Sarah Palin’s Email Leaked
A series of email messages from the controversial Yahoo! Mail account of US Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin were leaked onto the Internet today.
As with the recently announced Venezuelan government email leak, Wikileaks was again in the scrum, issuing the following press release:
The internet activist group ‘anonymous’, famed for its exposure of unethical behavior by the Scientology cult, has now gone after the Alaskan governor and republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
At around midnight last night the group gained access to governor Palin’s email account … and handed over the contents to the government sunshine site Wikileaks.org.
Governor Palin has come under media criticism in the past week for using pseudo-private email accounts to avoid Alaskan freedom of information laws.
The zip archive made available by Wikileaks contains screen shots of Palin’s inbox, two example emails, governor Palin’s address box and a couple of family photos. While the emails released so far reveal little, the list of correspondence appears to re-enforce the criticism that Palin is mixing governmental and personal affairs.
The emails quoted in press articles to date seem to show that Palin has improperly used her private email account to conduct government business, thereby avoiding archiving requirements and shielding herself and her government from public scrutiny. It is unclear what if any action will be taken in response. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Secret Service contacted The Associated Press and asked for copies of the leaked emails on her Yahoo! account, but AP did not comply.
The Palin email leak is the latest in a string of unauthorised email disclosures. Ironically, it comes almost a year to the day after the MediaDefender email leak. Clearly, our recent discussion about the ethics of email corpora on the email research mailing list is a timely one!
Quote Selected Text: A Useful Gmail Labs Addition
I’ve previously noted my disappointment with the array of trivial trinkets that have so far defined Gmail Labs. One of the most recent additions, however, finally adds something of use.
Quote selected text allows you to selectively quote and reply to one small part of a message. Like other email clients with this feature (Apple Mail springs to mind), you just highlight the text you want to include in your reply, hit the keyboard shortcut “r” to reply, and the compose template will be just what you selected. This is a simple but useful feature. Note that it only works in Firefox and IE right now. Safari and Chrome support is still in progress.
Gabor Cselle on the Future of Email
As many in the email community will know, Gabor Cselle, VP of Engineering at Email startup Xobni, announced a month or so ago that he was leaving Xobni to start his own email company.
Luckily for us, Gabor is fitting in some travel between finishing up at Xobni and starting his new company, and Sydney is one of the stops on his itinerary. Gabor is an excellent presenter, so if you’re in Sydney, I highly recommend coming along to the seminar that he will be giving on The Future of Email at CSIRO / Macquarie University, starting 11am on Wednesday 15th October. (Here’s details of our location and how to get here if you’re planning to come along).
Of course, given Gabor’s experience as an entrepreneur, I’m sure he’ll also be happy to talk about life in a Silicon Valley startup and the lessons he’s learned along the way. So, come along for the seminar, and stick around for what’s sure to be some interesting discussion.
Venezuelan Government Email Corpus
Whistleblower website Wikileaks.org, which famously made its debut revealing secret documents about Guantanamo Bay, has announced that they have acquired a corpus of over 8000 diplomatic emails from the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Controversially, WikiLeaks is offering to auction off the corpus to the highest bidder.
The winning bidder will get exclusivity and embargoed access to the documents. However, there is hope for cash-poor email researchers, as Wikileaks claims that they will eventually publish all of the email, after the embargo expires.
The corpus allegedly includes email messages and attachments from 2005 to July 2008 that provide insight into the management of Chavez’s “inner circle”, along with “sentiments about CIA activities in Venezuela, Columbian incursions, the visit of the Pope”, and the Bolivarian revolution. Based on the Wikileaks press release below, the email messages appear to be from a single diplomat’s mailbox.
From: Wikileaks Press Office
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 20:38:47 +0100
Inside Venezuela – over 8, 000 diplomatic emails 2005-2008
Wikileaks has prepared for publication over 8,000 internal and
external emails to and from a senior Venezuelan diplomat and former
speech writer for Hugo Chavez. The emails are dated 2005 to July
2008, and include several thousand attachments. The preparation
includes a “one touch” translation system to over a dozen different
The material provides a unqiue insight into the Bolivarian revolution,
President Chavez’s manamgement of his inner circle, and affairs
ranging from Cuban and Venezuelan contacts, sentiments about CIA
activites in Venezuela, Columbian incursions, the visit of the
Pope and Venezuelan views on many other countries and events.
Organizations wishing to bid for exclusivity (proceeds to our source
defense fund) and embargoed access contact email@example.com for
Thanks to Rob McArthur for alerting me to the Wired News article about the auction. If anyone out there knows more about this potential corpus, please comment!
Update (3/8/08): Of course, I assume the email messages are likely to be in Spanish, the official language of Venezuela.