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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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  • Aliens! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:43PM (#32501764)
    Just the fact that the US is pushing so hard for this makes people believe that the US government has UFOs and aliens.
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Like the US would have control over any aliens that stop by.

    • Re:Aliens! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tekfactory (937086) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#32501856) Homepage

      New Mexico has an Alien problem, Arizona will profile and interrogate any little green men, or Grays they find wandering around, and believe to be in the country illegally.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SplicerNYC (1782242)
      What the U.S. government probably has is 60+ years worth of wasting taxpayer dollars on black projects that went nowhere. I've come to believe that flying saucers were a cover story and false hysteria created by the government as a way to both deflect the truth and create a system where observers could be dismissed as kooks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by confused one (671304)
        I've been told that many of the UFO sightings in the midwest and mountain states during the '80's were F-117's (they flew for a decade before the public was told they existed). I've been told that a few Airforce folks had a few laughs about this. I suspect that, in general, you're at least partially right.
    • 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...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

      • 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.

        • 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 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.

            • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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 th

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by imakemusic (1164993)

            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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
          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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Quantumstate (1295210)

          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 f

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by X0563511 (793323)

      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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Em Emalb (452530)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          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?)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vlm (69642)

          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 s

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LingNoi (1066278)

          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

  • 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?

  • He wnats the info because he's an alien trying to catch a ride home. I mean seriously, just look at the picture.. He's totally a grey in disguise!

    More seriously, why not work out a deal where he won't be stuffed in supermax?
  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:46PM (#32501814) Homepage

    He embarassed people, and made 'threats'

    From TFA
    McKinnon was surprised at how easy it was to enter the US networks. There were no firewalls and many government staff did not even have passwords. He left notes as he went, pointing out security deficiencies. One said: "US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days? It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Will the new UK government keep its word and help him avoid a savage punishment?

    But the UK government is punishing Savage by banning him from entering the country.
  • by wbav (223901) <Guardian.Bob+Slashdot@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:47PM (#32501836) Homepage Journal
    Everyone knows it is the NSA that keeps that data. Just ask your friendly local NSA operative, is there alien life. I always get, "We decline to comment on that subject at this time. All hail Kang."
  • 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.

    • 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 wondafucka (621502) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:00PM (#32502060) Homepage Journal

      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.

      As someone who suffers from anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, I am glad you have educated me that there are people who are predisposed to believe that we are making it all up. Although I am well aware that people have problems accepting situations that have not happened to them personally, I will add this one to the list.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And "suffering" from Asperger's syndrome is really odd wording. I've got Asperger's syndrome myself, and while it makes my experience of the world somewhat different, it's no more a cause of suffering than most personality traits. The other problems he has could legitimately be described as a form of suffering; the experience of the world would be qualitatively worse than if you did not have them, but the same does not apply to Asperger's.
      • by hannson (1369413)
        Isn't Asperger's syndrome somewhat like ADHD in that it can be seen in mild to extreme cases?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Autism is a spectrum from mild to severe. "Severe" Asperger's seems to be a less stigmatizing way of describing moderate autistic symptoms. The dividing line isn't clear between the various categories (that's why it's a spectrum), so I suppose the classification will differ somewhat depending on the doctor. The DSM-IV isn't a perfect resource.
    • Anxiety has reasonably well studied chemical markers. We don't typically bother to test them; because people running to their shrink to lie about being anxious just isn't a huge problem(and, to the degree that it does happen, a lot of first line anxiolytics(lorazipam, diazapam, clonazapam, beer, etc. are cheap and not wildly harmful. Who cares if some people who want them get their hands on them?)

      Panic attacks might be fakeable by a good actor(I don't know if manipulating your pulse and andrenaline level
  • by uofitorn (804157)
    Didn't Roland Emmerich already demonstrate in the 1996 US documentary Independence Day that UFO's can successfully be hacked by introducing a computer virus into the mothership?
  • 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.

