I noted this below, in today’s Lynch List, but I thought that I would flesh this particular point out. Or rather, I would point out something that Mark Fournier of Free Dominion fleshed out, so I guess I’m fleshing out by proxy ( I just like saying ‘flesh out’ ):
Setting the record straight
The CHRC hacking of Nellie Hechme’s account
Maclean’s Magazine has issued a retraction:
In the Sept. 21 article “The CHRC tells itself to shape up” (National), we reported that Human Rights Commission staff hacked into the email account of a private citizen to post racist comments on a website. Maclean’s is satisfied that there is no evidence to suggest that either Richard Warman or commission staff did so. We regret the statement.
This was the proper thing for Maclean’s to do because they had their facts wrong in more than one instance.
1. The CHRC did not hack into Ms. Hechme’s email account, they hacked into her unsecured wireless internet account in a process known as wardriving. To the purist, wardriving involves actually driving around to find someone’s unsecured ISP account with which to access the internet. In this particular case no driving was required because Hechme’s wireless account could be reached directly from the CHRC offices due to the fact that she lived just down the street from the CHRC building.
2. The difference between hacking someone’s wireless account and hacking their email address is significant. If someone’s email account is hacked the hacker can send emails under his victim’s name and read all of his victim’s private emails. This is not what happened here and it was never the intention of the CHRC to do so. The CHRC hacked Hechme’s account to hide the fact that they were accessing the Stormfront website at that time. It worked too, Hechme’s internet service provider testified that the accessing of Stormfront at this particular time came from her address.
3. When the CHRC hacked Ms. Hechme’s account it was not for the purpose of planting hate speech on the Stormfront website and they did not do so when they accessed Stormfront from her private account. They hacked into Hechme’s account to download ‘evidence’. This evidence the CHRC downloaded using her account became very significant because it inadvertantly revealed the user name ‘jadewarr’.
4. When the CHRC realized the significance of the user name jadewarr appearing on the document they had downloaded, using Hechme’s account, they reacted by trying to substitute another version of the document (minus the name jadewarr) into evidence. It didn’t work though because the defense was able to get both versions submitted into the record which ultimately resulted in the exposure of jadewarr and much more.
Maclean’s magazine got their facts wrong on this one so it is right that they had to retract, but the truth is much worse than what Maclean’s originally reported.
Read it here.