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BBC Profiles Extradited Cracker Gary McKinnon

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the well-he-is-pale dept.

Security 315

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has published a very good profile of Gary McKinnon. It discusses his motives and methods as well as raising the question as to whether he is a malicious 'hacker' or whether he was simply obsessed with finding info about UFOs and should be praised for finding security faults in what should be extremely secure systems. This should provided stimulus for some interesting discussion on Slashdot especially between us Brits and our American friends following the confirmation of his extradition to the USA."

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315 comments

Speaking of crackers... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791309)

The common African Nigger(niggeris vulgaris) is a humanoid species which is known for its gorilla-like appearence and its distinctive languages and aromas.

They were integrated into American society in the late 1950's/early 1960's and have since evolved into a complex, symbiotic existence with the more evolved homo sapiens species. niggeris specimens do, however, posess attributes which may be deemed as being superior to those of sapiens; and these include superhuman, retard-like strength. Famed football coach Jimmy the Greek [cnn.com] once famously noted that,

"...blacks were bred for strength and speed from slave days, that if blacks took over coaching positions, there would be nothing left for whites, and that blacks have a physical advantage over whites because of their thigh size."

niggeris vulgaris are known also for their larger-than-average penis size and bellicose demeanor which ensures their beating out the competition for survival. This is all too evident as shown by the high incidence of other species' females increasingly leaving their own color and choosing male mates belonging to the niggeris vulgaris species because of the genetic "advantages" of having partially niggeris offspring.

The niggeris vulgaris species' distinctive vocalization may somewhat mimic that of American English; for example, the rhyming "Fo-Sho" (translated: "for sure")is an indicator of agreement but also showcases niggeris vulgaris' tendency to speak in rhyme whenever possible. A good example of the aforementioned phenomenon is the most recent all-niggeris Pizza Hut commercial which depicts a family of niggeris half-speaking, half-singing a collaborative, call-and-response poem in preparation of a feast.

The diet of niggeris vulgaris includes a wide variety of fruits(watermelon), vegetables(fried cabbage and collard greens), meat(fried chicken, chitterlings), and grains.

Re:Speaking of crackers... (4, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791363)

Anybody else ever wonder if this is the same guy repeating this over and over again, or if there are really that many assholes that read /. ?

Nobody really gives a shit (I didn't really even read the above post), I just find it kind of curious.

Are you the same dude that posts to EVERY article, or is there a whole "underground movement"?

Re:Speaking of crackers... (1)

Bluraven (1123235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791525)

Well, I can say kudos to /. for doing a good job of hiding this crap! When I first came to the page I didn't even see it! I wondered what the hell you were talking about! lol

Re:Speaking of crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791703)

Of course it's the same guy, he trolls all sorts of shit on /. and his name is Anonymous Coward, err wait....

Re:Speaking of crackers... (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791919)

Probably some kid that tries to get some attention, and thinks that he will get it, but by posting as an AC he won't ever get the infamous OMG Ponies styling of /. which I think is rather cute!

Just ignore him - he'll get tired of it or end up as cannon fodder somewhere.

Should he be praised (5, Interesting)

Scr3wFace (1200541) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791323)

There is a very big difference between finding security faults, and exploiting them!

Re:Should he be praised (5, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791437)

There is also a huge difference between the intent and the application of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US - AFAIK the US still hasn't ratified that treaty, so it's fine for US courts to extradite British citizens, but not vice-versa.

The intent of the extradition treaty was to deal with serious organised crime and terrorism cases.

McKinnon comes under neither heading, nor did the NatWest employees extradited for shenanigans over Enron.

Britain should drop this treaty immediately, and refuse any extradition request other than for terrorist crimes.

Please, America, take Abu Hamza and his friends, but a guy that has Aspergers, believes in UFOs?

He's our eccentric, so if he's due a trial we'll do it here.

Re:Should he be praised (5, Insightful)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791547)

Britain should drop this treaty immediately, and refuse any extradition request other than for terrorist crimes.

Even at that, they'd just mention he "hacked" military computers and that is terrorism. Nearly everything is these days.

Re:Should he be praised (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791585)

Everything is terrrrrism if it gives our governments an excuse for doing something that would otherwise be considered unthinkable.

