Student goes to federal prison for hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail

By on January 13, 2011, 4:03 PM
David Kernell, the former University of Tennessee student convicted of hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail account, has entered federal prison. His term in the minimum security facility in Ashland, Kentucky will last a year and a day, according to the BBC.

There are no fences, but inmates are supervised at all times and have to work, as long as they are medically cleared for manual labor. Kernell will be expected to work in food service, landscaping, or perform whatever jobs the staff assign him. He is living in an open dormitory where inmates have access to educational, religious, and other types of programming. There are also recreational opportunities and social visits where cleared individuals are allowed.

The 23-year-old gained access to Palin's account under the online pseudonym "rubico" in September 2008, when the former Alaska governor was running as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. He did so by answering a series of security questions that gave him access to her private inbox. After sharing the details online, a copy was sent to Wikileaks, and details of her messages were published in several media outlets.

As a result, Palin's family received abusive e-mails and phone calls, and a subsequent FBI investigation led to Kernell's arrest five days later. A Knoxville jury convicted Kernell, the son of a Democratic Tennessee state legislator, of unauthorized access of a computer and obstruction of justice last year. Palin and her daughter testified at the trial to the hardships and stress caused by the hacking.





User Comments: 24

Got something to say? Post a comment
nik11105 said:

Haaaaa Haaaaa Stupid hill billeys

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sucks to be him.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Damn fool...

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"You know, minimum-security prison is no picnic. I have a client in there right now. He says the trick is: kick someone's ass the first day, or become someone's *****. Then everything will be all right."

NickV said:

hahaha so funny

Prosercunus said:

Gotta love punk kids getting a huge kick in the ass/reality check. Maybe he will sell his Che Guevara shirts after he gets out of prison.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"Palin and her daughter testified at the trial to the hardships and stress caused by the hacking. " If only it could have resulted in pain and suffering, does any one really care about Sarah Palin anyways?

Lurker101 said:

Adhmuz said:

does any one really care about Sarah Palin anyways?

Not really. Go over to the BBC link and you'll find just how much of a joke this case really is. If it were anyone else the kid had hacked, he would've just been sent to a halfway house. To make it even more ridiculous Sarah Palin had suggested the incident was the reason she failed to reach the White House.

princeton princeton said:

Lurker101 said:

Adhmuz said:

does any one really care about Sarah Palin anyways?

Not really. Go over to the BBC link and you'll find just how much of a joke this case really is. If it were anyone else the kid had hacked, he would've just been sent to a halfway house. To make it even more ridiculous Sarah Palin had suggested the incident was the reason she failed to reach the White House.

She might have made it. The US is notorious for putting the dumbest candidates in charge :P. Also the kid did show she was violating transparency laws.

Guest said:

kids has balls for doing it.

Why do people think they can sit on a computer and do **** like this and no one will find you?

Next time go to a foreign country and do the hack lol.

EDO219 said:

... and yet Palin conveniently ignores warrantless wiretapping by the U.S. government on its citizens. When a government employee monitors her email account it is seen not as Orwellian, but as a patriotic effort to prevent terrorism. When a citizen performs the same task to check the honesty of the potential future V.P. of the most powerful nation in the world, then it is seen as an emotionally devastating invasion of privacy worthy of a year in prison.

Please, diva, spare us your crocodile tears and hypocrisy.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't feel bad for the kid nor for Palin.

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

But... it was for a school project...

vangrat said:

gwailo247 said:

"You know, minimum-security prison is no picnic. I have a client in there right now. He says the trick is: kick someone's ass the first day, or become someone's *****. Then everything will be all right."

Gotta love office space.

ramonsterns said:

PYGMUS said:

... and yet Palin conveniently ignores warrantless wiretapping by the U.S. government on its citizens. When a government employee monitors her email account it is seen not as Orwellian, but as a patriotic effort to prevent terrorism. When a citizen performs the same task to check the honesty of the potential future V.P. of the most powerful nation in the world, then it is seen as an emotionally devastating invasion of privacy worthy of a year in prison.

Please, diva, spare us your crocodile tears and hypocrisy.

You didn't know Sarah Palin was a hypocrite the second you saw her mug? I could tell she was a stupid soccer mom BEFORE I found out she was a stupid soccer mom.

yRaz yRaz said:

ramonsterns said:

PYGMUS said:

... and yet Palin conveniently ignores warrantless wiretapping by the U.S. government on its citizens. When a government employee monitors her email account it is seen not as Orwellian, but as a patriotic effort to prevent terrorism. When a citizen performs the same task to check the honesty of the potential future V.P. of the most powerful nation in the world, then it is seen as an emotionally devastating invasion of privacy worthy of a year in prison.

Please, diva, spare us your crocodile tears and hypocrisy.

You didn't know Sarah Palin was a hypocrite the second you saw her mug? I could tell she was a stupid soccer mom BEFORE I found out she was a stupid soccer mom.

I wish this was facebook so i could like that comment...

Guest said:

so it even says "He did so by answering a series of security questions that gave him access to her private inbox" and tbh answering security questions isn't hacking no matter what lol ****ing retards dont even know what hacking means!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

so it even says "He did so by answering a series of security questions that gave him access to her private inbox" and tbh answering security questions isn't hacking no matter what lol ****ing retards dont even know what hacking means!

I was thinking that, its not technically hacking by any stretch of the imagination, its just simple guess work which if, she was stupid enought to use publicly known answers (by the comments above I assume she is that stupid) then it would be as simple as a few google searches for such things as "mother's maiden name" or "date of birth". Its not hacking. Just easy guess work by the sounds of things.

Although I feel sorry for the kid I guess he shouldn't have really done this, but an entire year is a bit extreme for her stupidity? That and he uncovered the fact she was breaking laws herself...

OUTLAWXXX said:

jUSTICE SYSTEM working for big money interest and religious/republican people AGAIN!

This was a noob hack although he is an ***** for trying to claim fame for it...

Guest said:

Why is it that Sarah Palin turns so many into Girlie boys at the mere mention of her name?

What does Saray Palin have to do with wiretapping?

Glad to see this dude get some time for violating someone's privacy...or is that only a bad thing

to you girlie boys on this board if your privacy is violated?

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

Why is it that Sarah Palin turns so many into Girlie boys at the mere mention of her name?

What does Saray Palin have to do with wiretapping?

Glad to see this dude get some time for violating someone's privacy...or is that only a bad thing

to you girlie boys on this board if your privacy is violated?

Uh oh, offended soccer mom. Duck for cover!

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

Chuck Norris eats Sarah Palin for breakfast.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

yRaz said:

I wish this was facebook so i could like that comment...

Wooow steady on there bud, some people might chase you down for comments like that

ramonsterns said:

Benny26 said:

yRaz said:

I wish this was facebook so i could like that comment...

Wooow steady on there bud, some people might chase you down for comments like that

I hear Sarah Palin "fans" are as bad as Twilight fans. I should make sure there are no flasks of acid nearby in case an offended high school girl decides to pour it on my face.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.