talking about the action. I'm talking about the reaction.

Dummy.
9.18.2008 11:46am
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Why do I keep reading from lefties that there were official state documents in Palin's Yahoo email account? I have seen no indication that this is the case. I guess when you have to defend the indefensible, you clutch at straws.

These are the same people who complain about Bushitler's privacy invasions, the Patriot Act, the wiretapping of foreign terrorists on foreign soil, etc.

What a bunch of hippo-critters.
9.18.2008 11:54am
Ben Franklin (mail):
I am not going to lower myself to reading the stolen e-mails. The hilarious thing about all of this is that Sarah, love her or hate her, is about as squeaky clean as a politician can be. There are no associations with terrorists, there are no associations with CEO's of public/private corporations that have left the taxpayer hanging to the tune of billions of dollars, there are no personal scandals of an ethical nature and there are no ties to leftist front groups. The first time she is caught in a lie there will be headlines across the country when the other candidates get away with lying regularly.

And yet, it looks like the left and the media are going to be successful in destroying her. Whatever the outcome of this election, we are going to get what we deserve.
9.18.2008 11:55am
Sarcastro (www):
No terrorists OR evil CEO's in Sarah's past! And only like one little scandal that's beneath even Ben Franklin's eagle eye! That's good enough for me to vote for her! Who cares about policies, she's clean, to within a certain approximation of clean!

Heck, it's good enough for everyone to vote for her, and if not everyone does, it's 'cause the media destroyed her!
9.18.2008 12:34pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Hey, if this idiot hacker actually called the daughter's cell phone, all the cops have to do is look at the caller logs, no?

Amateur.
9.18.2008 12:34pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The first time she is caught in a lie there will be headlines across the country


There are already headlines about her various lies. Although not too many (yet) about this one. Or these.
9.18.2008 12:39pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"Why do I keep reading from lefties that there were official state documents in Palin's Yahoo email account? I have seen no indication that this is the case. I guess when you have to defend the indefensible, you clutch at straws. "

Links please. As to the issue of whether there were documents or not, the only people who read the actual e-mails other than the handful that have been posted online were the hackers themselves. With that little information, I would say that you have no basis to make a claim either way.
9.18.2008 12:51pm
ejo:
jbg-what are you flogging now? citing to yourself as controlling authority? given up on pushing the Trig/Bristol stuff? any new obstetrical advances to enlighten us with on the woman's irresponsible decision not to abort? let me see-monitoring terror communications is a threat to the Republic but hacking emails for political gain (and getting controversial photos of her demon child) are perfectly normal, even necessary. of course, if you are on your mom's email account (after all, you still live in the basement, right?), you do have some plausible deniability for your foolish statements.
9.18.2008 12:53pm
ejo:
jbg-what are you flogging now? citing to yourself as controlling authority? given up on pushing the Trig/Bristol stuff? any new obstetrical advances to enlighten us with on the woman's irresponsible decision not to abort? let me see-monitoring terror communications is a threat to the Republic but hacking emails for political gain (and getting controversial photos of her demon child) are perfectly normal, even necessary. of course, if you are on your mom's email account (after all, you still live in the basement, right?), you do have some plausible deniability for your foolish statements.
9.18.2008 12:53pm
Christian K:
Ok as someone who actually does internal information security for a living I'd like to point out a couple things.

1) hackers bad. (Yeah that's a duh moment)
2) Employees who use their personal email for work related tasks or their work email for personal tasks are fired(executives are usually allowed to "retire", or "move on to better opportunities"). In the private sector that's a big "no no".
3) If the news media (bloggers included) receives juicy but illegally obtained information, they should publish it then contact the relevant authorities.
4) I actually find this whole thing quite funny and will be using it as education material at work. Don't use your personal email for work purposes! See what could happen! You don't want to be "that gal" or "that guy".
9.18.2008 12:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Apparently, everyone is in agreement that Andrew Sullivan is insane because he doens't believe anything she says is true. Actually, Sullivan has proven that almost everything she *has* said publicly since her announcement is either wrong, untrue, misleading or somehow not quite true. And so he is keeping a list of all the things that back up his contentions. When you eventually get to a point where almost everything she says is suspect (even with regards to reading a teleprompter), then you can assume that the person has a problem with the truth, and that everything should be suspect.

