Student faces jail after Palin email hack conviction

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Student faces jail after Palin email hack conviction

Faces 20 year sentence for guessing password.

A college student is facing over twenty years in jail and massive fines after he guessed the password to the Yahoo email account of then vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

David Kernell was convicted of unauthorised access to obtain information from a computer and obstruction of justice, which comes with a maximum term of 20 years in jail.

He was found innocent of wire fraud and a charge of identity theft was dismissed after a retrial.

Kernell used publicly available information to guess the password to Palin's Yahoo account, namely where she met her husband.

At the time Palin was reportedly under fire for using a private email account for government business and Kernell uploaded certain emails to Wikileaks showing this to be the case.

The defence argued that the incident was little more than a student prank, but the prosecutors said it was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the presidential campaign.

Palin and her daughter Bristol testified about the disruption the incident caused to their lives.

“My family and I are thankful that the jury thoroughly and carefully weighed the evidence and issued a just verdict,” said Palin in a Facebook posting.

“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.”

Kernell now faces 21 years in prison and fines of US$100,000 for computer fraud verdict, and US$250,000 for obstruction of justice.

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