Trent's AOL Problem
The days of lurking outside high-priced hotels and tailing tour buses may be
over for 21st Century celebrity stalkers, who are already boning up on ways
to invade their idols' privacy via the Internet.
In the most recent case of World Wide Wrong, a Nine Inch Nails fanatic in
Georgia hacked into Trent Reznor's America Online account and sifted
through weeks worth of private information before being arrested by New
Orleans police last Monday. Amber Appelbaum, 22, was booked under the
misdemeanor charge of making obscene phone calls, as well as felony charges
for access device fraud and computer fraud, a spokeswoman for the New
Orleans district attorney's office told JAMTV on Wednesday.
"She was released on her own recognizance, and we have not received a
police report, so we are still waiting to evaluate the case and begin interviewing
people involved," the spokeswoman said. If convicted of all three charges,
Appelbaum could be ordered to pay as much as $12,500 and/or serve more
than seven years in jail with the possibility of hard labor. However, because
the overzealous fan has no prior criminal record, the judge may opt to suspend
her sentence or order her to serve all three sentences concurrently, which
would translate into five years behind bars at the most, the spokeswoman said.
Appelbaum's high-tech high jinks were discovered when the Nine Inch Nails
frontman noticed changes in his account and reportedly hired a private
investigator. Contrary to previous reports, Appelbaum did not likely obtain
Reznor's password by impersonating his wife on the phone with the AOL
billing department. The senior vice president of communications at AOL, Ann
Brackbill, told JAMTV that the billing representatives do not have access to
users' passwords, and can only assign new temporary passwords to verified
users when needed.
"We're working with law enforcement," Brackbill said on Wednesday.
"There's a lot we don't know. It's all being investigated now and a lot needs to
be found out before we can do anything."
AOL will likely step up to help Reznor sort out and mend his account
problems, but Brackbill could not comment on the company's proposed
Reznor had no comment at press time. This high profile snafu follows months
of security-related trouble for AOL, which is accused of involuntarily allowing
a hacker to infiltrate and vandalize the American Civil Liberties Union website
last week. Appelbaum may have used "socially engineered" tactics similar to
those of the previous hacker, who conned an AOL representative into
believing he was a valid account holder. (Anni Layne)
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.