Saturday, November 13, 2010

Does this establish yet another sentencing benchmark?

Sarah Palin E-mail Hacker Sentenced to 1 Year in Custody

David Kernell, the former Tennessee student convicted of hacking into Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, was sentenced on Friday to one year in custody.

Kernell, 22, was convicted earlier this year of misdemeanor computer intrusion and a felony count of obstruction of justice. The jury found him not guilty of a wire-fraud charge and hung on a fourth charge for identity theft, after four days of deliberating.

The convictions carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in custody and a possible fine of up to $250,000. Federal sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence of between 15 and 21 months in prison. The government was seeking 18 months, but Kernell’s attorney asked the court to forgo a prison sentence and give his client probation instead.

Kernell was sentenced to one year and one day in custody and three years of probation. Federal Judge Thomas W. Phillips recommended that his sentence be served in a halfway house in Tennessee, although his destination will be determined by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The judge also recommended that Kernell get mental health treatment. According to court filings, Kernell had suffered from depression since the age of 11.

(Related) In a world where many (most?) “text before thinking” this is likely to be repeated many times. Is this the right way to handle it?

Twitter airport bomb joker loses appeal, tweeters revolt

The British are renowned for their sense of humor. It is, indeed, one of the only reliable British exports over the last 40 years. Together with airlines, Carey Mulligan, Cadbury's chocolate.

So you might have thought that even judges in a dreary place like Doncaster, U.K. have the ability to estimate when something might be intended to be a joke.

It seems not. As Paul Chambers, the man who tweeted his frustration about the possibility of a canceled flight, has lost his appeal against what some might think is one of the more putrid convictions of recent times.

Should you have been yourself incarcerated for jestingly suggesting that the TSA's naked screeners can't afford online porn, here is what Paul Chambers tweeted about Robin Hood airport in Doncaster: "Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your sh*t together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

His tweet was seen by an airport manager, who sent it on to his manager, even though it was not deemed credible.

Naturally, it ended up before the eyes of policemen and Chambers was arrested and charged with "sending by a public communications network a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003."

Oh, of course he was found guilty. But everyone thought that, on appeal, a judge in Doncaster might see the joke. Or, at least, sense.

Perhaps everyone believes that all kittens, in a former life, were hangmen.

For Chambers' appeal was denied and, as if to show just how cheery the British judicial system can be (at least in Doncaster), he was ordered to pay a further 2,000 pounds in prosecution costs.

You might well believe that Chambers' tweet wasn't particularly funny. But, as with so many pieces of communication one encounters, it would surely have been fairly clear to anyone not made of metal and foam that it was meant to be funny.

In order to make the point, his fellow tittering Twitterers decided to repeat Chambers' threat. Over and over again. Using the hashtag #IamSpartacus, they inundated the Interwebs with threats aimed at Robin Hood airport.

I feel readers might be especially moved by a tweet from Dara O'Briain: "Robin Hood! All your base are belong to us! Somebody set up us the Bomb! #iamspartacus #butimalsoanerd"

Some might also feel uplifted by Hugh Miller's tweet: "Anyone else think this #TwitterJokeTrial has been blown up out of proportion? #IAmSpartacus."

You might have imagined that some enterprising journalists might have asked the local South Yorkshire Police whether they would attempt to prosecute all of the more than 5,000 threatening joke-tweeters.

Well, the Associated Press did. The police no doubt thought about it for a vastly long time, balancing the hope of overtime with the possibility that Doncaster might enjoy perhaps the greatest march of the reasonable since Robin Hood himself prowled the local forests, before reportedly replying: "No."

The death of newspapers? Or the death of newsprint?

November 12, 2010

ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers - Newspaper digitization projects

The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) project develops strategies to preserve and improve access to newspapers from around the globe, working on issues including bibliographic access, copyright, and information dissemination. ICON was officially established in 1999 by 13 charter members and is based at the Center for Research Libraries: "This page of Newspaper digitization projects highlights and links to past, present, and prospective digitization projects of historic newspapers. The focus is primarily on digital conversion efforts, not full-text collections of current news sources."

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