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America Versus the UFO Hacker 452

Posted by kdawson
from the keeping-promises dept.
Rob writes "Gary McKinnon, still suffering from Asperger's syndrome, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, has one last chance to avoid extradition from the UK to the US to face charges of hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers in search of information on UFOs. Will the new UK government keep its word and help him avoid a savage punishment? The New Statesman has a survey of the history and McKinnon's prospects."
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America Versus the UFO Hacker

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  • by capnchicken (664317) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:44PM (#32501784)

    Isn't that like saying still suffering from AIDS, Herpes, Diabetes, or Lou Gehrig's Disease?

  • by Gramie2 (411713) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:47PM (#32501838)

    He suffers from anxiety, depression and panic attacks? Exactly what people claim when they are suing for ridiculous amounts of money. Utterly impossible to prove or disprove, and plenty of doctors will probably accept a nice fee to testify either way.

    I'm not saying that he doesn't suffer from these, but hearing it makes me roll my eyes and wonder if it's not just a sympathy act.

  • Little sympathy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#32501852)

    I'm afraid that I have little sympathy for this guy. I do not think that breaking into computer systems is harmless play. If he'd actually gone to trial back when he was indicted, instead of fighting it for all these years, he's have gotten a minor sentence, very likely no prison time at all, and almost certainly would be out now.
    I have no reason to believe these flamboyant claims that he's likely to be put away for a prison term of "seventy years;" this is bizarre hyperbole that has nothing to do with the way sentencing is actually done in the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#32501854)
    Sounds like he did the deed, but doesn't want to pay the consequences to me.
  • by georgewilliamherbert (211790) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:49PM (#32501872)

    If he's convicted he gets to go to minimum security federal jail for probably 2-4 years. How is that savage punishment?

    Aspergers is neither a cause of computer hacking nor an excuse for it. "Oh, a trial or jail will traumatize him" isn't a valid reason to not put someone on trial either in the US or in England.

    This guy was misguided rather than intentionally malicious, but he misguided himself into a bunch of federal felonies. Aspergers doesn't change your ability to understand legal vs illegal acts.

  • by mustafap (452510) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:50PM (#32501888) Homepage

    It should be the people responsible for the military IT infrastructure facing court action. It's criminal that a defence system should be left so easily hackable that a lone nutter could access it.

  • $800,000 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:53PM (#32501932)

    "His actions, according to US officials, caused networks to shut down, damaged computers and incurred costs of $800,000."

    And I wonder how much they've spent on the power play of extraditing him instead of trying him in a British court?

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:54PM (#32501952) Journal
    I'd go with the "embarrassment/reprisal" hypothesis, myself.

    The DoD's networks are supposed to be all secure and advanced and stuff. Getting hacked by a single sad-case foreign national, acting without support, makes them look pathetic.

    When made to look pathetic, those with power generally seek reprisal against their enemies.

    Frankly, the DoD was lucky to have been hacked by him. He is largely harmless, and watching how he got in was probably instructive, to some degree. They really ought to spend less time hounding him, and more time thinking about the fact that certain other hackers are much less harmless, and substantially less likely to be turned over for a stay in PMITA prison by their host governments...
  • Political payback (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:54PM (#32501954)

    It's political payback for McKinnon giving the pompous U.S. government and military a well-deserved black eye.

  • by Jeng (926980) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:54PM (#32501958)

    I guess its just not PC to state that he is a complete raving lunatic who believes in aliens.

    Not that you need to be a complete raving lunatic to believe in aliens mind you, but that is basically his defense.

  • by WilyCoder (736280) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:56PM (#32502002)

    haven't you seen the x-files? the govt acts this way to make people believe in UFOs, when in reality, the truth is far stranger than flying metal discs and little green men.

    x-files is not entertainment, it is the truth!

    I want to believe!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:59PM (#32502036)

    This maybe true BUT the people who left these networks in such a terrible state should be tried for more serious crimes.

    The US Govt should have given him a medal for exposing such terrible security on their systems. I'll bet they paid lots of taxpayer $$$ to $400 an hour so called Security consultants to setup systems like this?
    These are the guys who should be in the dock.

    In reality, I don't want him anywhere near a plane bound for the US UNTIL the US Govt ratified the extradition treaty with the UK. This would allow people to be extradited from the US to the UK on the same terms as he is being extradited the other way.
    Oh silly me, it is probably unconstitutional. No evidence is needed to be presented to a Judge in the UK. The US Gov't just have tp promise that they have the evidence.
    This clearly breaks 'dur process' laws in the US.
    So until this mess is sorted out he should stay put!

    Just my 2p worth on the matter.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:59PM (#32502044) Homepage Journal

    While the unfortunate truth is more likely that they simply wish to "discourage" others from looking into said servers without authorization.

    The issue is the "... charges of hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers in search of information on UFOs.".

    His reasons don't matter. He didn't have authorization to access those resources. Period.

  • by Kaemaril (266849) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:59PM (#32502048)
    > What kind of monster would will such evil upon this defenseless man I'm not convinced he's the emotionally and mentally crippled guy the article is painting him to be, but the answer to the question "What kind of monster" is an easy one ... the American Justice System. It's been pretty monstrous for years.
  • by soupd (1099379) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:06PM (#32502156)

    I have no love for people who force their way in to IT systems but the utter lack of security and safeguards in sensitive US systems in relation to what he did does tend to look as though the repercussions are more relative to embarrassment than actual harm.

    Obviously this is based on what the, highly biassed, media report, but having worked in IT a while, it's really not THAT hard to take minimum precautions to minimally secure systems and it looks as though key US Government organisations did not do this.

    It really does look as though its a nuke the intruder response to somebody who walked in, without forcing entry, into somewhere they should not have been.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:09PM (#32502192) Homepage Journal

    I argued this point the last time it came up and was modded down due to the excuses that were readily available:

    "He has Aspergers"

    "He wasn't trying to do anything criminal"
    etc, etc.

    I agree with you 100%. It doesn't matter what medical conditions he has, it doesn't matter WHY he was doing it, he hacked government servers.

    That's the bottom line.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:09PM (#32502198) Homepage

    The only problem is that the US is trying to get him to pay a fortune for damages, as if he created the vulnerability as opposed to exposing it.

    If you walk into a china shop and kick over all the shelves, smashing all the china, then turn around and tell the shop owner, "These shelves should have been secured better," I'm willing to bet a jury would find you liable for damages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:09PM (#32502204)

    Ah yes, 2 to 4 years of prison rape. Doesn't sound so bad. The guy should have some kind of punishment coming, but Americans will never convince me that being sent to prison rape criminal school is in any some kind of justice.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:10PM (#32502212)

    The only problem is that the US is trying to get him to pay a fortune for damages, as if he created the vulnerability as opposed to exposing it.

    Any time a system is penetrated it is considered completely compromised. Addressed compromised systems demands significant damages because damage has been suffered. The simple act of gaining illegal access requires untold hours of logging, following endless procedures, rebuilding the system (usually at a temporary loss of services), ensuring compliance with current standards (which are far from brief), so on and so on. For every system he violated, shit loads of both dollars and man hours must be spent cleaning up afterwards. And this all ignores the general assessment which must follow to determine if additional, unknown systems might have been accessed and/or compromised. Basically, this is a really big fucking deal.

    In short, this guy is not only a complete idiot, but he deserves serious jail time and a life time of fines. He did, after all, work hard to earn it. Since he definitely did earn it, I don't have a problem with the government handing it to him. Its what he wanted after all.

  • by Renraku (518261) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#32502250) Homepage

    I'm a healthy adult and a trial and/or jail would traumatize me too, especially since I would know that it's going to be a show trial. Even if I were found not guilty of 90% of the counts, they'd still throw me in jail for ten years for 'failure to appear' or something because they got their asses handed to them in the security department.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:13PM (#32502254)
    Calm down, buddy. He's not saying *YOU* are making it up, only that this guy *might* be (a reasonable suspicion, considering he has a very strong personal interest in making himself sound as mentally ill as possible, to avoid extradition).
  • by Vahokif (1292866) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:16PM (#32502296)
    Except the china was already broken. They fixed the vulnerability that was there before he found it, and now they're trying to get him to pay for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:17PM (#32502310)

    Yeah, and its people like you who are the entire reason why we aren't going to serve up one of our citizens on a plate to you crazies. Everyone knows exactly what US prisons are like. The crime was committed here, so he should serve time here, simple as that. And the sooner they review the extradition treaty the government has with the US, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LEMONedIScream (1111839) <<lemonjellly> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:18PM (#32502336)

    it doesn't matter WHY he was doing it, he hacked foreign government servers.

