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UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Cracker Gary McKinnon

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the speedy-legal-system dept.

The Courts 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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At Risk of Suicide (4, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585599)

I suppose we're all at risk of "suicide", if we piss off the wrong people ....

Re:At Risk of Suicide (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585739)

Case in point, Mike Connell.

Re:At Risk of Suicide (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586281)

Another issue is - where was the crime committed?

Isn't that the case of the legal authorities where the crime was committed?

where was the crime committed (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:where was the crime committed (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587685)

I try to use non-technical analogies to explore my thoughts about acting in one country to cause damage in another. Consider someone in country 'A' mails a bomb to country 'B' where it detonates and causes damage whilst killing several people. Should country 'A' allow the citizen to be extradited to country 'B'.

I think usually yes, and that most people would agree particularly if A and B are both western nations as in the McKinnon case.

But what about if the crime is 'virtual' and causes comprable damage? I argue there is no distinction and that the same extradition rules should apply. In both cases a person has acted in one country, purposefully sending something to another in order to create an effect there which causes serious damage.

Of course, the analogy breaks down with the McKinnon case. However they like to spin it he did not to much damage, didn't hurt anyone and doesn't appear to have done it for financial gain or to specifically cause damage. It is bizzarre that the US is even pushing for extradition. They should certainly take an interest in his case, perhaps even testifying in his trial which should absolutely without any room for negotiation be taking place in THE UK.

Re:where was the crime committed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587801)

A UK law has been broken (the Computer Misuse Act). The US can't apply for extradition otherwise. He has even admitted breaking it, in writing.

One problem is that (arguably) it was broken *in the UK*, so it would seem more natural to try him under UK law. And that's another of his lines of attack - trying to persuade UK prosecutors to charge him.

Another problem is the extreme difference in sentencing. A crime that attracts a 3-4 year sentence in the UK could result in him being in a US prison for 70 years (in conditions that many UK citizens would not think appropriate for a first-world prison). Hence the argument that it would endanger his health to extradite him.

Another problem is the unjust extradition agreement between the UK and the US, which has been covered elsewhere.

Cracker Gary McKinnon (5, Funny)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585611)

"UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Caucasian Gary McKinnon" would be a less offensive headline.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (3, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585715)

And you'd never see a headline like "UK Judge Grants Extradition Review to Nigger Gary McKinnon".

There's no call to use racial bigotry here.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585859)

Wooooosh

I had to do it or someone else would have.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585871)

Did you guys invent a new word while I was away?

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26586565)

shoohw

that's a whoosh in reverse

or cobbler practice

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588071)

Of course you wouldn't. He's a cracker, not a nigger.

You dumb Jew.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585767)

Well they would've said "Hacker Gary McKinnon", but he's white 24/7 and it was technically more accurate. so.. they kind of had their hands tied.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26586357)

"UK Judge Grants Extradition Review To Caucasian Gary McKinnon" would be a less offensive headline.

He's a part of Straight Cracker Association of the UK you insensitive clod!

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586847)

Whereas "Limey old fart gently parts his winking sphincter as he jacks off to some legal shit about some cunt who penetrated the NSA's waiting ass" would be a far more offensive one.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon - you know f***ing nothin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587257)

He's Scottish and it's the English courts deciding this

The English Courts have let English Police shoot a Scots man with no repurcussions in the past. The guy had comitted no crime, he was walking home and the anti-terrorist boys shot him with no challenge and got it whitewashed.

So don't come it.

The establishment works for the establishment.

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon - you know f***ing nothin (1)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587743)

Isn't there a bounty on Scotsmen?

Re:Cracker Gary McKinnon - you know f***ing nothin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26595415)

Since hackers should be shot anyway, then there's no real problem then.

