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The Courts Government Security News

UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Cracker Gary McKinnon 107

JobsEnding writes with this quote from IBTimes: "A British court ruled on Friday that a man who hacked into US military computers will be given permission for a judicial review against his extradition to the United States. Hacker Gary McKinnon, 42, who had been diagnosed recently with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, has admitted hacking into the military computers. His lawyers had said McKinnon was at risk of suicide if he were extradited." We discussed the granting of McKinnon's extradition in 2006 when it was first granted, as well as a profile of the man more recently.
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UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Cracker Gary McKinnon

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  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:17AM (#26585629) Homepage Journal

    Also known as the Geek Defense. Hope it works as well for you as it did for Hans ;)

  • Hacker vs Cracker (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:41AM (#26585741)

    UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Cracker Gary McKinnon
    Just because some geeks feel the term "hacker" has been misused in society doesn't mean a thing. The world recognizes malicious entry into a system as hacking, whether we want to accept this or not.

    Society defines the language, not a small subset who doesn't understand how a language is able to change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:46AM (#26585757)

    Indeed. There are all sorts of things aspies are alleged not to be able to "understand", and yet I - as a non-aspie - also don't "understand" much of the law. And, by not understanding, I mean that I recognise that much of the law was written for the benefit of power brokers, not the common man. I know that the law is often an ass, but I do understand that "break law => get punished". An aspie also understands this simple logic, and if he finds the underlying motivations unfair, or does not quite recognise them, then he is in no different position to mine - because I also find them unfair, and sometimes do not quite recognise them.

    In conclusion: the law is an ass, but the aspie "I am stubborn and if I don't find something acceptable to me then I choose to ignore it" defence harms those whose mental illness genuinely prevents them from being in control of themselves. The end result is that more people are denied suitable rehabilitative care.

    If there is a problem with the law then deal with that. But don't sidestep the issue by saying there is a problem with the accused.

    (The suicide defence is getting closer to tackling the problem with the law: who would not contemplate suicide if threatened with incarceration for 70 years for such a non-violent crime? If the law's only result is to drive a non-threatening man to suicide, it is wrong.)

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:02AM (#26585845) Journal

    The problem here IMHO is they are looking to drop the hammer on this guy NOT for what he did, but for the fact that he made all their security look like the POS that it is. I mean, lets be serious here folks, if a guy looking for ALIENS on DIALUP can blow through your security like crap through a goose, then you don't really HAVE any security, now do you? I mean damn! The guy used the old freaking default passwords to gain entry! Hell that is one of the first big NO NOs in security is to leave all that default password crap on the machines. Where the hell did they get their security guys from, Remington College? Maybe they should have taken the truck driving course instead, huh?.

    How about instead of wasting all this money on courts and trials for the nutball we talk the UK into banning his ass from the net for a couple of years(I bet they'd be happy to do it just to make this go away and quit wasting the courts time) and instead we use that money for something more important, namely finding out WTF are default passwords doing on a government network in the first place? If their security is THAT damned piss poor then they got a HELL of a lot worse than some nutball looking for little green men to worry about. What if he would have been a REAL bad guy, intent on stealing as much information or causing as much damage as possible? It sounds to me like the US gov needs to have a serious security audit and make sure there isn't a SINGLE machine on their networks that are using that default password bullshit. IMHO that would do a lot more to secure our computers from the enemy than dropping the hammer on some UFO guy.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:09AM (#26585867) Homepage Journal

    Considering he has Asperger's syndrome I doubt much social engineering was involved here.

    More like persistence I think.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:03AM (#26586079)

    the aspie "I am stubborn and if I don't find something acceptable to me then I choose to ignore it" defence harms those whose mental illness genuinely prevents them from being in control of themselves. The end result is that more people are denied suitable rehabilitative care.

    Gee, that's insightful and all... not.

    His appeal has NOTHING to do with why he did what he did, it has to do with the US prosecutor literally threatening to have him "turned over to New Jersey authorities to see him fry" if he didn't accept a plea bargain. The UK judicial system has chosen to not read that as a threat, so far. McKinnon's appeal is based on the US carrying out that threat on a person with aspergers, who is much less capable of fending for himself in such a hostile environment, as being literally a violation of human rights. And the problem is not US law per se, it is UK law permitting the extradition to another country which has threatened to punish him in a way that would be illegal in the UK.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:59AM (#26586925)

    "where was the crime committed"

    That is a very interesting question, as it opens up one hell of a can of worms when applied to any work done virtually. If someone is in one country and commits a crime in another country, then where should they be tried and which laws applied?.

