Justice by Embarassment

If only that Tennessee undergrad, David Kernell, had actually discovered something interesting in Governor Palin’s inbox, he wouldn’t look like as much of a loser right now. Governor Palin and her backwards ways could use a good shaming, but not by someone trying to be 1337 and accessing her inbox. A sort of pathetic, electronic Hail Mary, Kernell’s attempt enjoyed no more than a moose’s chance in Palin’s back yard. I don’t know how his efforts, or lack thereof, make him a hacker, but if he ever wanted the title he now has the mainsteam media to thank.

For the most part, I’ve heard two stories regarding what happened: one, that some hacker hacked poor Governor Palin, and two, that Yahoo!’s web-mail security sucks. Both lack the proper relevance. The first story screams hyperbole and the second, in addition to inadequately assessing free web-mail security, simply isn’t news. I want to hear the story about state officials conducting state business over an insecure medium, why they do it, and how are they allowed to do it.

Some folks, who I assume to agree with me, at least in part, decided to drive the point home to Bill O’Reilly. As I understand it, his website has some features and content only available to paying subscribers. As such, the site keeps information on the subscribers, but not securely. Now the subscriber information resides, in part, on Wikileaks.

I’m sure the prank will compel O’Reilly to find a secure web host, but I doubt that he’ll put his foot in his mouth out of embarrassment. For that, or any other sufficiently big target, only a big enough prank will do.

So now I’ll just come right out and say it: I want to see more of what happened in The Usual Suspects where the police escort service gets exposed. For the uninitiated, here’s a little synopsis of the scene at hand. In it, the New York City police arrest and generally harass some gangsters for apparently no reason. Afterwards, the gangsters get their revenge by spectacularly exposing the corruption within the department. And it’s awesome.

As a matter of definition, the gangsters carry out their revenge vindictively, but they do so in a big way that really messes things up for the corrupt police department. Also, no one really gets hurt. I’d love to see more pranks of this caliber as a matter of avenging the public and generally embarrassing people who deserve it. I think the folks responsible for going after O’Reilly had the right idea, but I hope that they and anyone else so inclined step it up next time.

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