    There, fixed that for you! (Or should that really read "US" government servers?)

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:19PM (#32502356)
    Even by Western developed world standards the U.S. justice system is hardly "monstrous." It may be one of the last Western countries to still have the death penalty and no one is defending the egregious misdeeds of the previous administration and their waterboarding of suspected terrorists. But to call is "monstrous" is ludicrous. At the most, this guy will face some time in a federal minimum security prison. It's not like anyone is breaking out rope to hang him.
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:19PM (#32502366)

    affect the way you perceive and react to the world.

    That's true of social interaction. Legal comprehension in general is not affected. While he may not realize endlessly staring at a hot chick's tits is bad, especially when close enough to physically touch them. He understands breaking into computer systems absolutely is illegal. To boot, its extremely likely he has heard, been told, and read such actions are illegal.

    Aspergers almost exclusively affects social cues and associated interactions. It does not affect comprehension or higher learning in general. If it did, its not likely he'd been able to master the skills he used to penetrate the networks. Bluntly, its all but impossible his disease is a significant factor here; aside from believing it was a good idea or that he wouldn't be caught.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:20PM (#32502378)

    Nope - it's more someone walking into a heavily defended bunker and pointing to the military sitting in it, at the fact they let the massive armed door at their back wide open.

    He did not used the most diplomatic way to make that statement, but that will not change the fact.

    Unfortunately the military seem to have no sense of humor and want to beat him senseless just for pointing out this embarrassing mistake.

  • Re:Little sympathy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selven (1556643) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:24PM (#32502424)

    If he'd actually gone to trial back when he was indicted, instead of fighting it for all these years, he's have gotten a minor sentence, very likely no prison time at all, and almost certainly would be out now.

    Well of course, the authorities don't like people fighting back against them and tend to kick them down extra hard if they manage to get them, to encourage others to take it lying down. Standing up to this standard bullying tactic is brave, and should be lauded regardless of whether you happen to agree with the crime in question.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:25PM (#32502440)

    The DoD's networks are supposed to be all secure and advanced and stuff. Getting hacked by a single sad-case foreign national, acting without support, makes them look pathetic.

    As far as we know from this story, the actual DoD networks _are_ secure and stuff. Sites in the *.mil domain are _not_ secure systems from the DoD point of view. The actual secure networks they use for classified material aren't even connected to the Internet that you know.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:32PM (#32502544)
    If this guy gets prison time, it will be in a federal lockup--not some exaggerated, fictional, ass-rape prison like "Oz."
  • Re:Aliens! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AltairDusk (1757788) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:34PM (#32502556)

    Frankly, the DoD was lucky to have been hacked by him. He is largely harmless, and watching how he got in was probably instructive, to some degree. They really ought to spend less time hounding him, and more time thinking about the fact that certain other hackers are much less harmless, and substantially less likely to be turned over for a stay in PMITA prison by their host governments...

    Someone breaks into your house but doesn't take anything of value. You would think that's ok because the intrusion was largely harmless?

    The fact is he hacked into government servers he had no business accessing. We can argue motives and harm done all we want but it doesn't change the fact a crime was committed.

  • by Purity Of Essence (1007601) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:34PM (#32502564)

    I agree. Having the highest incarceration rate in the world is an example that all free nations should aspire to. USA #1!

  • by malkavian (9512) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:42PM (#32502676) Homepage

    He's not disputing the offense. He's complaining that it's not an extraditable offense, and he should be tried in the UK (where he's a citizen, and where he committed the offence) under UK law (which has stiff penalties for the activity) and placed in a UK jail.
    Dragging him halfway across the world for something that's relatively minor really just seems like crass stupidity when he will most likely get the same sentence in his home country.

