Get a clue, e-mail is not private!

Leaked family photo
Not only do politicians not understand geography, they once again don’t have a clue about the internet, either.

Or maybe, it’s the press that doesn’t understand it. Or both.

The news is full of stories today about someone breaking into Sarah Palin’s Private Email Account. They’re all in a huff about how could someone “hack” into a “private” email account on Yahoo.

First of all, if you want things private, don’t say them in an email. Anyone who thinks email is private deserves whatever happens to it. Email is not private, it is sent from you to the mail server and sits there waiting for the other person to get it in plain text. Unless you encrypt the content of the email, it is not private. Anyone with access to the servers anywhere along the circuitous path it might take to get to it’s destination can look at it.

And let’s face it, most people, especially politicians, don’t have a clue about how to encrypt an email. Most people who even know about that don’t bother. They just don’t use email for anything sensitive.

But it goes way beyond that. Yahoo, Gmail, MSN mail, AOL and any free email service is the last place to expect any privacy. Read the terms of use for any of them some time.

The governor’s Yahoo account is “the most nonsensical, inane thing I’ve ever heard of,” said Andree McLeod, who is appealing the administration’s decision to withhold e-mails.

[It turns out, Palin was already criticized for the use of private email for state business.]

But the group that supposedly hacked the account told the whole story. How do you call it hacking, when the account’s password was popcorn and the security question was “What is my zip code?” Real secure. [Actually, the hacker, whose father is a Democratic state representative in Tennessee, changed it to popcorn, but it was equally easy to guess. ]

I know Palin was thrust into the limelight kind of suddenly, but she was a state Governor, wouldn’t she have had some idea that she should take this a little more seriously? I don’t suppose there were state secrets being sent and there probably more secure, professional, channels being used for Alaska’s business.

I would hope so, because around here, even local towns use better security than that.

So maybe it’s just a personal account and it never got used for anything really important. Maybe it’s the press that’s clueless and is making far more out of it than it deserves. After all, they think McCain invented the Blackberry, Al Gore invented the internet and the internet is a series of tubes.

Posted in News, Rants, Tech Stuff

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