Just when you thought the presidential race couldn’t possibly get any nastier, a lone hacker has shown that underestimating the capacity of the human animal to inflict pain and anguish on another is a sucker’s bet.
In the hacker community, the feat of breaking into Governor Sarah Palin’s private email account with Yahoo will become legend, and then myth — told and retold in online forums and message board postings for years. The swashbuckling derring-do of the hackers has been confirmed and their self-image as postmodern anti-heroes, raging against the system, has been given a large and unhealthy boost. Or so they believe.
But what it really shows is that there are plenty of emotionally disturbed, psychologically stunted creeps out there with the conscience of an alley cat and the morals of a marmoset. There is a dead spot in the heart of these tech-savvy pirates where the ability to feel compassion resides in the rest of us. Many of them apparently have no clue that the monstrous invasion of privacy perpetrated by this digital thug has caused the Palin family the exact same kind of feelings of being violated that a home invasion would elicit.
While it is true that the Palin email hacking was apparently performed by a single individual — one with no ties to the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party that we know of at this point — there is no doubt that there is a sizable segment of this strange brotherhood that cheers this kind of activity on and revels in their reputation as rebels. They justify their criminal actions by blaming the victim, taunting them by claiming their targets should have had better computer security.
Perhaps if they are sent to jail, we could tell them that they should have gotten a better lawyer.
The story of how this dirty-necked galoot managed to break into Governor Palin’s family email account on Yahoo is told by the perp himself here. The loose-knit hacker community he belongs to — “Anonymous” — participated in the crime (one member of the group with a conscience emailed a friend of the governor and gave a warning about the crime) by sending the illegally obtained emails to the press, including the Mother of all internet gossip sites Gawker.
This kind of sleaze was right up Gawker’s alley and they ran with it. They called Bristol Palin’s illegally obtained cell number, recorded her voicemail response, and put it on the website. They reprinted her husband’s and son’s email addresses along with many others. And they posted private family pictures of the Palins. Every screenshot taken by the hacker and gleefully passed around by his friends in Anonymous was published by Gawker.
On the right, as one would expect, there is universal outrage at the crime, and some liberal blogs are equally upset at the violation of Mrs. Palin’s privacy.
But the real shocker in this entire affair has been the reaction of some left wing blogs who have republished the illegally obtained information.