Asperger's syndrome (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585629)

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

Re:Asperger's syndrome (2, Insightful)

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

Re:Asperger's syndrome (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585845)

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.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26585907)

Your POINTS are GOOD enough that YOU DON'T have to CAPITALIZE random WORDS.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26585923)

You have responded in the true spirit of a politician, completely ignoring the topic raised by the GP and instead saying what you want to say ;-). But let's analyse what you have to say. There are several possibilities, none of which you cover:
1. These servers were honeypots with nothing important on them- one never admits to a honeypot;
2. He did something less trivial to get into some machines that the US does not want to reveal;
3. He is involved in malicious action that the US does not want to reveal;
4. The specific purpose of this case is so someone can highlight security problems, and they think the best way of doing it is by illustrating how much this process costs;
5. There's someone charged with making random examples of people to keep the good citizens panicking about the threat of evil hackers.

I'd hedge my bets beginning with (1), with some of the rest following. Security was intentionally weak.

Never underestimate the ability of a government to make you think that it is involved in supah-top-secret-important-shit that, for you're own good, you're not allowed to know about. They're just another bunch of humans with unenlightened self-interest who are bathing in the luxury of high budget and low accountability, and while enough money and time will eventually get you producing interesting stuff, it's rarely anything that wouldn't have been more productively developed in openness and cooperation.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586587)

And what is that old saying "Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity?". I have a few buddies that are ex military IT guys and the stories they have told me if the total bureaucratic BS and security theater instead of actual security is frankly scary. Like one who told me how many machines had stupid "default password" style crap leaving security holes the size of the grand canyon and yet at the same time they would break his app every week on the dot, just like clockwork. Why? Because it had an open port.

It didn't matter that the open port would only accept input from a single application and it was on a seriously locked down and hardened Linux server, nope they would kill that damned port every single week and he would then get to spend a couple of hours arguing with the network guy to get it turned back on, only to have it happen again next week. So please don't kid yourself that this was some super secret government "honeypot" that was set up to catch evil doers. From what I was told from my buddies that were military many of their networks are just a giant clusterfuxk, with way too many PHBs and BOFHs and way too little actual sensible security policies in place. I bet if you picked a military base at random and did a security audit on all the base computers it would probably turn your hair white. But until I see some proof to the contrary I'm going to have to figure it is like my military buddies favorite description of military IT- SNAFU. Situation Normal-All Fucked Up.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586995)

1. These servers were honeypots with nothing important on them- one never admits to a honeypot;

To not reveal that the systems hacked were honeypots would be an extreme violation of the justice system, especially in the US, were the severity of the crime is based on financial harm. If they are honeypots, the prosecution is in fact committing a far more serious crime by not revealing this, (and beyond that, claiming financial damage when there was none) than he did by hacking into military networks.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

Lord Flipper (627481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596675)

Never underestimate the ability of a government to make you think that it is involved in supah-top-secret-important-shit that, for you're own good, you're not allowed to know about.

Having worked on some projects related to electronic warfare, hardware and software, (on-the-fly, onboard assessment and auxiliary targeting computers, STOL craft with nothing but pressurized gas dispersal tanks as a "payload", etc.) and also having once been a "fan" of the idea that a "bluff" has to be more cost effective, people who share your "impressions" have no idea what's actually out there, what the "good guys" are actually capable of, or what they are talking about, I'm just saying.

That being said, I think the fellow in the UK could honestly benefit from a letter-writing campaign, on both sides of the pond, asking for some humane mercy here. Also, the military is not the "government", at least not here, not yet, so people "thinking about the govenment" in terms of "top secret spooky stuff" are looking in the wrong direction, totally. Try Northrup, Lockheed-Marietta, Boeing and loads of little outfits that only build anti-personnel shit as a sideline. It's a business, like any other, and it gets nasty out there; the kind of things that you don't want to know about (and neither did I).

If the guy in the UK had actually hurt somebody, in terms of the system he was in, he might have been offered a job, rather than punishment. I find that a trifle ironic. I also agree that your choice of #1 is the most likely explanation, with a long-shot idea that maybe, further inside he accidentally stumbled on a legitimate "bug" that led where it wasn't supposed to go. In which case the creator/programmers of the "honeypot" are probably in another field of work, or maybe just in a field, someplace.

