[ISN] Email threats earn conviction

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Apr 28 1999 - 21:53:42 PDT

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    Email threats earn conviction
    By Dan Goodin
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    April 22, 1999, 6:45 p.m. PT
         A Canadian man is facing up to 10 years in federal prison after being
    found guilty of sending threatening emails to Microsoft chief executive
    Bill Gates and a number of government officials, the U.S.  attorney in
    Seattle said. 
         Carl Edward Johnson, 49, of Bienfait, Saskatchewan, was convicted on
    four felony counts in connection with the threats, some of which were
    posted to a popular encryption mailing list using software that hides the
    identity of the sender. His conviction wraps up a two-year investigation
    by officials from the Treasury Department. 
         Johnson, who is scheduled for sentencing on June 11, is being held in
    a federal detention center near Seattle. His attorney was not immediately
    available for comment. 
         U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan found Johnson guilty of using the
    Cypherpunks mailing list to threaten government officials, said assistant
    U.S. attorney Floyd Short. The court found that Johnson in June of 1997
    used an anonymous remailer to post a message offering a reward if someone
    would kill a magistrate judge and several Treasury Department
    investigators. The officials were involved in the criminal prosecution of
    a man accused of illegally compiling names and addresses of employees at
    the Internal Revenue Service and trying them in so-called common law
         The court also found that Johnson posted messages threatening the
    lives of three federal appeals court judges who are hearing a case
    challenging government restrictions of the export of encryption software. 
    Johnson said the judges would end up in "a pine box or a body bag" if they
    ruled against Chicago professor Daniel Bernstein, a plaintiff in the civil
    case against the regulations, Short said. 
         Johnson also was convicted of sending email to Gates claiming the top
    Microsoft executive's assassination was being planned. 
         Floyd said that investigators were able to learn Johnson's identity
    by piecing together information he left on Web sites, in email messages,
    and in his home. Interestingly, a key piece of evidence included what is
    known as the public key in a program called Pretty Good Privacy, which is
    designed to conceal a computer user's identity. 
         Johnson's conviction comes a week after federal investigators were
    able to track down the man they allege anonymously posted a hoax news
    story that caused the stock of a California company to rise more than 30
         "People may feel they are anonymous on the Internet, and that's not
    the case," Short said. "The level of understanding of the Internet is
    rising quite a bit within law enforcement." 
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