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MacKinnon Extradition Blocked By UK Home Secretary 258

RockDoctor writes "BBC radio news (2012-10-16 GMT 13:00) is reporting that the Home Secretary has blocked the extradition of Gary MacKinnon to the U.S. for (alleged) computer hacking crimes. Paraphrasing: the Director of Public Prosecutions is going to have to decide if there is sufficient evidence for him to be tried in the UK for crimes committed in (or from) the UK. " (Also at The Independent.)
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MacKinnon Extradition Blocked By UK Home Secretary

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  • by Local ID10T ( 790134 ) <> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:49AM (#41667733) Homepage

    Even a stopped clock gets it right twice a day.

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:51AM (#41667753)
    No one is saying he's innocent. The case is now going off to the DPP for appraisel. The issue is about using an extradition treaty designed to process terrorists for sending over people for other offences, especially when the sentence is FAR worse in the US than it would be in the UK. I don't think anyone, himself included thinks he's innocent, it's the process that's wrong.
  • Re:A pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:52AM (#41667757)

    So what exactly were his crimes? What damage did he cause? It's pretty much proven that he isn't a foreign agent and did not forward any information to other people.

  • USA - Average Joe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:53AM (#41667773)
    Does the US citizen - Average Joe (or above average) know or care about this?
    On a personal note, I'm shocked the government made a choice for a person over a corporation/lobby group/foreign power. First time In my life I think I've agreed with a home secretary?!?! must be getting old.
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:54AM (#41667785) Journal

    It's the right decision, finally, but for the worse reasons.

    Suicide risk?

    Well, that implies that you shouldn't extradite because aof suicide risk. What about murderers? What about holding "terrorist" suspects for 10 years without trial? Does that lead to a suicide risk? Should you simply not incarcerate people who are at risk of suicide?

    He never left the UK and if what he did was illegal here, then he should be tried herre.

    It is simply not right that one must know the laws of an artibray number of other countries even if you've never visited them. Secondly, the guy has a mental condition. He should be getting help (on the NHS no less) than this treatment.

    Finally, the authorities should have been ashamed into silence that their systems were insecure. Instead, they are simply lying about the damage done. If sensitive systems were that insecure, then that amount of fixing/upgrading/replacing was already required whether or not they successfully detected an intrusion.

    In other worde they are also lying about the damage.

    Still, good for McKinnon and a weak blow for justice. The right decision for the wrong reasons is better than the wrong decisions.

    Now all we need is to overturn this ludicrous, one-sided and outright unjust act before too many more lives are ruined.

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BenJury ( 977929 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:58AM (#41667815)
    If you've committed a crime in the UK then you should be tried in the UK. It should be as simple as that.
  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:01AM (#41667853)

    So what exactly were his crimes? What damage did he cause? It's pretty much proven that he isn't a foreign agent and did not forward any information to other people.

    We needed a boogy man to scare people with now that Kevin Mitnick isn't so scary. The modern witch hunt... some individuals must suffer for the amusement of the masses and control games of the elite. Our lapdogs in the UK are not cooperating. Bush probably would have already started bombing the UK in retaliation, but Obama will probably think of some other way to screw things up.

    Its amusing to strip away the internet BS in his case and come up with analogies to breaking into a public library and photocopying stuff from the restricted collection. Yeah, he's a crook, but so small time as to scarcely be worth looking at, getting the USA witch trial treatment is a wee bit excessive.

  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:03AM (#41667863)
    I very much doubt you are a UK citizen. Nobody other than Tony Blair, Mandelson and Alastair Campbell thought that treaty was a good idea; didn't John McCain say it was too one-sided?

    Blair would have handed over the UK to the US lock, stock and barrel in exchange for a word from Bush iii (and some lucrative "consultancy" from a US bank). And the others...while there are libel laws in the UK I can't trust myself to write about Campbell or Mandelson.

    Be carted off the the US without the US court having to show even prima facie evidence? There was a time and a place where foreign nationals could be extradited like that, but the time was prior to 1990 and the place was the satellite states of the Soviet Union.

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:04AM (#41667877)

    I'd agree if the idea he should be extradited to face the possible penalties he could face in America were in any way sane.

    When the Americans were putting forward such absurdly inflated figures for damage and recommending such absurd levels of punishment, then I don't really blame him for the excuse he used.

    It seems the only way to get sanity in the case was for them to bring their own extreme scenario into the equation, the Aspergers excuse did after all only enter the discussion after some years of them trying to just be reasonable and rational about things.