Nail+Hairyfeet's Hammer==NAILED==Headshot-pwned! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586085)

"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."

And that's the crux of the matter, put very succinctly.

"Where the hell did they get their security guys from, Remington College?"

Redmond College (MS), maybe?...look for evidence of ballistic chairs?
(I thoroughly despise the 'fixed that for ya' meme-not my place to spin-doctor any but my own words.)

Re:Nail+Hairyfeet's Hammer==NAILED==Headshot-pwned (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26590027)

User rts008: the automatic Slashdot meme enforcement AI bot indicates that your post should have looked like

"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."

And that's the crux of the matter, put very succinctly.

"Where the hell did they get their security guys from, Redmond College?"
 
There, fixed that for you.

There, fixed that for you.
 
Note: repeated offenses against the "Forum Meme Purity Act" may make you open to extradition to other forums, like Digg!

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587341)

I think banning someone from the net is a bit cruel.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587777)

Damn /. mod points for not going up to eleven (unlike The Tap's amplifiers)
"that he made all their security look like the POS that it is"

"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."

How many people have got onto UNIX boxes as super user by typing in FRED? Or SEX? (Not that us /. ers would understand the latter)

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588469)

I wonder if the IT guys who use default passwords are the same IT guys who can't figure out how to set up an email account for the president...

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591985)

If they do figure it out, things might get interesting...

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592249)

CRG...e

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594865)

McKinnon is trying to be tried in the UK, where he'd face 2-3 years in prison. He's already admitted he broke into the computers looking for alien evidence.

If he's successfully extradited to the US, he faces 70 years in jail. This case also show the unfairness of the extradition system between the UK and US. The UK changed its system so that people accused of serious offences could be extradited without any need to show the evidence against the accused to a British court, to speed up the process. The US was supposed to change their process similiarly, but have since sat on it, yet another example of Britain doing what the US wants and getting shit in return.

So far, they've used the new process to extradite people such as the natwest 3, who, while since found guilty, are british and committed their crimes in the UK while working for a UK company. And of course, extraditing McKinnon with no need to show probable cause.

Many people here in the UK feel that while he may indeed be due some punishment in the UK for what he's admitted doing, the US government is effectively using him as a scapegoat for their failings; that this is about hugely over-proportionate revenge rather than justice.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589215)

They should pull a Norway and refuse to hand him over to the USA because our prisons don't meet their minimum standards. The USA is reinstituting slavery in the form of privatized prisons. The only bright spot is that with the current recession and impending depression, some states are starting to release nonviolent "criminals" early without even parole, because they don't have money for the parole system either. This guy, however, wouldn't be one of them. They're going to schedule him for FMITA prison if they get him over here.

The US prison system isn't (for the most part) as bad as it is portrayed in the media. But if the guards don't like you, they will put you in a cell with an animal who'd chew his own fingers off if he got bored, and let him kill you and rape your corpse. I have friends and family who have been in various classes of penitentiary (so far I've managed to avoid even getting booked for anything... *whew*) and every conversation I've had about the inside of the box has made me ill just hearing about what we as a society have created. The prison system in the USA is designed to produce recidivism for the purpose of profit, plain and simple.

Human rights? (1)

plnix0 (807376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26590111)

It would be a violation of anyone's rights, no just a man with Asperger's syndrome. Hey, all government is a violation of human rights.

As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586375)

1. Well, as an aspie myself, I seriously don't understand his defense. Asperger's Syndrome is basically like being colour blind, except in this case we aren't wired to even notice (much less decode) body language. I can tell if somebody screams or laughs, but everything else doesn't even exist for me. And far as I can tell mom can't even tell if you screamed at her or not, and is constantly taking wrong guesses there.

