Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sarah Palin: nothing wrong about a Yahoo address

A hacker - namely a student nicknamed Rubico who is the son of Mike Kernell, a Tennessee state legislator (DEM) - has hacked into Sarah Palin's e-mail account, gov.palin@yahoo.com, and published some content on the web. It was easy: he or she has only reset the password by answering a few trivial questions such as the ZIP code and the place where she met her husband (Wasilla High). What he or she or it or they have found seems innocent so I can show you:
Gawker.com
You will find some ordinary family-related photos, friendly messages from her friends-believers that she shouldn't care about the negative press. Of course, she shouldn't. And there are some complaints from her collaborators about obnoxious Alaskan (right-wing) radio hosts, too. ;-)

I happen to think that the people who violated her privacy in this blatant way are criminals and they should be found and put in jail for a little while if it is possible. Whoever helps to legitimize these crimes is helping a crime and is a mean person, too. Needless to say, a significant portion of the media, e.g. ABC and ZDNet, care about something completely different than human rights, law, and privacy. They ask how could she dare to use a Yahoo account.

What is wrong about using a Yahoo account for e-mails? Millions of other people are doing the same thing. Are they criminals? Or are mayors and governors stripped of these basic rights? Really? At Harvard, we would have permanent problems with the network: for bizarre historical reasons, the group had a separate cluster that had no permanent administrator. It was often causing a lot of problems and one was always hoping that the problems wouldn't be repeated - which is why he never switched - but they were repeated all the time.

Some people prefer to use e-mail services such as Yahoo and Gmail while others favor their organization's domains (for example because they feel more respectable with the "official" domain in their "From" line: how stupid). But what's the physical or legal difference? None of the e-mails should be read by other people - whether the messages are about family or about political issues - and both of them can be looked at (or erased) in special situations: so there is no difference from a political perspective. Yahoo may be more reliable (and safer) than a computer account managed by an Eskimo computer administrator in the crystal meth capital of Alaska.

I am simply scared and outraged by the loud folks who try to pretend that it is effectively a crime e.g. to use Yahoo as an e-mail account. Every sane person must know that there's absolutely nothing wrong about it and whoever claims that it's wrong is simply a morally questionable person who loves to attack other people and cripple their freedom without having a glimpse of a rational reason. In some sense, such people try to destroy the privacy of other people to the very same degree as the hackers themselves. The people who try to "enrich" the political correctness by similar unjustifiable limitations should be kicked into their buttocks for hours every day. They're at the bottom of the society.

Some of the very same people - like Glenn Greenwald - who would protest if the telephone calls of dangerous terrorists' contacts were monitored are suddenly on the same ship with the hackers because an innocent mother of five should surely have "nothing to hide". Surely that people in civilized societies that respect human rights always have something to hide: it's called their privacy.

These Greenwalds are foes of the modern democratic civilization. They're squarely on Al-Qaeda's side, against the human freedom. It is very clear whose interests they protect and whose interest they want to harm and if I were the U.S. president, I might treat them in a remotely analogous way to the terrorist networks.

Most of the fast comments are dedicated to passionate debates about how the public and professional mailboxes of elected officials should be separated.

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