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Posted by on Oct 14, 2008 in Politics | 2 comments

Palin Email Hacker Update

You’ll remember that David Kernell, a University of Tennessee student and the son of a Democratic state legislator, pleaded innocent this month to charges that he had hacked into Sarah Palin’s email.

The Chronicle’s Eric Kelderman:

Now some legal scholars are wondering how the charges against Mr. Kernell were raised to a felony — from a misdemeanor — which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“In order to charge the case as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, the government needed to claim that the intrusion was committed to further criminal or tortious activity,” writes Orin S. Kerr, a professor at George Washington University’s law school who specializes in computer crime. […]

Paul Ohm, an associate professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder who also specializes in computer crime and information privacy, wrote in a blog posting that the indictment was “strange, strange, strange.”

The indictment is here (pdf). Meanwhile, a judge ordered Palin to preserve her Yahoo email.  Computerworld:

Palin’s office must preserve all e-mails to or from personal accounts belonging to her and her staff, starting from Dec. 4, 2006, “whose content relates in any way to the conduct of official business of the state of Alaska,” reported the Anchorage Daily News last Friday. [link]

The problem of mixing personal accounts with those sanctioned at the workplace is widespread, said Adam O’Donnell, director of emerging technologies at message security vendor Cloudmark Inc. “I think that this is extremely common, and also not something that chief information officers want to think about,” said O’Donnell in an interview conducted via instant messaging. “Most will scold their employees to not send corporate e-mail from personal accounts, but there isn’t much they can do about it.”

According to the Anchorage Daily News, pertinent messages from Palin’s personal accounts, as well as those from others in her administration who were using private e-mail accounts, will be moved into the state system.

“That will probably take a bit of work for an administrator on both ends,” said O’Donnell. “It isn’t impossible, but it will take anywhere between a few hours to a few days.”

McLeod has asked Palin to release more than 1,100 messages that the governor has withheld from a public records request. [link]

RELATED: A Super duper troopergate timeline.