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America Versus the UFO Hacker 452

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 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:Aliens! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SplicerNYC ( 1782242 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:53PM (#32501934)
    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.
  • 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.

  • by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:02PM (#32502094)
    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.
  • 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 jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:06PM (#32502152) Homepage

    If I'd never heard of McKinnon, and someone told me the whole story start to finish, I'm pretty sure that I'd say "just try him in Britain--you're wasting more money extraditing him than the crime is worth."

    But all I've learned about MacKinnon I've learned from /., where an Aspie cracker is a demigod, and a Rorschach blot for the average /. reader to project all his lunatic fears of a fascist/socialist/totalitarian US gov't. It's like with Hans Reiser, who couldn't possibly be guilty, he's just misunderstood--right up to the point where Reiser led police to the body and said "that's where I dumped the ex-wife that I stabbed to death."

    So: Fry MacKinnon, just to hear the howls of outraged geeks everywhere who imagine that they're a persecuted minority.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:31PM (#32502514)
    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:Political payback (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:33PM (#32502548) Journal

    It's justice for a nutter pretending the law doesn't apply to him.

  • Dig deeper (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:05PM (#32502944)

    The act of holding a person against their will (prison) requires violence or threat thereof, by definition. It is an act of coercion, and coercion is only justified in defense of coercion. When the criminal has committed no violence himself, then a punishment of prison is automatically worse than the crime, and government becomes the greater criminal.

    The proper punishment in this case is restitution, not violence. Terms of restitution should be decided according to the severity of the crime. But again, under a moral and just system of law, a non-violent crime does not justify a punishment of violence.

  • Re:Aliens! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:01AM (#32506234)

    The costs of 800k is the trumped up part. Suggesting that he caused 800k worth of damage is silly. The 800k is what it cost them to secure their network. They realized their network wasn't secure as a result of his breach but he did not MAKE their network insecure. They *should* have had to pay that 800k all along, but blame him for ruining their happy ignorance of needed security measures.

    It's silly.

    Aspergers, Depression and everything else are note excuses for illegal behavior. These things did not prevent him from knowing better. That said, the punishment should fit the crime. The crime was mostly harmless. His "real" crime is simply embarrassing the government and for that they want to make an example out of him.

    So while I can see the side that says "he's guilty he should pay" and agree, I'm also keenly aware that the price that the US government wants him to pay will almost certainly far exceed the magnitude of his crime. With that in mind, it's far better that a disinterested 3rd party (like the UK) try the case and punish him. After all, if the US government is both victim and prosecutor, isn't that sort of a conflict of interests?

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