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

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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.


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