Re:Should he be praised (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791595)

If you read the linked-to article (the last one), you'll see this:

The authorities have warned that without his co-operation and a guilty plea the case could be treated as terrorism and he could face a long jail sentence.

They're already threatening to treat it as terrorism.

Re:Should he be praised (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791587)

Especially terrorists should not be extradited to the US, because the US has a record of grave human rights violations against suspected terrorists and has been convicted of torturing prisoners.

Re:Should he be praised (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792035)

It's very likely there'll be some fall out regarding the recent House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Human Rights Annual Report [parliament.uk] . To quote:

"We conclude that, given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the Government does not rely on such assurances in the future."

This means that for terrorism crimes, it's very likely that extradition requests to the U.S. will have to be denied, since the U.S. carries out activities that the U.K. considers torture. And a "no-torture" guarantee is worthless, since the U.S. doesn't consider the acts as torture in the first place. At a minimum, expect this issue to be brought up in legal challenges to extradition.

Re:Should he be praised (5, Funny)

phantomflanflinger (832614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791609)

Dat McKinnon dude should be damn grateful he a cracker, cuz if he were a brother his ass'd be straight to Gitmo bay.

Re:Should he be praised (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791659)

The treaty is contained in this act.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extradition_Act_2003

The UK has handed over terorists, hackers and fraudsters, yet the US is yet to do the same, Even with known PIRA terrorists.

Re:Should he be praised (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791697)

>Even with known PIRA terrorists
But they're not terrorists, they're just good citizens fighting the oppressors. Oh, hang on, that's what all the other ones say they are too. Hmm...

Re:Should he be praised (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791851)

It's much like the Lend/Lease agreement of WWII. (The British lent equipment to the US, and the US leased equipment to the British. I believe the UK finally had paid off the debts in the late 90's)

Re:Should he be praised (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791935)

What the US want is to scare everybody off regardless of possible intent or not.

Today stupidity is criminal unless you are a president or vice president of the US.

But the real problem is that true terrorists are keeping themselves under the radar and will strike unexpectedly.

Just waiting for the next event...

Re:Should he be praised (2)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791967)

On 30 September 2006 the US Senate unanimously ratified the treaty.source [wikipedia.org]

Of course, I would like to see the UK extradite a U.S. business man (Ian Norris, Morgan Crucible), or even an internet pirate (Hew Raymond Griffiths, DrinkOrDie). I imagine many people would claim such a thing to be unconstitutional - the alternative, that any crime committed in a globalised post-internet world can be prosecuted by any extradition treaty nation, regardless of the laws of the nation in which the defendant actually resides.

Re:Should he be praised (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791759)

There is also a very big difference between noticing the fault, stepping the hell away from the keyboard and thinking long and hard about how best to inform the relevant people (if at all in these ultra-paranoid, litigation-happy times), and exploiting the fault to poke around and see what information you can find.

I in no way condone the extradition or the heavy-handed way in which the US authorities appear to be conducting things, but no, he should not be praised.

Crackers, Hackers, and Slackers (0)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791341)

Ok, I understand the whole "being a hacker isn't a bad thing" line, but really... CRACKER. Am I the only one that thinks this is kind of dumb?

I mean really ... WTF? To 95% of the population, being a hacker is a bad thing. How about we give it up already and just forego the use of the term hacker meaning good computer nerd?

I like white/black/gray hat myself.

I propose... (4, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791391)

That the term "hacker" be henceforth replaced by the term "fucker".

Yes, it may still lead to unforeseen consequences for the fucker when laymen (and women) star using the term without proper understanding of it, but isn't that exactly what the fucker community really needs?

Re:I propose... (4, Funny)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791413)

Well, at least that way we could actually say... "I'm one of the best fuckers on the planet" and it would be true.

Screw black/white/gray, I like it!

Re:Crackers, Hackers, and Slackers (5, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791615)

How about we give it up already and just forego the use of the term hacker meaning good computer nerd?

I've been arguing that for years, especially as in my experience in the UK, a hack most certainly is not a clever piece of code; the image presented is of someone making a mess of it, much like hacking through the undergrowth with a machete.

Besides which, you should attempt to target your language at the intended audience, and on a site like BBC News that most certainly is not the 5% of the population who know about the other use of the word.

Re:Crackers, Hackers, and Slackers (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791813)

How about we give it up already and just forego the use of the term hacker meaning good computer nerd?

In a post criticizing language use, you should really forgo using the word "forego". It means "precede".

Re:Crackers, Hackers, and Slackers (2, Insightful)

macbutch (827717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792127)

In a post criticizing language use, you should really forgo using the word "forego". It means "precede".

Actually 'forego' is an acceptable alternate spelling of 'forgo' (though you're right that forego also can be used to mean 'precede').

I guess, that what we can learn from this is that if you are going to write a post criticising a post criticising language you should check a dictionary first.

He stole brains? Over the interweb? (3, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791347)

He stole brains of the military, FBI staff and even of the President of the US? Over the interweb? By deleting files?

Prosecutors say he altered and deleted files at a naval air station not long after the 11 September attacks in 2001, rendering critical systems inoperable.

My,my. Isn't that something?

Re:He stole brains? Over the interweb? (4, Funny)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791611)

So what you're saying is...

Zombie cracker attacks US, in a post 9-11 world!

If that's not fear-inducing, I don't know what is.

Re:He stole brains? Over the interweb? (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791951)

It's more that it indicates to us all that the security of the computer systems in many places are way too weak.

If they had sufficient security measures they would just have recognized that there was an attempt in just the same mood that we recognize that it rains. "OK, it rains, time to close the windows."

And if a defense organization is cracked, what does this tell us about how easy it is to crack commercial systems? Some hobbyists probably have better security!

Witch burning (2, Informative)

antivoid (751399) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791351)

His extradition is typical of people trying to dispose of what they do not understand or feel threatened by similar to the witch burning of ages ago. I wouldn't call him out as having been "sloppy leaving clues" as this is typically what happens when you feel like you are justified in what you are doing. It's sad you should get guilted by friends to stop something you clearly enjoy and are good at because of silly society rules :/

Re:Witch burning (1)

Kaell Meynn (1209080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791733)

Yeah, why can't I just eat babies like I want to? I'm GOOD at it, and boy are they YUMMY! Silly society rules. :\

BBC Confirms It (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791367)

The UK, as a seperate entity from the US, no longer exists.

If US laws can be enforced on British soil, but not vice-versa, then the UK is a defacto part of the US. But here's the clinching shit in your mouth: with no representation. What's the point of a government, if the laws they pass mean nothing?

Re:BBC Confirms It (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791397)

Well, that's obviously way off base because I'm sure the extradition treaty goes both ways, but you should read "light of other days" by Clarke and Baxter. In it, the UK becomes the 51st (or maybe it was 52nd) state of the USA... after getting into a war with Scottland over water and having the royal family move to Australia. Implausible, but not so ridiculous as to be beyond imagination.

I'd whole heartedly welcome the UK as our 51st state. You want in? :)

Re:BBC Confirms It (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791465)

Well, that's obviously way off base because I'm sure the extradition treaty goes both ways

You would think so, wouldn't you? Apparently American citizens have something called 'rights', which means they cannot be extradited without the evidence against them being put before an American court. So Congress have not ratified the treaty. It only goes one way: we bend over, and get no reach-around.

The BBC confirms it : (5, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791555)

Nobody intimidates the US government..

Our TWO main powers are extradition, rendition and prohibition.

Re:The BBC confirms it : (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791765)

Nobody intimidates the US government.

Our main power is extradition. Extradition and rendition..

Our two main powers are extradition, rendition and prohibition..

Our three main powers are extradition, rendition and prohibition.. and an almost fanatical loyalty to 'the flag'..

Among our many powers are such diverse elements as extradition, rendition, prohibition and an almost fanatical loyalty to 'the flag' and bombing people who try to stop us... ...I'll come in again

Re:BBC Confirms It (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791735)

Maybe it's because you're worse off in the US than in the UK when it comes to prisons.
The US just wants criminals to be punished as much as possible, and the UK punishments are just not hard enough.

Re:BBC Confirms It (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791769)

You mean the US system protects its citizens better than the UK one does?

Maybe that Paine chap was on to something after all.