    If its decided that the country the crime is committed in, is the place they should be tried, then that means national boarders are meaningless from a legal perspective, as the virtual world then extends people from one country into other country. So what next, does that mean then that people can be tried for saying things considered illegal in another country, like for example, criticizing a foreign government online?

    If however a person committing a crime should be tried in their own country, using their own laws, then it prevents the need to open such a big can of worms. As crimes committed are then still within national boarders. It then means each country needs new laws that protect other countries from virtual harm. That seems a much more sane idea, as it protects against the most extreme regimes in some countries, dictating laws to all other countries, by extending their laws virtually into each country.

    The problem here is the law has not caught up fast enough with the way technology has changed and so a lack of law prevents the person being tried in their own country, as that country has no law that has been broken. If it did have such a law, then damages would simply pass on to parties in another country, who the crime was against, but most importantly the crime and punishment stays within national boarders, which is very important, given how extreme some countries and their regimes are.

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:11AM (#26586969)

    "Why would they even consider not extraditing him?"

    Because the UK doesn't trust the US legal system?
    The USA is a country that locks up people indefinitely in a third country when it's not sure that its own citizens would accept this kind of regime on their own soil, sometimes taking prisoners to other countries with poor human rights records for interrogation using methods that many of its partners refer to as "torture" (why don't these prisoners get interrogated in the USA? I am sure there is a good reason but it makes people suspicious).

    Hoping that things will change under the new management but I think there's a lot of caution in the UK over whether Gary McKinnon would receive justice rather than a kangaroo court if he was tried in the USA.

  • Why extradition? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:19AM (#26587007)

    Why extradite him?

    If what he did was illegal in the UK, then you could just try him there - in fact, given that he's a UK citizen, you should.

    And if what he did was not illegal in the UK, then what basis is there for even so much as arresting him - much less extradition?

    Seriously, does anyone believe that this is about anything other than the USA wanting to exact revenge on a guy that humiliated them, rather than giving someone a fair and unbiased trial?

  • by JerryQ ( 923802 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:45AM (#26587143)
    I trust that the USA would let its citizens exhaust the legal system before handing them over to another country for trial. That is what he is doing in the UK. J
  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @10:30AM (#26588437)

    He is NOT a child. He certainly understands that the consequence of breaking the law is to go to prison. Just because he didn't care about the consequences isn't a defence.

    The whole issue of "bad security" is a red herring. A number of years back, a friend of mine used to leave his keys in his car and his car unlocked in case a friend of his needed to borrow it. One cold winter night a guy stole his car, held up a store, and then wrapped the car around a telephone pole. Guess what? It was still a crime and the guy still went to jail. There's no requirement that you make your car hard to steal before stealing it becomes a crime.

  • by trelayne ( 930715 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:00PM (#26591507)
    One of the hallmarks of many Aspies is a sense of justice. Whether true or not, he sought to bring information that was potentially important to the world out in the open--- legal or not. Once upon a time, it was illegal to allow blacks in "white" washrooms. But people broke the law (despite protests from whites and uncle toms) in order to win equal rights. Some of yesterday's wackos are today's heroes.

    Similar battles for justice continue to this day. McKinnon felt he was doing the right thing. But at the same time, was not treated for a condition that is best diagnosed at an early age.

    I think he's been punished enough. At this point, he needs help, not punishment in the hands of a foreign, hostile government.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:18PM (#26591685)

    So, yes, I probably wouldn't do well at all in a prison. Guess what? So I don't break the law.

    I'll bet you a hundred dollars you've violated the laws of other countries, should you be extradited to them for trial and incarceration?
    Why not? Why is Mckinnon any more special than you?

    I don't think any condition should be a blanket ticket to break any laws without punishment.

    Why do you keep saying that? You are lying by assumption. I've already told you that Mckinnon is NOT using aspergers as a defense against punishment. He has confessed to the crime and has made absolutely no defense against being prosecuted for it in his home country. Quit making shit up don Quixote.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger