Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin e-mail hack

ArsTechnica has another good bit of information on the Palin e-mail hacking case. If you are not aware of the newest updates, it is a quick read to catch you up.

Which brings me to my thought of the hour/day. Why is this such a big deal? If this were any other person, the FBI would surely not be 'raiding' an apartment already. Sure she is a governor mired in controversy and a vice-presidential candidate, but why all the hub bub, bub?

Now I can understand that this case might be of concern because she is a governor and there could be some very sensitive information in her e-mail account. However, no one is questioning why she was using an e-mail account other than her state e-mail account. The old cliche of you get what you pay for probably applies in this instance. What if, instead of Yahoo, Palin had been using GMail. Since GMail scans e-mails for advertising purposes (not a jibe at Google) conceivably Google would be going to the fighting ring. *side note: Which would be interesting since Google still has not been charged with copyright violations stemming from digital scanning operations*

This is case is incredibly whimsical in my mind. If this had happened to anyone else there would not be such an urgency to prosecute or rectify the situation. If, instead of Palin, a CEO or other higher up in an organization had use Yahoo for official organizational business they would have been fired by now. Maybe this is another way of showing there are two sets of laws in the US, one for the elite and another set for the rest of us which go unenforced. Most importantly this entire escape shows two things.

First, the US needs to implement better privacy standards for Internet users. When insurance companies are selling anti-identity theft insurance, you know the government has failed to protect 'our' personal information by lack of legislation.

Second, it shows that if you are important enough in some one's eye, the entire resources of the federal government will come to your aid. On a less satirical note, this shows that the tools are present for catching such privacy violations. It remains unclear how willing the government is to prosecute, but my guess is that since this is such a famous case, the defendant will be made very unhappy.

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