    So honestly, if you think it's silly that people can use this excuse to avoid extradition then fine, but if you think he also deserved to face extradition and upto 60 years in prison for what frankly, was little more than a bit of vandalism and arguably not even really that, then I think you need to get a bit of a grip on reality.

    Honestly, what he did was arguably more harmless than even getting a speeding ticket, at least speeding tickets are there to try and deter anyone driving in such a way they cause physical harm to someone else. All Gary's actions did was cause a bit of embarassment and result in a bit of their IT staff's time be spent sorting out the security issues they should've sorted out as part of their day to day employment so he couldn't have logged in to their systems using a blank password anyway.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:12AM (#41667975)
    His most heinous crime was to embarrass the US government and to show that the security on a lot of the defense computers was paper-thin to non-existent.

    On top of that, he demonstrated that it was simple, to the point of trivial to gain access to them and the information they contained. He was never going to be given a fair trial in the USA (as nobody who is extradited to the US ever gets - the cost of mounting a legal defence in the country makes that impossible) and was going to be part of a show trial to make an example of.

    The biggest tragedy in this whole sorry episode is that it went on for so long and the next biggest tragedy is that so many other people were extradited to the USA and became victims of it's imprisonment (I nearly said "justice") system.

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:12AM (#41667979) Homepage
    Given the timing I can't help but feel we gave them Abu Hamza and the other 4 'terror' suspects in return for them letting this go without a major fuss. That both your premise and mine both are based on the assumption that actual human rights and morality were largely irrelevant says something about our countries politics.
  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martinux ( 1742570 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:13AM (#41667983)

    As someone who has lived with a person suffering from a debilitating mental health issue I hope I'm not the first to say, "fuck you". Your opinion displays a lack of compassion for someone who was being disproportionately hounded by those who wanted to hide their own ineptitude by making him an example.

    Mr. McKinnon was formally diagnosed. Your perception that he's some pretender looking for an escape is grossly judgemental. He and his representatives have repeatedly asked for a trial on UK soil.

    I hope someone more objective and compassionate than you stands up for your rights if they're ever in peril.
    I don't have karma to burn, I don't need a shield to be a decent human being.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:18AM (#41668037) Journal

    Hacking into systems you don't have official access to is illegal in the UK just as much as it is in the US. So he didn't need to know the laws of another country to know that what he did was illegal.

    Yeah, buit it won't get you life in a PIMTA prison in the UK. Apparently you need to know enough about US law to know that breaking the law in the UK is a bad idea because you might be hauled overseas to a much nastier legal system.

    If you stand on the French-German border on the French side and I on the German side and I shoot you, wouldn't I have commited a crime in France (as well as in Germany, of course)?

    It simplifies things greatly that it's the same crime with the same penalties in both places more or less. Not the case here. And yeah sure. Why not try you in Germany? You were in Germany when you committed murder. Get tried there.

    He has Asperger's Syndrome. That doesn't stop him from knowing right from wrong or how laws work.

    How well do you know details of his mental condition?

    So if I break into your house because you have crappy locks it's not that bad?

    No, but if you try to claim the cost of upgrading the locks is because of me breaking in, then you'd be a liar, like the US government in this case.

    Also, the costs probably are not only about upgrading the security system but also analysing what data he accessed and whether he changed anything, copied any codes that need to be changed etc.

    Except that they needed to do that anyway. Once they found that their systems were insecure and on the public internet, they should have followed those procedures. In case someone muuch more competent, e.g. from a foreign power had been in as well but had hidden his tracks much better.

    If they'd been following any kind of reasonable position it would have cost exactly the same if a security consultant told them that their systems were insecure.

    That doesn't make what McKinnon did a not a crime, but it does make them a bunch of lying assholes.

  • Re:A pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:19AM (#41668039)

    Agreed. He is probably guilty, but he should be tried in the UK, for the crimes he committed THERE, not in the U.S. (where he's never even been).

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:26AM (#41668121) Homepage Journal

    I've always thought that someone should be prosecuted in England for alleged crimes allegedly committed in England. The US may be the alleged victim in this case but I don't see that it has any other role.

  • Re:I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#41668163) Journal

    Doubt away all you like pal. Not everyone in the UK is a bed wetting lefty sobbing over a Guardian editorial about criminals human rights.


    I really, truly hope you are not a UK citizen.