As for the 14th amendment, no, I'm sure the writers didn't anticipate that it would cover gay marriage. But then, I'm sure that most of the problems that we deal with today were not anticipated by the framers back in the 18th and 19th centuries. So either you restrict the language to your times, (which they did not) or you take the risk that evolving society may extend your ideas of fairness beyond owners of slaves, men, heterosexuals and so on.
9.18.2008 1:01pm
Sarcastro (www):
Why do I keep hearing from the left that John McCain eats babies? I have seen no indication that this is the case. I guess this desperation proves the right is correct about everything.
9.18.2008 1:05pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
what are you flogging now?


Same thing as Dan Fagan. I realize you probably don't know who he is.

citing to yourself as controlling authority?


When I point to my own posts, it's because they make reference to some other source. For various obvious reasons, this makes more sense than pasting in the source over and over again. I realize you're too simpleminded to grasp such a basic concept.
9.18.2008 1:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
you eventually get to a point where almost everything she says is suspect (even with regards to reading a teleprompter)


It seems that she also just lied to Sean Hannity about asking her kids to vote on her decision.

One strong indication of a pathological liar is when someone lies about things that don't matter much.
9.18.2008 1:09pm
abuse:
4) I actually find this whole thing quite funny...


I'm not sure whether I find it funny or not. From moment-to-moment I'm finding people's reactions either funny or tragic.

• Incidents like this happen all the time.

• More and more, over the past several years, email account breakins are committed with a financial motive.

• Email account breakins usually don't make the news, even when they're connected with substantial monetary losses.

• Email account breakins often don't get investigated by law enforcement. Local law enforcement frequently doesn't have the expertise to investigate these crimes—which may well have taken place out of their jurisdiction anyhow. State and federal law enforcement doesn't have the resources to investigate all the crimes that occur.

The only reason why Sarah Palin's email breakin is getting attention from the news and law enforcement is because she's a vice-presidential candidate.

This kinda makes me want to puke. I'm finding it harder and harder to see any reason to even attempt to cooperate with law enforcement ever. Their priorities are just too screwed up.

• The bulk of federal “cyber-crime” resources are devoted to child-porn investigations. Yet, even in their highest priority focus area, the typical evidence-gathering and preservation techniques leave me substantially certain that the federal authorites are convicting innocent people.

It's all political.
9.18.2008 1:18pm
Suzy (mail):
As much as I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin for VP, I think it's terrible that someone would do this and I hope they get what's coming to them. Disgusting!
9.18.2008 2:11pm
zippypinhead:
The third-rate cracker who accessed Palin's Yahoo account is doomed. Especially if one credits the post reprinted above that suggests he/she/it didn't bother to first hop through a bunch of anonymizing offshore proxies before hitting the Yahoo account. This kiddie left way too many cyber-crumbs behind on the trail. The Secret Service is quite good at following this sort of trail using the tools provided by SCA/ECPA.

I give it no more than 48 hours until there's a press release that somebody has been arrested on a criminal complaint for one or more counts of violating various parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Frankly, this third-rate cracker should just get himself a good lawyer and proactively go in today to fess up and cut the best deal he can, before a dozen or so Feds in raid jackets pay him an early-morning visit in the next day or two.

Professor Kerr mentioned some but not all of the many possible charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which could arguably include violations of 18 U.S.C. §§1030(a)(2)(C), (a)(4), (a)(5)(A)(iii), and/or (a)(6)(A). And that's without bothering to invoke such old favorites as 18 U.S.C. §1343 or 1349, which can also apply in some cases.

Even follow-on wannabe crackers who unsuccessfully tried to get into the account later with posted but blocked passwords may also be traceable and could find themselves in trouble under §1030(b). I hope somebody like our old friend jukeboxgrad didn't try to get in to see if he could find some good anti-Palin dirt to post on Daily Kos...
9.18.2008 2:18pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Thanks Professor Kerr. I didn't actually look into the statutes, I only generally asserted that a crime was committed, which it appears that you confimed, except that I pointed to a different law than you did.

I would look into this more, but I am stuck responding to some nonsensical pre-trial motions.

As a side note, in reality there was no crime committed against Palin. If this were done to Biden or Obama, of course it would all of a sudden violate 72 state, federal, and international laws. If it was done and something was found that would have killed Obama's campaign, the left would call for life imprisonment in Abu Gharib for the person responsible.

I just thank God that no al-Qaeda members e-mail accounts were hacked by Bush. The Dems would try to impeach Bush right up until noon on Janaury 20, 2009.
9.18.2008 2:24pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I blame the Washington Post for posting Gov. Palin's email address. There are plenty of nerds without lives whose curiosity would drive them to peek into her email, and who had sufficient free time to successfully guess her password.

Palin also routinely does government business from a Yahoo address, gov.sarah@yahoo.com, rather than her secure official state e-mail address, according to documents already made public.

Who benefits by posting Palin's emails on Gawker.com? Palin receives sympathy for having her personal life exposed, and the hacker refutes the WaPo's assertion that Palin used her account for state business. Isn't that conveeenient? as the Church Lady said on SNL.

this email hacking of Palin is seriously on the dangerous side, and I can't be faulted for thinking that if the left is this demented, it will do other things.

Sure, because guys who sit in front of a screen in their mom's basement all of the time, guessing passwords, are totally capable of pulling off a murderous plot. Maybe in Second Life (tm) they can, but I seriously doubt they have sufficient real world skills.
9.18.2008 2:44pm
Bruce:
Wow, there's an awful lot of whining going on here. To the extent that some people want to excuse this break-in, let's focus on why they're wrong and not generalize about all Democrats or all liberals or why hasn't Obama done this or that (reminiscent of the "Why hasn't the VC posted on this issue" threads).
9.18.2008 2:58pm
J Reece (www):
Lior: "...The incident makes it clear, for example, that Ms. Palin cannot be trusted with a security clearance..." Funny, I was thinking the same thing about Obama and his numerous political alliances with anti-American radical preachers, racist black Muslim leaders, and retired Weatherman terrorists.
9.18.2008 2:59pm
ejo:
remember John Hinckley, TT? he was just a lovetorn Jodie Foster admirer. frankly, though, I think he is more rational than Andrew Sullivan and jbg.
9.18.2008 3:14pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Why does Gawker need permission for the publication to be lawful? Many celebrity sex tapes have been published lawfully notwithstanding a celebrity's refusal to grant permission. How is this any different from a legal standpoint?
One reason that they would need permission is that absent that, they are infringing the copyrights on all the emails. Copyright is automatic when expression is fixed, at least since we joined Berne and most emails cross the threshold of sufficient original expression.

The problem is that this is civil, and not criminal, liability. The problem though is that the emails are almost assuredly not registered with the Copyright Office, and thus attorneys' fees and statutory damages would likely not be available. That leaves actual damages, lost profits, etc., which in this case would likely be speculative and de minimis. But on the positive side, despite no copyright markings, intentional infringement on the part of even Gawker would be reasonably easy to show.

There is criminal copyright infringement. The problem is that there are no real damages. Roughly speaking, a cumulative retail value of $1,000 is required for imprisonment of up to one year, and $2,500 for up to three years (18 USC § 2319. Criminal infringement of a copyright)

Finally, while criminal copyright infringement is listed under 18 USC Chapter 113 (stolen property), copyright infringement is not typically considered theft, but rather infringement. It is reproduction and public distribution here, and the former is effectively potentially infinite in our digital world, and that is why the normal stolen goods paradigm would probably not work.
9.18.2008 3:21pm
Nikolay (mail):

One should also check Illinois computer privacy statutes as the black bag operation appears to have transpired in Chicago, mirable dictu, the home of the Obamanation's political operation as well.

Guys, reading this one starts to wonder if you can manage to tie your shoes on your own. The proxy-server that was used by hacker is located in Chicago, this says exactly nothing about hacker's location.
9.18.2008 3:43pm
Z. S. Maldingro (mail):
Orin - Good info here on the tricks of the hack:
Ars technica.

Social engineering all the way.
9.18.2008 3:53pm
Cornellian (mail):
Orin - Good info here on the tricks of the hack:
Ars technica.


VC and AT, two of my favorite web sites, together at last.
9.18.2008 3:57pm
Random3 (mail):
There is nothing illegal about using a private e-mail account to conduct non-confidential government business. Nothing. So even if Palin had done such a thing, it would not be illegal. But there is no indication that she has conducted government business on her Yahoo account, so this line of argument is nothing more than a red herring.
9.18.2008 4:36pm
ejo:
I would also add that how many folks have used personal email to conduct business? if every person who ever did so were fired, I expect that the unemployment numbers would be slightly higher, like around 90%. given this, I find the security expert who said it would result in automatic firing to be a little suspect.
9.18.2008 4:44pm
CB55 (mail):
Does the FBI get involved with every Yahoo or like minded account that has been hacked and the contents circulated/posted?
9.18.2008 4:44pm
microgirl:
Why is anyone presuming the hacker is linked to the Obama campaign? Why can't the hacker just be a rogue d*uche?

Why is this even a left/right issue? What the hacker did was wrong. Very wrong.

Why he/she/they did it is something we don't yet know.
Did they do it because they could? Did they do it to see if there were State of Alaska governmental business conducted over Yahoo? Have they been trying other email accounts but were able to break in to hers because her passwords/security answers were lame and derivative?

All we know is 1) hacked; 2) disseminated; and 3) government business conduced through yahoo email account.
9.18.2008 4:54pm
ejo:
why not make such a presumption? the left had the talking points ready for why it was important to know the information contained in personal emails. you parrot them in your post. State of Alaska business conducted over email-ooo, scary stuff, is that one you picked up from Kos or the Obama Action Line?
9.18.2008 5:18pm
Nikolay (mail):

is that one you picked up from Kos

You mean like this Kos quote?

It's not cute, funny, righteous, or justifiable in any way. This is just as odious as the gross violations that spurred the FISA battle. I hope whoever hacked into her email gets caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
9.18.2008 5:29pm
Toby:
Some nuances for Mr Security (and yeah, I do IT security, too)

1) Executive firings for violating IP rules in email or for insider trading are special cases. You don't often see the firings otherwise.
2) Many states (don't know about Alaska) make it illegal to use government resources for political/party purposes. One probably want to separate this from the home email, as well. If she acting as Governor was indulging in pure partisan activities,that would be a greater scandal
3) Security guys who see only in black and white are often frequently fired themselves. See the Fun in San Francisco last fall.

None of which is meant, however to defend Yahoo...
9.18.2008 5:43pm
ejo:
take a gander at the comments that follow. then, switch over to Huffington for more "concern" of the left.
9.18.2008 5:44pm
LM (mail):
Where are all the lefties who are supposed to be approving of this? I just skimmed the thread, and unless I missed something (possible), I don't see them. What I see are right wing absolutists demonizing their opponents. There are some attempts by Palin's critics to change the subject, but that's not the same as approval. No matter. The counter-narrative rises above the absence of defenders, and rails against them as if they existed.

It's a popular axiom that if extremists didn't have opponents as foils for their outrage they'd have to invent them, and it looks like they're doing that here. As I said above, if you look for them you'll find people willing to defend the indefensible, but so what? What conclusion do you draw about half a population of 300 million from one or ten or even a thousand who take an indefensible position? Well, apparently if you're blinded by ideology, you may attribute the kind of heinous things to them you can only attribute to people you've thoroughly de-humanized.

So yes, Danger Mouse, I'm sure liberals are so hostile to everything decent that they're on the verge of shooting sprees, mowing down everyone who doesn't look like they hate America. In fact, didn't a liberal recently do just that? Didn't he burst into a conservative fundamentalist church, guns blazing, killing two parishioners and wounding six others, and all because he couldn't contain his hatred for conservatives and what they're doing to the country (which, by the way included cutting off his food stamps)?

Oh, sorry... my mistake. That was a conservative who went on that shooting spree. At a liberal Unitarian Church. To rid the world of gays and other America-hating liberals. And what conclusion do we draw about conservatives as a whole from that? If we're at all reasonable, none. Just like I draw no conclusion about most of the posters on these threads from a few Danger Mouses.

Of course it was wrong to break into Palin's e-mail account. But IMHO this ritual of blaming by association everyone we don't agree with for the anti-social behavior of the type of jerk no large constituency will ever be free of is more damaging than the jerky behavior that usually precipitates it.
9.18.2008 6:00pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Links please. As to the issue of whether there were documents or not, the only people who read the actual e-mails other than the handful that have been posted online were the hackers themselves. With that little information, I would say that you have no basis to make a claim either way.


Then, stupid, the burden of proof is on the accuser.

Since you haven't shown proof that you're a pedophile, I have to assume you are, right? And that gives me the right to have your home searched and computer seized?

Genius.
9.18.2008 6:03pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Since you haven't shown proof that you're a pedophile


That is to say 'that you're NOT a pedophile,' but then again, since you "would say that you have no basis to make a claim either way," then it doesn't make a difference.

Guilty until proven innocent. Isn't that from the Reign of Terror?
9.18.2008 6:41pm
PQuincy1:
I have to say that the quality of discourse on this site has declined greatly. I regret that.

I posted, early in the thread, because the hacking of Governor Palin's e-mail raised some issues that seemed complex and worth thinking about. My very first point, though -- quite intentionally -- was to note that this hacking was apparently a crime.

To some readers, it seems, my comment nevertheless constitutes "applauding" or "making excuses" for both the hacking, and demonstrates that I have a 'cultish' attachment to Senator Obama (whose name appeared neither in the the original Volokh article nor in my posting). Evidently I also approve of murdering babies (WTF?!) and want to surrender to 'terrorists'.

Talk about projection!

It's true that I mentioned -- as unconfirmed -- that there were allegations that Governor Palin used such an account to avoid Alaska law. (Not being an expert on Alaska law, or even a lawyer, I tried to state this as a hypothetical). A governor who intentionally circumvents the laws and policies of the state s/he serves is a problem, it seemed to me. This problem, in turn, could potentially justify making the otherwise legally protected contents of such an e-mail account public. However, such an argument, in turn, opens any public official to the accusation that their private email was being so used, and therefore would remove all privacy protection.

Again, the intemperate responders (notably DangerMouse and Dr. Guest) seem to read my statement as a wholesale endorsement of such action. They obviously weren't paying attention.

It's hardly an extremist or cultist position to note that the law and public morality are not always identical. There are clearly times when it is immoral to follow 'the law', and it is therefore worth discussing how we balance the diverse and sometimes conflicting obligations a properly upright and generally law-abiding actor might confront.

No doubt my final comment will draw down further invective, but I'm going to say it: there is a certain cultural-political perspective, well represented in this thread, that feels deeply threatened by the idea that we live in a complex world in which legal obligations are sometimes complex, and require judgment, and in which legal and moral commitments sometimes are in conflict. They respond to the discussion of such situations -- situations, we note, which are at the heart of the thoughtful discussions that used to take place at Volokh.com -- with anger, even rage.

Pity!
9.18.2008 6:49pm
ejo:
ah, the noble leftist addressing the complexities of the situation, more in sorrow than anger. much like Andrew Sullivan, who only discussed the parentage of Palin's youngest because of the complexities that surely existed. how intemperate to assert that the hacking was being excused when there were greater truths to be found..
9.18.2008 6:59pm
Daniel J. Wojcik (mail) (www):
Which would be easier for Alaskans to remember and use when trying to contact the Governor? sarah.palin@mail.state.ak.us* or gov.palin@yahoo.com?

Most folks would find the second a bit easier/more familiar, I'd think.

Maybe that's the reason she had that account? That, plusd Yahoo is a heckuva lot easier to get into from home than any locked-down government system. (I can get my work mail at home...if I don't mind added some extra hardware and certs to my system...never botherd and probably won't.)

*no idea if that's her login, but that's the mail server.
9.18.2008 7:40pm
A.W. (mail):
I have another potential criminal charge to bring. Fraud.

I admit i missed it, because i was avoiding reading too deeply about how it was done. it made me feel too dirty.

But this is how he did it (and all of you should pay attention). He went online and claimed he was sarah palin and had lost his password. He told the machine her birth year and that she met her husband in high school and a few other details that can be found online, and then tricked it into resetting the password and sending the new one to his own email addy.

That's how he got in. And that can be fraud.
9.18.2008 9:27pm
microgirl:
Daniel - if you are using email to contact her, then you can use teh internets or teh google to look up her email address (Governor) and send to the appropriate address.

Unless you are presuming Alaskans are not as capabale of using teh internets as the lower 48s are?

Kos, Greenwald, etc. on the left are not praising this by any means. I am not saying commenters on such sites are not expressing a different POV, but you are not seeing any praise for this to occur because it VIOLATED THE LAW.

ejo, free country, baby. presume all you want. doesn't make you correct.

Again, this is not a right/left issue. It happened to someone on the right and it can happen to someone on the left.

A.W. pointed out correctly, the hacker didn't use any sophistication to pull this off. What he did was absolutely illegal.

But apparently, anyone with half of a brain also could have done what this person did.
9.18.2008 10:31pm
LM (mail):
A.W.:

It's been way too long for me to remember whether and if so how this relates to criminal fraud, but the party de-frauded wasn't the one that was damaged.
9.18.2008 10:32pm
blah blah blah:
P.Quincy -- the problem with your initial post, which you did not repeat in your inaccurate recitation of the facts, was that you said the hacking might be justified politically and morally.

Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

Have a nice day.
9.18.2008 10:41pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
James Taranto asks if journalists care about your privacy if you're not a terrorist. Certainly, in this case, they're a lot more nuanced.
9.18.2008 10:46pm
rosignol (mail):
Interesting background at wired. The guy claiming responsibility says he was only going through one proxy, so it looks like the feds will be able to find him.

link
9.19.2008 10:16am
wfjag:

I think it's clear this "rubico" is Barak Obama himself, with help from Ayers and Rezco.
[and]
No terrorists OR evil CEO's in Sarah's past! And only like one little scandal that's beneath even Ben Franklin's eagle eye! That's good enough for me to vote for her! Who cares about policies, she's clean, to within a certain approximation of clean!

Heck, it's good enough for everyone to vote for her, and if not everyone does, it's 'cause the media destroyed her!


Sarcastro, you're falling behind on your talking points:

1. According to an article on Drudge, the hacker "appears" to be the son of a Democrat State Rep. from Memphis Tennessee;
2. This is obviously a trap set up by Karl Rove, since everyone knows that the children of Dem office holders could never do something like break a law;
3. McCain only faked his injuries as a POW so that he could claim he couldn't type (or send an e-mail). Obviously McCain hacked Palin's account, then deleted all the official business and proof of mis-deeds so that there is no evidence of such any more to be discovered to support previously printed stories; &,
4. In any event, you can't vote for Palin because she's "too cute."

Please do your best in the future to try to keep your talking points current.
9.19.2008 1:22pm
David Warner:
"Liberals human beings will say anything to justify their behavior, even if it contradicts a previously held political position."

There. Fixed. Liberals are the ones who try to catch ourselves before doing so, or, if unsuccessful, to catch it later and make the necessary corrections, to position, behavior, or worldview, as necessary, with truth as the criterion.

You'll find liberals in both parties (if we were all in the same party, we'd never survive losing an election), and therefore too the illiberal, who behave in the noted mercenary manner. Observing the actions (moreso than the words) of the candidates will reveal how liberal they are as well.
9.19.2008 2:18pm
Gerard Kinnisson:
Does the FBI get involved with every Yahoo or like minded account that has been hacked and the contents circulated/posted?

No.

When Joe Schmuck has his email compromised and it leads directly to the exposure of his debit card number and the loss of a $1,639.56 grand total (measly) from his checking account, then —if Mr Schmuck is very persistent and slightly lucky— he can file a report.

Please understand, I'm not at all opposed to diverting federal resources from intensely critical child pornography investigations towards helping out with email breakin cases, like the case of Mr Schuck, where there is real hardship and loss for the victim. Especially when it rather strongly appears that the theft of money from Mr Schmuck's checking account was part of a pattern of organized and repeated crimes.

Although, that diversion of federal resources from their current tasking would place Mr Schmuck's case at a higher priority than Ms Palin's case.
9.19.2008 3:14pm
KWC (mail):
UPDATE:

I think that the hacker was a Palin insider. He or she is fooling us. Hacked into the account, found "nothing," and gave Palin the perfect opportunity to purge evidence for Troopergate. It's brilliant. If only the Democratic Party were willing to have such low moral standards, they might win more often.

(I'm an Independent mind you)
9.19.2008 8:40pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
The AP reports that

WASHINGTON - The FBI searched the residence of the son of a Democratic state lawmaker in Tennessee over the weekend looking for evidence linking the young man to the hacking of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Monday.

David Kernell, 20, has not returned repeated phone calls or e-mails from the AP since last week. His lawyer said Monday the family is going through a difficult period.
[snip]
Kernell is the son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat and chairman of Tennessee's House Government Operations Committee. The father declined last week to discuss the possibility his son might be involved in the case.

"I had nothing to do with it, I had no knowledge or anything," Mike Kernell told the AP last week.

"I was not a party to anything of this nature at all," he added. "I wasn't in on this — and I wouldn't know how to do anything like that."

No one answered the door at Mike Kernell's home in Memphis on Monday, and he did not return repeated phone calls Monday from the AP.

The apartment the FBI searched is in a complex about five blocks from the University of Tennessee campus in a neighborhood popular with students. No one around
[snip]
The law enforcement officials confirming the search spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

In Washington, Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney confirmed Monday only that the FBI conducted "investigative activity" late Saturday and early Sunday in Knoxville related to the case.

David Kernell is an economics major at the University of Tennessee there.
9.22.2008 7:06pm