So offending people face to face or commiting social faux pas is a lot easier, because where someone else would take a hint, you don't even have a hint. E.g., I've had stuff like being told "dude, why didn't you stop it with that terminally bored face in the meeting? Didn't you see the way the boss was looking at you?" And I was thinking he looks at me because he likes me or something.

It's also very easy to conclude stuff like "everyone else is stupid" when you lack the hints that she's just making conversation and trying to sound interesting (or so I'm told,) or he's lying to you and hoping _you_ are stupid enough to believe him. (I find that if you dig deep enough in why someone insists on something illogical, you'll actually find a hidden motive rather than complete idiocy.)

On the other hand, being an aspie is all about logic, so anyone who blames it for not understanding "break law => get punished" is talking out the arse.

And you _can_ learn to function pretty normally in society by using logic, an I mean in a lot more detail than "break law => get punished". I've read a lot about psychology and anthropology, for example, just to know what I'm supposed to do or not to do, in the absence of ad-hoc hints to change the course.

2. _However_, Asperger's Syndrome has a very high probability of co-morbidity with something else, like OCD, OCPD, ADHD and going all the way to sociopathy.

And it seems to me like the _real_ problem of both this guy and Hans (the other with the aspie defense) is actually sociopathy. Both seem to be self-centered arseholes, and both seem to think that the law is some kind of game, among other symptoms.

I don't think we let people free just because they're sociopaths. In fact, most of the population in prisons scores over 20, a normal person scores 2-3, and 30 is the limit for outright psychopathy. That lack of empathy for their fellow man and society is usually what gets half of them into prison. (And the other half into upper management.)

But at any rate, that's a completely different mental disorder. And blaming it on Asperger's Syndrome does a disservice to everyone.

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587133)

Thank you. You expanded on my point excellently.

Baron-Cohen is fucking things up for aspies by turning the aspie defence into some sort of sociopathy defence. There are obviously times when the aspie defence is appropriate: I was once on a jury where the defence of self-defence was put forward. If the accused had had Asperger's, perhaps either the jury or the judge would be responsible for considering that proportionate response would be different for an aspie. For they might not be able to correctly perceive the actual threat.

This narrowly defined, spur-of-the-moment misjudgment is very different from a pre-meditated trip into delinquency, but it would be terrible if an aspie were convicted in the future because the prosecutor was able to dismiss the relevance of Asperger's based on prior misuse of the defence.

(BTW, why are most other respondents ignoring the point and going on to explain what the UK/US legal system is doing wrongly? I'm not doubting that there are some serious problems with the legal process here: what I'm saying is that it does no-one any good to offer the aspie defence.)

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (1)

Johnny2225 (965346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589377)

What they are doing wrongly is breaking the human rights act. A European law which dictates that no person can be extradited to a country that their human rights will be violated i.e the death penalty.

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591851)

...no person can be extradited to a country that their human rights will be violated i.e the death penalty.

But the maximum penalty is 10 years for what he is charged with: hacking&trashing a computer (which he admitted to). So where is his human rights being violated?

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588175)

With all that inability to detect social cues, just how well do you think you would do in a supermax prison?

THAT is what the entire defense is about -- the cruelty of extraditing a UK citizen to the US to face punishment he would never face in his home country for committing a crime in his home country. It isn't like he fled the US, and is hiding out in the UK. He went UFO searching on some US computers via the internet and now the US wants to extradite for it.

Think of it this way. If, from the comfort of your own home, you found some pr0n on a saudi web server and consequently the saudi government was able to get you extradited to saudi arabia to stand trial for the crime of accessing pr0n on the internet with the death penalty as a likely option, would you consider that a violation of human rights law or not?

And blaming it on Asperger's Syndrome does a disservice to everyone.

So quit it, because Gary McKinnon sure isn't doing that. Why are you?

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591337)

Sorry to break it to you, but very few people do that great in a prison. It's supposed to be a punishment and deterrent, ya know?

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

It's unfortunate if that's his problem, but I don't think any condition should be a blanket ticket to break any laws without punishment.