    Firstly, your comment about "snivelling" whatever, makes me sure that you are one of those who is capable of thinking about issues only interms of a team cheering us-versus them party political context, rather than trying to think and come to your own, reasoned, conclusion.

    People voting along your lines are basically what is wrong with democracy. Please, refrain from voting. You are personally respondible for making democracy the worst system (except all others).

    Frankly it's insane that you think that basic legal rights are a left-versus-right thing not a right versus wrong thing.

    You also seem to think that putting "criminal" in front of something automatically has some bearing. And if you think criminals shouldn't have rights, then why not have the death penalty for almost every crime? After all, who cares about criminal rights?

    The measure of a civilisation is not how it treates its conformists but how it treats its dissidents. (quote from someone famous...)

    I'd be willing to bet that you hate the European convention on human rights too.

  • Re:A pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#41668169)

    His defence wasn't "I have aspergers syndrome", it was "sorry, I cracked your system, looked around, did no damage, and then told you about it... I didn't realise it was a big deal because of aspergers."

    Frankly, his crime is akin to someone picking your locker door, and then going "look, you shouldn't store your wallet in here when you're swimming, it's not very secure". Sure, it's not a good thing to do, and sure it should get a slap on the wrist... But to turn this into the life imprisonment crime the US are making it out to be, and to extradite over it, is retarded.

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dintech ( 998802 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:36AM (#41668235)
    Even if he has exaggerated his health reasons for blocking extradition, don't you think the U.S. authorities have exaggerated the damage he did? They definitely have prior form, just look at how they stitched up Kevin Mitnick. Bear in mind he was a U.S. citizen with constitutional rights. Imagine what they'd do to a foreigner.

    60 years is way over the top and a sentence that U.S. judges would have been likely to hand down given his efforts to "evade justice" by delaying extradition for so long. It's about time the U.K. started protecting it's own citizens from over-zealous foreign interference. U.S. citizens would demand the same of their government.

    He committed a crime in the U.K., it's always where he should have been tried. He would have served his time and been a free man long ago.
  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:51AM (#41668383)

    And that he wasn't in the US when he commited a crime in the US is a weak argument too. If you stand on the French-German border on the French side and I on the German side and I shoot you, wouldn't I have commited a crime in France (as well as in Germany, of course)?

    This is absolutely fundamental to why this extradition cannot have been allowed to occur. He is not a spy, he didn't send the information he uncovered to anyone else, and he didn't cause any damage beyond identifying a weakness in security which shouldn't have existed in the first place. In the UK, under the provisions of the Computer Misuse Act, he'd get a maximum of 2 years in prison. In the US, he'd be tried as a terrorist and faced sixty years in federal prison.

    Let's take that to your France / Germany analogy above. You stand on the border and throw a stone at a policeman in France. In Germany, you're charged with assault and get probation. If extradited to France, you're charged with GBH and attempted murder and you spend the rest of your natural life in an 8 x 6 cage with a hairy-backed bear named Jim.

  • Re:A pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:56AM (#41668445) Homepage Journal

    I'm fed up of seeing people abuse provisions that are put in place to protect those with genuine medical/pschological needs and getting away with it.

    I've never met the man, have you? Odd how you can diagnose a person as "sane" with no medical background and never having met him. Personally, I tend to believe the medical professionals who actually studied medicine and who actally had face to face contact, rather than from some stupid newspaper reporter.

    TLDR: Why do you doubt the diagnosis of a health professional?

  • Re:I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @10:02AM (#41668479)
    Your use of "Pal" (an Americanism) and "bed wetting lefty" - a popular term with the American Right - goes rather to sustain my thesis. I'm prepared to believe that you have dual nationality, though, given some of the people they give citizenship to nowadays. Unfortunately
  • Re:A pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @10:31AM (#41668753)
    So now his sentence is solitary confinement for accessing a computer which had no security on it?
  • by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:13PM (#41670019)

    Simple sentence, community service and supervised internet access until he can prove he won't be acting like an ass again.

    Actually this is pretty much what he's asking for. He wants to be tried in the UK (as he was a UK citizen commiting the "crime" in the UK.) The authorities want to ship him to the US where he would face 60 years in jail, which is a ridiculous sentence for anyone.

  • Re:A pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:59PM (#41670745) Homepage

    I think that's how everyone sees it. Except for the Americans who want to impose their law everywhere.

    And the British politicians who agreed to an extremely one-sided extradition treaty with the US (and today, in parliament, a number of MPs defended the treaty as "fair").

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev