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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LAWSUIT, FPR coverage Steinbach witetap lawsuit [FP]

In a lawsuit Commissioner Terry Steinbach has alleged her village email account was accessed without her authority and messages passed to Mayor Anthony Calderone, a political opponent.

The Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) covered the story.

Steinbach and her attorney have presented no evidence to the media or the court as far as I know beyond Steinbach's claim that this happened.

Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. has been active on information technology issues. See Recording Industry vs The People.
"We've filed a motion seeking a leave to conduct a discovery. We will be seeking the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of those computers that accessed her e-mail account, and from that we hope to trace at least where they came from," said Charles Lee Mudd Jr., Steinbach's attorney in the case.

Mudd emailed me saying that...
as the discovery at this stage is sensitive, I do not have the liberty or the ability to discuss your questions or the answers to them at length. Moreover, many of your questions call for answers better addressed when information has been
obtained that sheds light on what actually occurred beyond what we already know.

Back to the FPR...
Mudd declined to provide many specifics concerning the contents of the e-mails that were allegedly accessed improperly, but said that "They were not spam and not jokes. They were not insubstantial. Many of them pertained to village issues,"

Based on the limited information coming from Steinbach's side it's hard to evaluate her case. It could be two emails on stuff that some constituent asked Steinbach to contact Calderone. But why engage in skulduggery to gain access to the trivial.

BTW, I found Mudd's explanation of why it's a big deal to access information subject to the Freedom of Information Act kinda lame.
"I think there's a difference between filing a Freedom of Information request and going through official administrative channels as opposed to somebody in the back room gaining unauthorized access to an e-mail account and using the contents for their own personal agenda," he said.

The FOIA has safeguards to protect privacy, ongoing investigations and other issues. Allowing staff to forward emails unsupervised bypasses these safeguards. I also think there are legal arguments to be constructed out of the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment. If the majority has an expectation of privacy in email communications the minority should too.

Commissioner Patrick Doolin had a good point.
"I would have hoped [Steinbach] would have informed some people she felt might also be a target to be careful or cognizant that this could be happening."

I'm skeptical of Village Administrator Mike Sturino conducting the investigation.

2 Comments:

  • I think this is a political attack. Steinbach makes these accusations and then the next day cannot be reached by phone or email. She will come back from her long vacation and say she can't prove it and it will be gone. Because it never happened. Nice try Commissioner Steinbach or should I say Commissioner stabintheback. What have you got up your sleeve next? You are pretty pathetic! File a lawsuit and the next day can't be reached for a comment. You truly are a spinless wimp.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 PM, August 10, 2006  

  • Steinbach is good for our community and has always proven to be ethical and morally competent. The most important question is why would Calderone participate in email tapping? What is he trying to find out and why didn't he just ask Ms. Steinbach? This is not a new all time low for Mr. Mayor; its just sad politics and should be taken seriously.

    By Anonymous tiredofFPMayor, at 6:32 PM, August 15, 2006  

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