Skip to main content

Sarah Palin Email Hacker Gets Jail Time

Back in 2008, David Kernell "hacked" into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! email account by using information he found online to exploit the forgotten password feature employed by Yahoo!. Kernell, the son of Democratic state representative Mike Kernell, hit 'forgot password' and then answered questions about Palin (such as where she met her husband) using information obtained via Google. This allowed him access to her inbox, the contents of which was then posted to Wikileaks. Palin had been using the email address, sarah.gov@yahoo.com, to conduct some government business.

A year later, in 2009, Kernell was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison. However, the judge presiding over the case recommended that the then 22-year-old serve his sentence at a halfway house. Unfortunately for Kernell, a judge’s recommendations in situations like these are not final.

Though Judge Thomas Phillips suggested carrying out his sentence at a halfway house would be punishment enough, the actual decision of where he would be held is something that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons dictates. The BBC cites confirmation from officials in reporting that the USBOP has instead decided to make Mr. Kernell serve out his term in a low-security prison camp 300 miles from his home in Knoxville.

Kernell began serving his sentence at a federal corrections institute in Ashland, Kentucky on January 10. No specific reason for not following Judge Phillips’ recommendations were given.

Read the full story on the BBC (via PC World).

  • Why,she should go jail also
    Reply
  • Gigahertz20
    Hardly "hacking", anybody could have exploited the forgotten password feature with the use of Google and some background knowledge of Palin. The punishment is way to strict in my opinion, he should have just received some community service or something.
    Reply
  • This is nothing more than another case of the government telling the world that they can stomp all over the little guy and get away with it.
    Reply
  • machvelocy
    lets wait for the anon responses :D
    Reply
  • chickenhoagie
    this is stupid. as the guy above said, anyone can exploit the system to find out a person's password like that. this is haaaardly "hacking" at all. As I always say, the term hacking is tossed around way too easily these days and constitutes as the stupidest things. This was not hacking. case closed. maybe she should have set better recovery questions. her fault.
    Reply
  • zoridon
    Do you realize opening up someone elses mail is a felony? He got exactly what he deserved. Just because its digital and not paper does not make it any less a crime. He should get beat as well for being such an punk. Anyone can walk up to anyone elses physical mailbox and take the mail as well, so chickenhaogie get some perspective. Open up my mailbox and take what is mine or read it and I wont be to blame when your found in the hudson river.
    Reply
  • doron
    Yet another perfect example of people who haven't the slightest clue about technology yet use them to work on very sensitive data, and of course are afraid of "hackers" because they think hacking is magical (like the ipad) and people who use magic should be burned on a stick.

    I say sue palin for being such a dumbass with these security questions. Dumbass.
    Reply
  • alidan
    zoridonDo you realize opening up someone elses mail is a felony? He got exactly what he deserved. Just because its digital and not paper does not make it any less a crime. He should get beat as well for being such an punk. Anyone can walk up to anyone elses physical mailbox and take the mail as well, so chickenhaogie get some perspective. Open up my mailbox and take what is mine or read it and I wont be to blame when your found in the hudson river.
    while I believe you are correct I also believe you're wrong. Most free e-mail clients like Hotmail Gmail Yahoo all have in common is that they're free for everyone to use, easily "hacked" into, and in no way secure enough that it should ever be used for any type of official business. While I do believe he should be punished for what he did, I think community service would've been more than enough. If this was anyone else but her e-mail at any other time before she was nominated for vice president, this would have been just community service.

    I honestly believe he got way too much of a punishment I also believe that anyone in politics should have a crash course in what the fuck technology is and what you should and shouldn't do with it, such as have any official business go through an official e-mail address not some Yahoo shit. If anything this is the wake-up call to politicians, that unofficial e-mail addresses are easily compromised regardless of how secure you believe they may be.
    Reply
  • man that is rough. i have visited that prison and they made my grandma take off her bra because it had metal in it.
    Reply
  • Silmarunya
    Rather unfair I'd say. No personal data was lost, only official political communication - something that should be free in a democracy anyway.

    While the hacker committed a crime, the punishment is way out of line. Why do so many judges think pretty much every minor offence warrants jail time? A person wastes years of his life, all at the expense of public money. Just let him do something actually useful, like community service.
    Reply