RealNews

The first fallout from Cybergate

Did Republican staffers commit a crime by clicking on the “My Network Places” icon to access Democratic memos? Politics is dirty business, and rarely so much as in the area of patronage: appointments to sought-after federal jobs in general, and to the federal bench in particular. So it should be little surprise that, with so much at stake, one political party would want to use the insecurity inherent in computerized databases to its political advantage. What is surprising, however, is that, caught with their hand in the cookie jar, Senate Republicans employed the tactic of blaming the victim: they said, in essence, It’s your fault that we got and used your information. If successful, this tactic does not bode well for the government’s ability to prosecute computer crimes, and to protect critical infrastructures. With the resignation last Thursday of Senate staffer Manuel Miranda as the first victim of what I might call “cybergate,” we may learn whether this tactic will be pursued and whether it will be ultimately successful. Full Story

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