It is incredible, but the DOJ has tied itself in a hundred knots

A swarm of partisan busybodies has roiled over the Palin email hacking incident. A student, scion of a local democrat politico from Tennessee, broke into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account hoping to rake the muck and to hang for all to see the Alaskan governor’s dirty laundry.  The commentators, mostly of the left-libertarian ilk, conclude: boys will be boys, leave the kid alone. It is unconscionable that an event of such magnitude and such significance, which has the capacity to undermine the roots of democracy in America, is still treated the way we treat Jimmy’s breaking into Pamela’s email account. It is a major breach of security and a scary infringement of Sarah Palin’s right to privacy. It is also a low and dirty attempt to “get” a political candidate, one that has no place in the American political life.

The true irony of the whole situation is revealed by Wired, which points to the fact that the current legislation is so lax and so misinterpreted by the Department of Justice that there might not be any laws with real teeth on the books to put the culprit where he belongs. Behind bars…

Little or No Jail Time Likely for Palin Hacker | Threat Level from Wired.com

It might seem obvious to most people that the hacker who gained unauthorized access to the private e-mail account of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin violated the Stored Communications Act.

Under that law, a violation 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.”

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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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