David Kernell, the former University of Tennessee student who hacked into Sarah Palin’s e-mail account during the 2008 presidential campaign has been sentenced to one year in custody.
The 22-year-old was convicted of unauthorized access to a protected computer and destroying records to impede a federal investigation, while he was found not guilty of a separate wire-fraud charge. (A jury deadlocked over an identity theft charge.) Instead of prison time as was recommended by prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips sentenced Kernell to one year and one day inside a halfway house, with a specific facility to be named later, as well as three years of probation.
(More on Techland: Is 30 Months In Prison Too Harsh For Hacking A Website?)
An economics student who guessed his way passed Palin’s Yahoo security questions to access her personal e-mail account, posted online that he was searching for information that would derail Palin’s campaign for the vice-presidency. Kernell posted personal family photographs, screenshots of Palin’s e-mails, family phone numbers and the account’s password online. Palin, along with daughter Bristol, both testified against Kernell, claiming the incident caused their family emotional hardship. “As Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into candidates’ private communications for political intrigue in an attempt to derail an election,” a post on Palin’s Facebook page said.
(More on Techland: Moot Gives Internet Vocab Lesson In Court)
Though Kernell has since apologized to Palin and her family, he should begin serving his term inside the halfway house, as well as recommended treatment for depression in about 45 days. (via AP)