By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
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.
Visit the InfoSec News Security Bookstore
Best Selling Security Books and More!