  • by starlabs (610056) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:43PM (#32502694)

    So you're saying people like Bernie Madoff or the louts behind the Enron debacle don't deserve prison, because they're "non-violent"? Even though they wiped out people's life savings, or worse? Just because a crime doesn't involve a physical altercation doesn't mean it doesn't warrant stiff prison penalties.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:45PM (#32502706)

    It doesn't matter what medical conditions he has, it doesn't matter WHY he was doing it, he hacked government servers.

    For at least some crimes, motive and state of mind is very important for prosecution. Research the difference between 1st and 2nd degree murder, etc. Not saying that matters in this scenario, but generally it has considerable legal importance.

    Since at least some of his medical conditions could be considered mental illnesses, that will probably be his defense. Someone whom has anxiety attacks and believes the only way to defend himself is to break into the pentagon computers, will probably end up, after staggering government legal expenses, in the nut house until he's cured by medication and given supervised release.

    Regardless of how it turns out, I'm not seeing any result that could be useful for the US govt, or would have a sensible cost/benefit analysis result.

    1) From a PR perspective, I suppose jailing other countries crazy people is better than us bombing them, marginally, but not much. If the US forced his govt to put him into a mental health institution near his home, maybe that would have been better PR.

    2) From a network security perspective its a negative because we're setting a precedent of trading sloppy procedures for legal attacks.

    3) From a conspiracy theory perspective, this is absolute proof the USGovt has proof of aliens and UFOs. I suppose that distracts them from the real conspiracies, but its not much of a win.

    4) It makes his govt look like a US lapdog, not that theres anyone left in the world that didn't know that already, but it still looks bad.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AGMW (594303) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:52PM (#32502770) Homepage

    The fact is he hacked into government servers he had no business accessing. We can argue motives and harm done all we want but it doesn't change the fact a crime was committed.

    ... and as I understand it, he's admitted to it. What he doesn't deserve is some show trial and 70+ years in a US jail for it because he's apparently a threat to the US's security. Did I read somewhere that one of the passwords he managed to crack was ... "password"? There ya go ... now I've told the world what one of the US Security Services favourite passwords is so I guess I can look forward to an extraordinary rendition trip somewhere scenic for a water-boarding holiday!

  • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:54PM (#32502802)
    Please, please don't talk about Asperger's as if it is some sort of code word for "smart." Or talk about it like we're persecuted when we're treated no differently than any other somewhat socially inept individual. It doesn't make anything better, and it makes people view everyone with Asperger's as narcissistic and/or whiny. When your view of the world differs from 90+% of humanity, and it's noticeable in day-to-day conversation, you're going to be viewed as different. Be thankful it's being referred to as a syndrome now, not a disorder. Everything is a syndrome nowadays, and as long as they don't insist on "curing" me, they can call it whatever they like.
  • by malkavian (9512) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:57PM (#32502844) Homepage

    No, he'll just be tried in the UK (and found guilty under the Misuse of Computers act, with a bit of jail time thrown in).
    Extradition for this level of offence is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
    The part that is cruel is that when you extradite someone, certainly the distance to the US, it makes it FAR harder for friends, family and the support network to get face time visitation.
    Removing that from someone is a huge deal, especially when they're not exactly the most stable in the first place.
    The part that really gets the goat of most of the UK people is that while the last (Labour) government happily signed their side of the deal, the US conveniently forgot to sign their side (which is still waiting signature), so that the US can happily extradite UK citizens, while the reverse is not true.

  • by DrGamez (1134281) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:23PM (#32503098)
    At what point do we have to stop catering to someone who cannot grasp the levels of his actions? I can understand if he responded in a rational way but what would have been the best course of action here? He did something bad, the offended party offers some kind of leniency, and he denies. It's not like he's a crazy person - if you're smart enough to get into some government systems I assume you're smart enough to understand you "should not" do it; and there will be consequences for the actions.
  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brainiac ghost1991 (853936) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:44PM (#32503312)
    Well... seeing as you lot haven't bothered ratifying our side of the extradition treaties (and so won't give us someone if we asked) why should we bother with our side. Also, the punishment you're proposing is excessive compared to the punishment he'd get over here!
  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:45PM (#32504206) Journal

    However, you can't commit crimes across national borders using the Internet and then expect to use those national borders as a shield.