Re:BBC Confirms It (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791533)

because I'm sure the extradition treaty goes both ways

This gets discussed [slashdot.org] every time this story comes up: no it doesn't go both ways. The UK has asked for the extradition of people from the US on charges of murder and have been refused. When it's the other way around, but is just some nutter that guessed the Pentagon's admin passwords were password or some stupidity, the Brit is passed straight over. Also the actual treaty itself is one-sided [slashdot.org] : the US doesn't have to provide proof to have someone extradited, but the UK does. The treaty is not constitutional in either country.

I'd whole heartedly welcome the UK as our 51st state. You want in? :)

Am assuming this is a rhetorical question. Anyway, I don't have anything the average American, it's just the UK and US governments actions make my blood boil, as a Slashdot reader I can see I'm not alone. :)

Re:BBC Confirms It (2, Funny)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791731)

> The treaty is not constitutional in either country.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the UK didn't have a constitution?

Re:BBC Confirms It (2, Informative)

DevonBorn (975502) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791827)

As I understand it (I ought to know - I'm British - but you know how it is...) We do have a constitution it's just not a fancy all in one document like yours (if you're from the US/Canada/Australia etc...). Ours is all written down but it's spread all over the place and new bits have been added in different places from time to time since Magna Carta so it's a bit trickier to find stuff. You would probably have to read most of the Acts of Parliament to work out exactly what it says.
Of course this could be all wrong - like most legal stuff it's (unfortunately) best to ask a lawyer.

Re:BBC Confirms It (1)

godfra (839112) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792025)

If the UK did become the 51st state, would we not have protection as US citizens?

Re:BBC Confirms It (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791617)

It would be part of the US if laws could be enforced mutually. Being unilateral, it means nothing less than being a colony. When your laws trump local laws without the ones being overruled having any way to appeal, it fits quite neatly.

Isn't that ironic?

Re:BBC Confirms It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791691)

Yeah, I really do think.

Re:BBC Confirms It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791873)

You can be extradited if you are charged with a crime.

Remember the Lockerbie bombers ? extradited to Scotland and tried and imprisoned there, how is this different ?
If we start excusing people on the grounds of them being complete idiots, then most master criminals/terrorists will start dumbing up and claiming they have assburgers.

Re:BBC Confirms It (2, Interesting)

stiggle (649614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792049)

They weren't in America when they were extradited, they were in Libya. The USA won't even send people over to give evidence (even remotely via CCTV) to a coroners inquest. Thats how screwed up and unbalanced the system is. Also don't forget that no matter where you are, you are subject to US law - the USA says so.

A disgrace (5, Insightful)

iworm (132527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791389)

Gary McKinnon was foolish. Yet he now faces up to 70 years in jail.

What angers me even more than the absurd penalties threatened by the US courts? The supine, wimpering acquiesence of the UK governmnt who will extradite one of its own citizens without evidence being required, yet demands no such reciprocal agreement with the US.

Mr McKinnon should burn his British passport and go away from the UK to some country which still cares for its citizens.

Re:A disgrace (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791431)

You mean a place that locks you up for life if you wrong a citizen? Or how about a place that demands foreigners be extradited from their distant homes, and pay dearly for their crimes? Sounds like he's got a free ticket to paradise.

Re:A disgrace (5, Informative)

langenaam (610135) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791455)

Hear, hear. I find it a disgrace that countries like UK and my own country (Netherlands) extradite their own citizens to a country with cowboy-law. The US will not extradite their own citizens; they have even promised to invade countries that hold american citizens (International Court of Justice).

Re:A disgrace (0, Flamebait)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791655)

That's funny, and I always thought the International Court of Justice was a part of the UN, and based in the Netherlands! Also, didn't the United States withdraw from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986, meaning they can't even use it except on a case-to-case basis?

Re:A disgrace (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791493)

your mentioning of the burning of passports has raised a question with me: can you become a citizen of no country at all?

Re:A disgrace (2, Informative)

DaBookshah (1234170) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791527)

You can, it's called "stateless". But then you are, essentially, completely screwed. It almost happened to someone I know. I gather you just have to "fall through the cracks" so to speak, and then you're not considered by ANY country to have any right to live there.

Re:A disgrace (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791619)

Apparently it is possible to apply to the UN for a laissez-passer if you are stateless. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laissez-passer [wikipedia.org]

Re:A disgrace (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791803)

Yeah, but that's worthless. For immigration purposes the value if citizenship is in the treaties that your government has signed. E.g. if you're from Europe or the US you can visa free access to most countries and it's relatively easy to become a resident. If you're a citizen of China or Zimbabwe neither is true.

My guess is that a UN Laissez Passer is worth even less than citizenship of a non well connected country.

Re:A disgrace (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791925)

Ironically if he were a citizen of China or Zimbabwe he would not about to be extradited! Presumably there is no extradition treaty for someone on a laissez-passer so for Mr McKinnon there is probably nothing helpful in being a citizen of most western countries.

Re:A disgrace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791789)

yes.

You wouldn't like it.

Beaurocrats don't know what to do with you, and don't want to get in trouble for letting you do bad things (in case you might). Then they realise that they can't get in trouble for jailing you.

So you end up in immigration detention, or in some countries just a beggar who gets spat upon.

Re:A disgrace to common sense, and EU law (3, Interesting)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791569)

UK should rather become a state of the US and should leave the EU for good. It seems to me that the UK takes '1984' as a guidebook for their plans.

Re:A disgrace (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791625)

The hacker, in this case is harmless. Much more dangerous are the people pursuing this little freak instead of focusing on the bad and stupid guys, like the ones who configured those secure(sic)machines he tapped into from another contry!

Re:A disgrace (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791715)

McKinnon shouldn't bother moving to Canada...at least not for a few more months. Our Prime Minister has his nose so far up Bush's ass he knows what Bush is eating for breakfast.

I think we need to hold an international "Throw Out The Fascists Day". It would be celebrated whenever some democratic country comes to its senses and votes the bastards out of office in favour of somebody who remembers what civil liberties are, and why they're more important than security.

Easy (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791579)

``or [...] should be praised for finding security faults in what should be extremely secure systems.''

That one is really easy. Finding said security flaws is an accomplishment, but that isn't the issue here. The issue is what you do once you find them. You get praise for actions that lead to improved security (reporting them to the vendor, fixing them, reporting them to users, etc.). You get condemnation for exploiting them for selfish goals. Same as always: do something for the common good? Praise on you. Screw someone over for your own advantage? Damnation on you.

Positively Human, Relatively Insane (3, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791581)

"It wasn't just an interest in little green men and flying saucers," said Mr McKinnon. "I believe that there are spacecraft, or there have been craft, flying around that the public doesn't know about." Mr McKinnon further explained that he believes the US military has reverse engineered an anti-gravity propulsion system from recovered alien spacecraft, and that this propulsion system is being kept a secret. In that sense, Mr McKinnon said he sees his own hacking as "humanitarian." He said he only wanted to find evidence of a UFO cover-up and expose it. He called the alleged anti-gravity propulsion system "extra-terrestrial technology we should have access to".

With that type of excuse, one could get away with almost anything short of violently assaulting people in public, don't you think?

I love the Intelligence service! (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791583)

According to the referenced wikipedia article,

NASA's documents consisted of printed news articles from the Slashdot website, but no other related documents.

On a heavier note. I seem to remember when the New Zealand SIS (so secret that I only know about them because they had an office below my lawyers...tinted window, blinking lights, NZ SIS signage, you get the idea.) revealed their super secret documents on Ahmed Zaoui [wikipedia.org] , they were largely comprised of newspaper clippings. Tinfiol hats on people, we are being watched. I propose either the deletion of /., or the replacement of us all with bots endlessly spouting memes.
Either way, we are all in the BlackVault [theblackvault.com] now.

Re:I love the Intelligence service! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791773)

or the replacement of us all with bots endlessly spouting memes.

Shhh... nobody tell hum that the rollout is almost complete, and that his is the last real account left...

Re:I love the Intelligence service! (2, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791891)

I propose either the deletion of /., or the replacement of us all with bots endlessly spouting memes.

I'm a meme spouting bot, you insensitive clod!

Too large to download? (5, Insightful)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791593)

From TFA:

As for his quest to find evidence of a UFO cover-up, Mr McKinnon has said that he found some circumstantial evidence online to back his claims, including what he said are photos with what he speculated were alien spacecraft airbrushed out of the picture. He said the photos in question were too large to download to his own computer.

So he somehow managed to SEE the photos (without any alien spacecraft on them, BTW), but wasn't able to download them? Am I the only one to whom this doesn't make sense?

Re:Too large to download? (2, Insightful)

Kaell Meynn (1209080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791829)

Yeah, this sounded like a lie to me. If he knows about computers enough he's doing contract work, and is able to hack into government computers (even if just using script-kiddie tools), he really should know that this is complete BS.

The one thing he's been working for a huge part of his life to prove, that the US is hiding aliens, is sitting right there in front of him (in his deluded mind where a lack of the thing proves the thing somehow), and he doesn't even take a screen-shot?

I call BS.

Re:Too large to download? (1)

shtrom (1251560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791879)

If he saw the photos, then he could download them. In fact, his computer had already downloaded the data _before_ he could see anything.

That would at least be the thumbnail that he saw. But definitely something he could keep.

Re:Too large to download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791943)

From what I remember didn't he remote desktop onto these machines? If so then the images wouldn't be downloaded locally.

That said, you can't tell you wouldn't be taking screenshots!

the whole story... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791601)

...is something you don't have.

1. Saying he was "just" obsessed with finding about UFOs is a thinly veiled attempt at making an unnecessary end justify the means. If you or your buddies have found a UFO, good for you, but information does not "want" to be anthropomorphised, and you can't just raid other people's stuff to satisfy your curiosity.

2. It's unlikely anyway. I've mixed in UFO/remote viewing circles thanks to a few obsessive buddies, and while "the government's hiding something" seems to be standard rhetoric, the hobby is empty of people carefully planning cracking raids to get it. It would be counter-productive to make enemies of the people you want to be more open.

The at-all-costs nutjob does not have the clarity of thought to do what McKinnon did, though congratulations for building the foundations for a failed insanity/naivete defence. Why don't you just give him blonde pigtails and a lollypop and tell him to say "oh wittle me, no Sir I had no idea that sweetie wasn't mine".

3. It's probable that he did something that neither side want to put out in the open.

4. But there's more than enough evidence for an extradition among merely what both sides agree happened.

5. No, "hackers", finding breakable security and breaking it is not a pastime that justifies itself. When you're happy not reacting to my regularly cutting the windows and defeating the locks of you and your most vulnerable family member so I can leaving a note saying "I just wanted to see what you look like - and show you how easy it is so you can stop me from doing it again" then at least you'll be consistent.

Everyone's personal security and privacy can be defeated eventually, including yours, and there's always someone smarter than you who can defeat it. If it hasn't happened to you already, it's not because you're an impenetrable leet haxor, it's because you're inconsequential. And if you ever become otherwise, good luck on that "Thanks for the help and implicit security advice! Look forward to more of your work" note you'll have to write to your intruder.

Re:the whole story... (3, Informative)

iworm (132527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792009)

"But there's more than enough evidence for an extradition..."

How do you know? The US courts have presented none, and the UK government has demanded none. Yet off to the US he will be sent.

One of the cornerstones of justice in developed countries has, until recently, been the concept of evidence being required, and to be presented in open court. However that concept seems to be falling out of fashion, to be replaced with a new idea of: "Fuck you. You're guilty. 'Cos we say so."

Blame Blair! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791645)

Unfortunately, our former PM, the worlds worst negotiator, Tony Blair went and signed a bilateral extradition treaty with the US (the one which removes the burden of providing any evidence before extraditing) When the US refused to sign their copy of the treaty he just let it ride.

Thanks Tony, bang up job.

Damage or clean up bill ? (3, Interesting)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791787)

I think his best chance of defense rests on whether or not this claim is true...

It says his hacking caused some $700,000 dollars damage to government systems.

What's more, they allege that Mr McKinnon altered and deleted files at a US Naval Air Station not long after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and that the attack rendered critical systems inoperable.

The US government also says Mr McKinnon once took down an entire network of 2,000 US Army computers. His goal, they claim, was to access classified information.

Only he knows if this is fact or fiction. If true (and they can prove it) then he's sunk and deserves everything he gets. But if it's not true then the chances are the US Govt are trying to blame him for the (supposed) $700,000 cost of securing systems that should have been tighter than a duck's back-side in the first place.

How much of this is truth, and how much is it a "cover your ass" exercise by the US Military to distract from their own incompetance?

or justified prosecution? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791939)

Whatever else he did, he knowingly accessed restricted computers whilst America was in a state of war. For that alone he is at risk of going down.

Nutjob he may be, probably is in fact, but a nutjob who chose the wrong time and place to take his paranoid delusions out for a stroll on the internet.

So what if their systems have crap security? Does that mean he had a right to access them? Nope.

Sure it was a hell of a wake up call for the US, that a crank could hack them so easily, but this does not excuse the crank who did it.

I know how to 'hack' into networks, but I wouldn't do it, because people who do go to jail. Its that simple. If you can't accept that basic fact and you go around breaking into computers, then you deserve everything you get.

Re:or justified prosecution? (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792037)

Whatever else he did, he knowingly accessed restricted computers whilst America was in a state of war.

      Against who, again?

      Oh yeah, yeah... war against a concept. Forgot. Tell me when you "win".

https://thepiratebay.org/tor/3231674 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791797)

https://thepiratebay.org/tor/3231674

we already know he's a white guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24791845)

but remember he's also a dangerous hacker!

-n3td3v

My Gosh (1)

ebonum (830686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791933)

The US Military's computer systems were bought to its knees by a bloody hairdresser?

Honestly, I think this is a sign that anyone with any shred of dignity left should simply bid the US a fair farewell and migrate to Canada or England or any other nice, not so completely inept country.

Re:My Gosh (2, Funny)

iworm (132527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792027)

England? That's from where Mr McKinnon is about to be deported. Great choice.

Re:My Gosh (1)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792115)

Honestly, I think this is a sign that anyone with any shred of dignity left should simply bid the US a fair farewell and migrate to Canada or England or any other nice, not so completely inept country.

Been there, done that. National pride/dignity/whatever played no role whatsoever.

somehow, stuff like this allows us to ignore (2, Informative)

zuki (845560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791947)

.... the 800-pound gorilla in the room. i.e.: the types of intrusions and attacks that seem to be committed on a daily basis by what appears to be government-sanctioned Chinese hacker groups.

But in truth, I find it remarkable that the US government is not owning up to the fact that it also seems to be running what amounts to basically insecure systems on much of its IT infrastructure.

This dude may have been a crackpot, but somehow these antics are only performed for the sake of overreaction, when the blame should also be squarely shared by those who administer these networks.

As a US taxpayer, I find this last part infinitely scarier... especially because all of this saber-rattling is not likely to remedy the conditions that made it possible to do this in the first place. A recent security audit of US Gov networks gave them an 'F' if I remember (could be wrong)

Z.

Terrible Mugshot (1)

bencollier (1156337) | more than 5 years ago | (#24791995)

The worst thing Gary McKinnon has going for him is that photo that's shown alongside every article that mentions him. I couldn't imagine a better caricature of a 'malevolent hacker' if I tried.

hacking .. ? (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792013)

How is accessing passwordless machines 'hacking'?

"There were hackers from Denmark, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Thailand ... Every night [eweek.com] ."

'I'd instant-message them, using WordPad, with a bit of a political diatribe. You know, I'd leave a message on their desktop [rense.com] that read, 'Secret government is blah blah blah."'

Extradition not the main point (1)

bongomanaic (755112) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792055)

The asymmetric extradition arrangements are of course wrong, but what he is alleged to have done is a crime in the UK too, and even if the extradition arrangements were fairer he would probably have ended up on a plane to the USA eventually. The injustice in this case is more to do with the behaviour of the US authorities -- they attempted to coerce him into giving up his legal rights in the UK to fight extradition by threatening him with the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. That's wrong regardless of the deficiencies of the extradition process.

he broke the law (2, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24792135)

Should he have been prosecuted? Yes.

Should he have been extradited? No.

He should have been prosecuted in Britain. It's not like what he did *isn't* illegal there.

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