Fun_People Archive
23 Mar
Tonya's email hacked by Dave Barry

Date: Wed, 23 Mar 94 12:05:05 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: Tonya's email hacked by Dave Barry

I'm not making this up.
From: Erik Nilsson  <netmail!>
To: Multiple recipients of list  <>


Accessory-after-the-fact and former skater Tonya Harding was the
victim of hacking by an unknown number of reporters, including
syndicated columnist Dave Barry, according to a variety of print and
net sources.

The Dallas Morning News reported on February 24th that Michelle
Kaufman of the Detroit Free Press, Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury
News and Jere Longman of The New York Times read Ms. Harding's e-mail
access code off of her credentials from a television close-up, and
guessed her password.[So what was it? -DRT]

Alex Johnson of the Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service reports that
soon afterward, Dave Barry admitted to hacking Ms. Harding's e-mail
account himself.  Mr. Barry vigorously defended his actions. saying
that reporters do such things "... all the time."  Mr. Barry's editor
at the Miami Herald also defended Mr. Barry's actions, likening them
to watching the dismemberment of chickens on television.

The Mercury News backed Ms. Killion's actions. The Times had no

Heath Meriwether, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, took a
somewhat less permissive attitude.  "Obviously, it's something we
don't approve of," said Mr. Meriwether.  It's against our policy, and
Michelle [Kaufman] regrets it. It shouldn't have been done. But in my
opinion, Michelle is a fine reporter with great integrity. She
realizes she made a mistake. We're reviewing it and will be
apologizing to Tonya [Harding]."

Hacking into e-mail accounts has been sufficient to earn criminal
charges for US hackers in the past.  While US law may well not apply
to a property crime in Norway, the spectacle of reporters claiming it
was no big deal to do something that people are serving prison
sentences for in the US was disquieting to posters to groups such as
JOURNET and alt.2600.

The Detroit News provided a bizarre postscript to events when they ran
a story on involvement by their rival Detroit paper, the Detroit Free
Press.  The story included a Detroit Free Press photo of Ms. Kaufman
that, according to some sources, was obtained when the News hacked the
Free Press on-line photo archive.

Thanks to Marsha Woodbury, Alex Johnson, Chris Hawley, and Jeff
Johnson for several postings on this story.

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []