September 12, 2006 5:10 PM PDT

Rival behind Schwarzenegger Web flap

The Democratic rival to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged Tuesday that his aides were responsible for obtaining a controversial audio file in a move that has led to allegations of Web site hacking.

But the campaign manager for Phil Angelides, the state treasurer who is running against Schwarzenegger in the November election, said no laws were broken.

"We believe that these audio files--accessed through a public Web site, requiring no password, and not marked confidential--are a matter of public record and should be made available to the media and the public," said Cathy Calfo, Angelides' campaign manager.

Schwarzenegger's comments recorded in an audio file caused a flap when they were revealed by a leak to the Los Angeles Times by Angelides' aides. In the March conversation between the governor and his chief of staff, Schwarzenegger said blacks and Latinos were "hot" blooded, meaning they were passionate.

"I mean, they (Cubans and Puerto Ricans) are all very hot...they have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them and together that makes it," he said.

Schwarzenegger apologized for the remarks, and on Monday his legal-affairs secretary released a statement saying that two unauthorized people had downloaded audio files in August.

The controversy may center on the design of the Web server called speeches.gov.ca.gov. The California government used it to post MP3 files of Schwarzenegger's speeches in a directory structure that looked like "http://speeches.gov.ca.gov/dir/06-21.htm.htm". (That Web page is now offline, but saved in Google's cache.)

A source close to Angelides told CNET News.com on Tuesday that it was possible to "chop" off the Web links and visit the higher-level "http://speeches.gov.ca.gov/dir/" directory, which had the controversial audio recording publicly viewable. No password was needed, the source said.

Calfo, Angelides' campaign manager, has since characterized the leak to the Los Angeles Times as something done by two aides without her permission.

Katie Levinson, communications director of Californians for Schwarzenegger, denounced the acquisition of the audio file in a statement Tuesday.

"Sadly, the actions by the Angelides campaign come as no surprise and the treasurer should denounce the unethical actions taken on his behalf," Levinson said. "Phil Angelides has a long history of gutter politics, and it is clear this most recent example was a calculated effort to smear the governor's reputation."

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19 comments

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So flaws in design
make it open game to hacking?

What a lame excuse.

Whats next... 'judge i broke in... but its not against the law. There was no fence... there was no sign saying not to be there... and there was no lock. So its ok.'

Hmmmmmmmm
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's not even close
You don't have any expectation of privacy for any information that you put on a publicly available web server. If you leave your TV out on the street corner on trash day, it's not the same as someone coming into your house to get it.
Posted by cameronjpu (178 comments )
Link Flag
Not Hacking
They did not hack the site. Hacking means "illegally accessing other people's computer systems for destroying, disrupting or carrying out illegal activities on the network or computer systems" or "attempts to circumvent or bypass the security mechanisms of an information system or network".

If you can type a url into a browser and get something back, then there was no security to bypass and nothing illegal committed. That is how the HTTP protocol is designed. All the more reasons to be cautious when using a web-based system.

Its the same thing as talking next to a microphone you don't know is on. Would you send the recording crew to jail? Or just beat your head against a wall for being a total idiot.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
bad analogy
No fence? Break in?
Someone needs an understanding of how the web works. A house with no fence remains private property. Everyone knows that.

An unlinked webpage is not. Everyone should know that, too. But apparently not. Why aren't people all over Arnold for his racist comments?
Posted by Sonicsands (43 comments )
Link Flag
Not a laughing matter
I was accused of Googling-while-a-public-citizen, too. In fact a CA State agency, the DMHC, publicly denounced me for it, and they got away with breaking a settlement where they had agreed to revise the statement on their web site. This wasn't even their jurisdiction - they just wanted to exploit the hot button issue of "hackers" and "bloggers", to get some PR for themselves.

I had to go through a year of legal hassles, exacerbated by what the DMHC did. The Governor's office has never addressed this, and they don't seem to mind that the DMHC broke a legal settlement. Consituents without their own legal teams apparently don't matter.

The irony here is I wrote Angelides to ask what he would do to address this situation if he were elected Governor. He didn't reply.

Now his own campaign workers stand accused of Googling, too, and it looks like his reply is to turn his back and ditch the bad photo op. At least the campaign workers weren't named in grandstanding press releases like I was.

At least now we have an answer over whether Angelides would protect the rights and freedoms of individuals in CA. The answer is no.
Posted by teraphim (7 comments )
Link Flag
All's fair in...
So it may be a cheap way to get ahead of your opponent, but I'm sure it worked for Schwarzenegger's rival. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=99" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=99</a>

What I'm wondering about is why the audio file was on that website anyway? Schwarzenegger's campaign manager should be checking for these sorts of things on the internet as often as possible to eliminate another damaging leak.
Posted by ml_ess (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Hacking There, just poor security & judgement
If your web directories are open then expect people to get at them one way or another since all of the search engines are going to index and cache them.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In no way is what happened "hacking"
No hacking occurred here. There is no design flaw to blame. The audio file was purposefully uploaded to a server. The directory into which the file was stored is publically available by typing an URL into any web browser. All the technology here performed exactly as is it was designed to perform. People may say, "It's the administrator's fault for uploading the file in the first place." Even they are wrong. The problem is that this is the way the governor thinks. He said what he felt and that can't be changed. Do you agree with it? Then vote for him. Do you not agree? Then don't vote for him.
Posted by FlappingCrane (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not hacking...anybody who googles has probably done it..
I've bet I've googled a search phrase 10,000 times, particularly if it had something to do with coding, and ended up looking at a "C" or some other language file, so I "chopped off" to climb to a higher level directory that might actually have a stinkin' index in it...that kinda stuff is very prevalent in webservers based on 'Nixie O/Ss...
Posted by missingamerica (6147 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not necessarily in public domain
Just because you can find and grab files does not make it legitimate. I can find and grab mp3 files and still find myself in hot water, right?
Posted by real_bgiel (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True, except...
This is a public government website making it public domain. Remember, "We, the people..." isn't just a cool opening line for a Hollywood movie.

It's not the same as downloading music; there is no copyright on government work. I'm not sure how the sunshine laws (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_laws" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_laws</a>) in California work, but some places actually require open meetings.

I think the bigger question is "Why didn't Arnold keep his trap shut?" instead of flaunting his ignorance.
Posted by starch_y (16 comments )
Link Flag
Demonstrates a flaw....
This whole situation demonstrates a flaw... but I'm not talking about internet security. I'm talking about character. One man willing to cross ethical boundaries to smear his opponent. One man demonstrating a lapse in judgement.
Posted by drfrost (467 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Absolutely correct.
It is a major flaw for a public figure to excuse poor charcater by explaining their actions "weren't illegal, just unethical."

Do we really want to elect someone to a position of public trust, knowing that he believes ethics are merely a matter of convenience?

I thought ethics was the radicals' big complaint about the Republicans in the first place.
Posted by El Kabong (100 comments )
Link Flag
 

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