    You should keep that in mind next time you post any porn pics online, as you're likely commiting a crime "across national border" of Afghanistan or some other similarly advanced country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:50PM (#32504254)

    He shouldn't of messed with something that wasn't his or wasn't given permission to access. Leave things alone that don't belong to you! I don't feel sorry for this guy.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:54PM (#32504314)

    According to TFA, they are saying that the break-in "incurred costs of $800,000."

    Which is a blatant lie. His break-in wasn't what caused the cost. What caused the cost was that when some British idiot managed to break into military computers looking for information about UFOs, the military figured out that these computers were wide open to attacks by real criminals, and had to spend $800,000 to secure them. That was money that needed to be spent anyway, and they are lucky that the first person to break in was looking for UFOs and not for something else.

    The guys problem is that he made the US military look like idiots, and they don't like that. That is his real crime, showing to the world that the US military IT is run by a bunch of muppets, and even though there is no official law against that, it is one of the worst crimes he could have committed.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @08:40PM (#32504730)

    He acted UPON objects in the US, remotely FROM England. Therefore, the crimes were committed in the US, as they would be if he shot across the border.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @08:56PM (#32504894) Homepage
    You should keep that in mind next time you post any porn pics online, as you're likely commiting a crime "across national border" of Afghanistan or some other similarly advanced country.
    I'll keep that in mind when I post porn pics to a computer I have hacked into illegally in Afghanistan.
  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:36PM (#32505212)

    This extradition case is the vanguard on the war against UK personal freedom. The right not to be extradited to America without any local trial or evidence produced, where America have many differing states that allow them to not only choose which local laws best suit the conviction but which state holds the longest sentencing (Texas is popular for this I believe). Sounds unlikely? Remember the NatWest Three, were three British citizens ended up being extradited to Texas and consequently were convicted of an offence committed in the UK against a UK bank, where said offence is not even illegal in the UK. Luckily for Americans the extradition treaty is strictly a one way process.

    The new UK government opposed the Gary McKinnon extradition but were defeated 290 to 236 votes in the house of commons. Of course now they are at the helm it seems likely to me the move will now be blocked.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:50PM (#32505340)

    Someone breaks into your house but doesn't take anything of value. You would think that's ok because the intrusion was largely harmless?

    No offence, but what? "breaks into"?

    If your home is broken into, it is a personal violation and can be a traumatic event, even if nothing was taken, that is not under debate. This man trespassed on a computer network, owned by a government. If a SysAdmin truly feels traumatised by someone trespassing on a computer network he's paid to keep safe then he shouldn't be a SysAdmin for the DoD

    This is nothing like B&E, it's like trespass. It's comparable to a man trespassing on a lawn at the Pentagon that is being kept safe by an incompetent security guard. Does that security guard feel as violated as a B&E victim, or does he feel embarrassed and frustrated when he eventually catches him? Trespass is a crime, as is doing so in the context of computer networks, but if you're so petty that you would subject a man to years behind bars with murderers and rapists for doing it, you're a sick, disgusting little puppy indeed. As are the prosecutors in the U.S. who are forcing this issue, and the previous Labour government who didn't intervene in this completely and utterly farcical situation.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:10PM (#32505892)

    If the UK had prosecuted him there (which is what should have happened), then none of this would be necessary.

    This isn't true. The US has been pushing hard to extradite him for years. They DON'T want him to go to jail in the UK which is what McKinnon WANTS. The guy would rather go to jail in the UK then one of your rape prisons for decades, what a surprise!

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:24PM (#32505994)

    I agree with you 100%. It doesn't matter what medical conditions he has, it doesn't matter WHY he was doing it, he hacked government servers.

    That's the bottom line.

    No he didn't The machines he accessed had no password. He logged in to foreign government servers that he shouldn't have accessed.

    If the username/password is admin/password then it was only a matter of time until someone did this. Either way he shouldn't be extradited simply because Americans are too damn stupid to look after their own computers from a retarded script kiddy.

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:51PM (#32506168)

    They need to do all that regardless of knowing someone broke in. If their systems have been using the username admin with no password for many years then everything needs to be checked anyway.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberllama (113628) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:18AM (#32506326)

    Nobody is arguing that a crime wasn't committed. To the contrary: everybody keeps harping on that particular strawman as if establishing that he committed a crime is the end of the story.

