[ISN] Attorneys for Palin email hacker: 'Don't call him hacker'

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 05:50:43 -0600 (CST)

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
13th November 2008

Attorneys for the University of Tennessee student accused of breaking 
into Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's email account have filed a small 
forest's worth of court documents in defense of the high-profile 
suspect. Among them is a motion to prohibit prosecutors from referring 
to their client as a hacker.

The terms "hacker" and "hacking" have no basis under the statute Kernell 
is accused of violating, a motion filed in US District Court in 
Knoxville argues. It goes on to seek an order forbidding prosecutors and 
their witnesses from using those words when referring to the case.

"Because of the negative connotations evoked by these terms, there is a 
significant danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and 
misleading the jury," the motion states. "Hackers are commonly portrayed 
as dangerous criminals who are involved in malicious conduct such as 
credit card fraud, stealing, intentional disruption of legitimate 
activities and causing economic damages."

According to accounts provided in court documents and a narrative taken 
from the 4chan website, Kernell accessed Palin's Yahoo email account by 
correctly guessing three password-reset questions using information that 
was readily available online.

"'Hacking,' which implies the use of sophisticated means or specialized 
computer skills, is not applicable to the alleged conduct," attorneys 
for Kernell wrote.


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Received on Fri Nov 14 2008 - 03:50:43 PST

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