No doubt you are aware of the story surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s tweeted photo of himself in his undershorts, which was sent to a young woman in Seattle but published, apparently inadvertently, on Weiner’s public Twitter stream. Or maybe the photo wasn’t of Weiner; he says his Twitter account was hacked. I haven’t seen the photo, but it is described as “lewd.” A great deal of energy has been expended analyzing Weiner’s Twitter stream and debating the feasibility of hacking his account. For the details, you can go here or here.
I am not an expert on hacking, or even on Twitter, as those who follow my Twitter stream can attest. So I offer no opinion on what happened, but only two observations.
First, the episode must be investigated by law enforcement. Hacking into politicians’ accounts of various sorts is a criminal offense that could have serious consequences. There is precedent for the sort of thing Weiner is talking about: during the 2008 presidential campaign, a young man in Tennessee hacked into Sarah Palin’s personal email account. He was identified, criminally prosecuted and convicted by a jury in 2010. He was sentenced to a year in federal prison.
If Weiner’s Twitter account was in fact hacked, the perpetrator needs to be identified, prosecuted and sent to jail. If there is no investigation, we will know that Weiner is lying.
Second, there is presumably one person who knows whether the photo is of Weiner, namely, his wife. If the photo is of Weiner, he is in a hole deeper than any that can be dug by the press, or even the police.
UPDATE: IowaHawk is taking up a chip to “bring the Weiner hacker to justice.”
The Weinergate facts, as we so far know them: on May 28, @RepWeiner, the verified Twitter account of US Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), posted a tweet of a y.frog photo of a slightly-built white male straining to pitch a pup tent in a pair of grey Hanes Underoos. Within seconds, Congressman Weiner arrived at the scene of the cybercrime and instantly recognized it as the work of a hacker who had simultaneously broken into his Twitter, Facebook and y.frog accounts. Working quickly, and without regard to his own safety, Congressman Weiner used his elite law school-honed internet security coding skills to wrest back control of his accounts, delete the offending tweet and photo, as well as unfollow a Seattle coed to whom it was sent. His Twitter perimeter once again secured, the intrepid Congressmen sent out a new tweet explaining how he was victimized by an Internet criminal mastermind.
Since the incident, the famously modest Congressman Weiner had remained demure on how he single-handedly thwarted his anonymous attacker, and how the attacker managed to possibly steal his Blackberry camera phone. And, for whatever reason, has thusfar also chosen not to involve the law enforcement authorities.
As much as I admire Congressman Weiner’s Gandhi-like forgiving attitude toward his assailant – as well as his world class ninja programming skills – I’m afraid this incident doesn’t just involve him. For, after all, what Internet user is safe when the person who hacked this unsuspecting Weiner remains at large? …
I say no – we cannot as an online community let this tragic crime go unpunished. That it why I am announcing the Weiner Hacker Prize Fund to award a generous bounty for information leading to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of Pubic Enemy #1 – the pervert who stole Congressman Weiner’s underpants identity. To get things rolling, I will seed it with $1000 of my own personal 2010 federal tax refund.