    The truth is that the harm done is an important thing to consider; in fact, it's the most important thing. It dictates whether or not the crime rises to a level worthy of extradition. Since this is a discussion about whether or not he should be extradited, this discussion is transitively a discussion on how much harm was done by his crime.

    Yes, he committed a crime. That's not not really in dispute.

    Yes, he has Asperger's. That's not really relevant.

    The only thing that matters is the severity of his crime and the extent of damages caused. I personally think that the 800k number is total bullshit. It's a number invented by adding up the costs of securing a network that should have been secured in the first place. It's "damages" caused by spending money that should have been spent years ago. I mean, ffs, he guessed that your fucking password was "password".

    There's no reason why this warrants extradition or the ridiculously trumped up charges against him. He should be tried in the UK, get the appropriate slap on the wrist, and move on with his life. Graffiti artists do more property damage than this guy -- he just happened to embarrass the wrong people.

  • Re:Little sympathy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:25AM (#32506640)
    Nonsense! What you think is a dangerous precedent is exactly a right that the US claims for US citizens. The US doesn't recognize the authority of the International Court of Justice, and refuses to extradite US citizens to the Hague to stand trial. If this argument is good enough for US citizens, then why shouldn't it be also good enough for UK citizens? Double standards!
  • by DABANSHEE (154661) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:34AM (#32506942)

    If Brits in the UK are obliged to comply with US laws then by default it means we all fall within the legal jurisdiction of every nation in the world simultaneously, regardless of where on earth we are.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @03:28AM (#32507160)
    Here it is a very disproportionate response. In one case it is being dealt with at rarified and stupidly expensive diplomatic heights, and the other case which is a current and future threat to national security and commercial operations is being ignored.
    It's about getting a head on a stick to show that the warriors are strong instead of a well measured approach to a threat.
    The harshness is all about him being exposed to action without a trial. You should have noticed the entire argument is about extradition with no legal recourse at all at the UK end, which doesn't seem to be appropriate treatment even if he is guilty.
  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:36AM (#32507524)
    You're defending the idea that he may get 50 years in Federal prison for, to use your analogy (with a slight modification), walking into your house when the door was unlocked and having a look around? The nutcase who shot and killed a doctor [dailymail.co.uk] got 50 years!

    I can't understand why you think this is in any way proportional.
  • Re:Aliens! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by redscare2k4 (1178243) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:23AM (#32507754)

    Someone breaks into your house but doesn't take anything of value. You would think that's ok because the intrusion was largely harmless?

    The fact is he hacked into government servers he had no business accessing. We can argue motives and harm done all we want but it doesn't change the fact a crime was committed.

    If someone breaks into your house cos you left the door and windows wide open and steals nothing, any sane person would consider himself lucky and from that day on remember to close the goddam doors.

  • by fredrik70 (161208) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:27AM (#32507792) Homepage

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they're not *required* to extradite him, but if UK don't send him over, then the risk is that US will flick UK the bird next time UK wants someone extradited.

    Countries also have deals where they promise to send over anyone the other country believes to have committed a crime (within reason I suppose).

    That's why all british gangsters went to Spain back in the day, spain refused to extradite anyone from Spain to UK due to tensions over Gibraltar

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quantumstate (1295210) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:59AM (#32507964)

    He isn't trying to avoid being prosecuted for this case. He is trying to have the case heard in the UK on the basis that he will get a fairer hearing and a more reasonable sentence. The US government is trying to get him extradited on the basis that he caused millions of dollars of damage. This claim seems ridiculous because it is based on the cost of securing their system, as far as I have heard he did not modify the system, he just read some files.

    As an analogy is is like you not having a lock on the front door, then having someone walk in and not do any damage, but then you decide you want $large sum in damages to hire a security consultant and get a lock fitted on the door.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imakemusic (1164993) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:53AM (#32509042)

    It's more like a man trespassing on a lawn at the Pentagon that is being kept safe by a gate with the code 12345.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:18AM (#32509290)

    US already flicked the bird several times. As when they refused to allow the USAF pilots to be requested in court, not for criminal charge, but to answer questions.

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