    • 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:Little sympathy (Score:5, Informative)

      by malkavian (9512) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:28PM (#32502488) Homepage

      You entirely miss the point.
      He's not saying he should get off without charge; he's saying he should be tried in the UK for a criminal offense committed in the UK, and go to a UK jail as a UK citizen. What the US is trying to do is extradite him (supposedly something done for very serious crimes), and try him for possible terror charges.
      This is not what the extradition agreements were meant to be for, and the UK populace is pretty up in arms about it as the last (Labour government) rolled over and drooled at the chance to sign an extradition treaty without the US signing up to its side (it still hasn't, sensibly enough). So, we currently have a treaty whereby a relatively minor crime can have the US extraditing UK citizens, with nothing reciprocal (if a US citizen ran riot through the UK defence computers in this fashion, the UK could NOT extradite them).

      In theory, he could be charged with terror offences, and banged up for an awful long time. He probably wouldn't be, but hey.. What he's really fighting for is to be tried in his home country, and the country where the offence was committed (he was misusing a computer while based in the UK, which carries quite a penalty; easily sufficient to cover the term you think is sensible for him to be banged up for).

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#32501858) Homepage

    Gary McKinnon's treatment at the hands of the bloodthirsty, subhuman U.S. government officials will be savage, just SAVAGE. Who will save this kind, generous, upstanding man of peace from the vicious fate he faces if this extradition is allowed to go through? See him quiver and tremble as he suffers the throes of Aspergers Syndrome! Can you not see how depressed and anxious the threat of prosecution is making him? What kind of monster would will such evil upon this defenseless man, who surly is guilty of nothing but a deep and heartfelt thirst for knowledge about our Grey brothers from the beyond?

    Give me a break.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kaemaril (266849)
      > 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 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 Vahokif (1292866)
      Mod parent up. 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.
      • 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 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 jjohnson (62583)

          Well said.

        • by agrif (960591)

          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.

          I'm going to shoehorn my correction into the china shop metaphor, because it's more fun that way.

          It'd be like if the china shop owner was actually an FBI agent, and after he locked up he opened his laptop and started looking at all his super-secret FBI stuff. Then, some guy behind him says "ooh that's some neat secret info," and it turns out there's a second door with no lock that this guy just had to open. Then the FBI charges him with stealing information and for money to install a new lock.

          The point is,

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Vahokif (1292866)
          That doesn't change the fact that the system was vulnerable in the first place. Punish him for entering illegally but don't make him pay for repairs that should've been made anyway.
    • Savage punishment (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:05PM (#32502130)

      Prison (which depends on violence) qualifies as a savage punishment when the criminal is non-violent. I don't need a lawyer to tell me this. Human nature says so.

      Did I just claim that over half of all US prison sentences are savage? You're damn right I did.

      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by starlabs (610056)

        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.

    • by spribyl (175893)

      > Aspergers doesn't change your ability to understand legal vs illegal acts.

      This is not entirely true. Aspergers/Autistic spectrum disorder can affect the way you perceive and react to the world. On of Aspergers hallmarks is poor understanding and perception of what is right and wrong both socially and as a sub set the law(as a social contract). I don't now the particulars of this persons diagnosis but it is certainly within the realm of possibilities.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GooberToo (74388)

        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. I

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Another characteristic of Aspergers is that there is no objective medical test to say whether you have it or not. It all comes down to getting a psychologist to SAY you have it. Not saying this guy is faking, but if I were in his shoes, I certainly would be (and claiming ADHD, bipolar disorder, and everything else I could get a friendly shrink to believe).
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I just hope his defense has a better argument than "We found a psychologist who says he has Aspergers." The "I'm a social retard, so please excuse my hacking" defense hasn't worked very well in the past.
    • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:07PM (#32502168) Homepage

      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.

