ALASKA CRIME OF UNAUTHORIZED EMAIL ACCESS & APPLICABLE LAW

On September 17, 2008, an email account used by US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was breached by a hacker. The contents of her emails, including private photos, were then posted online by someone called "anonymous," stating the aim was to "derail her campaign." The son of a prominent Tennessee politician, twenty-year-old college student David Kernell, has now had his apartment and computer searched by the FBI and he remains the only named suspect in the case. The illegal and interstate nature of the Palin data crime provides an opportunity to examine the law proscribing this act in Alaska. A primary issue covered in this essay is the question of who owns a free, web-based email account, such as the Yahoo service that Governor Palin uses, because this affects the rights of the victim.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

Who Owns An Email Account & its Contents?
Which Alaska Laws Apply to Email Hacking?
What Other Alaska Laws Apply to a Criminal Email Hack?
What Punishments Apply to Such a Hacking Conviction?
Can Prosecutors Satisfy Alaska's State Jurisdiction for a Non-Resident Crime?

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