Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Hand On The Switch

We're informed by a gentleman in the country of impeccable reputation that the Governor of Alaska, Mrs. Palin, was in the habit of using a yahoo email account to communicate all sorts of information, some sensitive, some not, some personal, and some job related. 
We're also informed that some young fellow hacked her yahoo account, which as it turns out was painfully easy to do and took him only a few minutes of astute guesswork. It may be a record, although hacking my supervisor's password at a former job was also painfully easy. 

The haul of Mrs. Palin's dirty laundry was thereupon posted on the web for all the world to see and marvel at. Or, scratch their heads, whichever you prefer.

All of which raises two points of information that may be instructive.

The expectation of privacy in such matters is pretty near nil, at least with those things that are related to her job at the time. 
And you could, if you were interested, file a FOIA request or whatever Alaska has that's equivalent  and get that information.

Although I think that what this hacker did was distasteful and perhaps punishable in the courts, that's ancient history at this point. I've no interest at all in reading Mrs. Palin's pillow talk or recipes for mooseburgers.

What the whole silly episode points out loud and clear is this. I really wouldn't want anyone with that tenuous a grasp on the notion of information security or the willingness to commit important business to a public information channel to occupy high office. 

Of course, people who are elected officials are not expected to know everything, but they are expected to surround themselves with the best and most well informed subject matter experts available. 

Was anyone in her retinue smart enough to say "Hey Gov,  Yahoo email is not secure and you have an official state email account anyway."? 

If they did, did she listen?


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