      So try him in England, where he lives, and where he was when he allegedly committed the crimes... The US Government can afford to send an attorney (or state department representative) to speak on their behalf. He can be tried and convicted and punished in the UK. There is no reason to send him to the USA.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Renraku (518261)

      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 LWATCDR (28044)

      "This guy was misguided rather than intentionally malicious"
      Really? I wounder how many other people fit that category. Honestly he broke into government computers knowingly. It is a crime.
      Truth is that he will probably get time served or less and be sent back home. He is in all reality a harmless nut case.
      The issue is can the US and UK work out a way to deal with his punishment. You know if you do it again you will be put under the prison and some kind of probation?
      That is the problem since he commuted a cr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malkavian (9512)

      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 DaveGod (703167) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:22PM (#32503086)

      Part of this is due to the public perception of McKinnon being that he's a "bumbling nerd", the asperger's thing merely being seen as medical confirmation.

      But there's other things going on here. It's not at all about him facing some appropriate punishment, all his supporters simply want that to be decided and carried out in the UK.

      His claims that he practically wandered in, left a few embarrassing messages and that's about it is widely believed. The accusations of damages are thought to be more the cost of the US putting in place security which needed to have been there anyway. The US justice system does not seem to be very highly regarded by Americans, and even allowing for the normal distrust of any foreign justice system, internationally the opinion is even lower. (Even if it is just due to the anomalies that get reported - UK papers tend to print articles about ridiculously lenient UK sentences, American media tends to report the ridiculously harsh ones, whatever, this is an observation of perception, I'm not claiming that is or isn't a fair assessment of reality).

      This is amply reinforced by the US's mishandling of the situation. It seems attorneys do not do diplomacy, you say 2-4 years, but US authorities said [bbc.co.uk] life and that some want to see him "fry" for "the biggest computer hack of all time". Charging him as a cyber-terrorist very likely didn't help, internationally (and certainly here on /.) there's not a lot of trust [wikipedia.org] for the US when the T-word comes up. The perception is that the US are all fired up up to beat up on him as hard as they possibly can because they're embarrassed and he's to be made an example of. This is fundamentally opposite to the UK sentiment towards justice.

      On to domestic UK issues, there was the resentment over the one-sided (at least on paper) extradition treaty with the US. Note also when the act was committed there was no extradition treaty covering this, so the game has changed after the event, and it's widely believed that the US deliberately delayed action to take advantage of this, which as the saying goes, simply isn't cricket. There is also, especially at the time, annoyance at other countries' lack of extraditing people to the UK (ironically, it seems in practice the US has actually been throwing them over to us with vigour).

      Then there's the UK government mishandling. Like the way the appeal was arrogantly and off-handedly thrown out by the disliked then-Home Secretary Jacquie Smith. This gave the papers an opportunity to have a go at her and the tired Labour government widely felt to be all too autocratic.

      It's now considered a test [guardian.co.uk] of the new government's principles, its thumb on the pulse and its willingness to stand up to the US.

      I'm not sure how much of this is the doings of his lawyer's PR efforts, but time and again the case has being striking a nerve on numerous issues and he's been on the front pages for years now. It's got to the point that if he does get extradited despite that level of support it's definitely going to seem like something is very wrong somewhere.

  • 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.

  • Which will be what? Imprisonment? Well, that's too bad. Don't break into our computers, and you won't have that problem.

    Guantanamo? That's a different matter.

    Or is the allegation that US prisons are, in and of themselves, cruel and unusual punishment?

    • by xous (1009057)
      I believe the extradition is what his lawyers are trying to say would cause him 'problems'.
  • Political payback (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...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.

  • All he has to do is complain it's against his fucking Human Rights(TM) since there's a chance that he might be tortured in the US and he'll be let off the hook...

    • 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.

  • Most of what you think you know about this case is wrong. Forget about UFOs.

    Also, what Gary did is trivial, barely even worth the term "hacking" (summary: he used an off-the-shelf product called RemotelyAnywhere [remotelyanywhere.com] to access completely open internet-connected Windows desktops that had the default password set).

    If you want to go back to the source legal materials, this set of articles is particularly interesting:

    Part 1 [blogspot.com], Part 2 [blogspot.com], and Part 3 [blogspot.com]

    There is a final part coming too.

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