David Kernell was convicted by a federal jury in Knoxville, TN in connection with accessing the Yahoo! e-mail account of former U.S. vice president candidate Sarah Palin. He penetrated the e-mail account by selecting the forgot password feature and answering the security questions that Palin selected. He was able to answer the security questions by finding general information about Palin across the Internet.
Kernell was charged with computer fraud and obstruction of justice. Not only did Kernell hack into Palin’s e-mail account, he posted personal photos and e-mails of hers on the Internet. Kernell was not charged with wire fraud or identity theft. Kernell’s father is Michael Kernell, a state legislator in Tennessee. Palin wrote about the incident on Facebook by comparing it to Watergate:
“Violating the law, or simply invading someone’s privacy for political gain, has long been repugnant to Americans’ sense of fair play. As Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into candidates’ private communications for political intrigue in an attempt to derail an election.” [NetworkWorld]