Or in other words, thank you very much, but I'll reserve my compassion for victims, not for some guy who figured out he can ignore the law.

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:As an aspie: he's talking out the arse (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594889)

All very valid points - but do his self-admitted offences deserve 70 years in jail, or even 'see him fry' in New Jersey? As opposed to the 2-3 years he faces if convicted in a British Court?

The law is about justice, not just punishment. I don't think his offences justify a death sentence, either one threatend by the US government, or from his own hand in fear of what they've threatened him with.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26586567)

Poor old Socrates. No wait. That was unfair as well. Life is not about fair or right and wrong, its about who has power and who hasn't. This man has none whatsoever and he pissed off those who do. End of story. There really is nothing more to it.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26595499)

If he does have it, then give him a hug, and then shoot him.

---
Hackers should be shot.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26590397)

A point of clarification; at least in the Reiser case, I don't think anyone claimed that having Asperger's would make any difference in the severity of the crime.
What his lawyer did say is that Reiser was sabotaging his own defense, which is hardly disputable. It's plausible that if he actually listened to his lawyer, and acted less like an arrogant self-centered ass in general, he'd have gotten away with murder.

Re:Asperger's syndrome (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591141)

I think all of us should leave our hugboxes for a few minutes and read this

http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Aspierations [encycloped...matica.com]

Yes it's mean spirited but it's also satire. And like most satire it contains a kernel of truth. Ok, it doesn't have an entry specifically for this situation. I'll just knock one up

Real life: Governments keep secrets

Aspieration : ... and they will therefore be totally understanding (and not try ship you to a hellish prison for decades) if you hack into their computers to find those secrets.

Or you can scroll down for comments containing the acronym IANAL explaining how this self proclaimed geek should be let off due to a complex and totally bogus legal argument. I WANT TO BELIEVE!

The choice is yours.

Sendz hem zu Bush - zey vill kell da schwinehund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26585689)

ja, iz guhd

racist (0, Flamebait)

cushdan (949520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585711)

Is the fact that he is caucasian really worth putting in the title?

Re:racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26590137)

Honky if you like bad puns!

Hacker vs Cracker (3, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hacker vs Cracker (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585827)

Screw them. They're wrong. :P

Re:Hacker vs Cracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26585937)

Tell that to my uncle, who's schizophrenic.

Re:Hacker vs Cracker (2, Funny)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586007)

Agreed. Plus cracker is just stupid. If we're going to have a name for malicious computer folks, I think black hat is about a billion times cooler.

I can't take Black Hat seriously (1)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587853)

I have too many Billy Jack flashbacks.

Billy Jack: I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face...

Got lucky with Obama... (0, Troll)

lordsid (629982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585747)

I think the guy got kind of lucky stringing his trial out until Bush was out of office. I'm not saying the Obama administration is going to be lenient, but they are certainly softening the tones of all this terrorism crap.

Re:Got lucky with Obama... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585879)

Yes he's quite an enigma that Barack Obama.

*puts on tinfoil hat* (5, Funny)

poity (465672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585797)

Looks like MI6 doesn't want to lose one of their best guys.

Blame the programmers (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585801)

Considering he has Asperger's syndrome I doubt much social engineering was involved here. The problem is the code.

You can't blame a child for playing with a gun. You can blame the parent for leaving it around. Autism don't necessarily know whats right and wrong.
So....Quit hiring cheap programmers and actually pay for someone who can write something secure. People with

Re:Blame the programmers (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585867)

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

More like persistence I think.

Re:Blame the programmers (1)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585971)

I have a feeling that the true server in question IS secure. Default passwords? Smells like honey to me. They're just looking to make an example of him, and by dragging this case out and keeping it in the headlines, it's having the very same "discouraging effect" they'd get from imprisoning him.

Re:Blame the programmers (1)

AndyMC17 (1460719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589441)

I have a feeling that the true server in question IS secure. Default passwords? Smells like honey to me.

I agree, it seems a little too convenient that he got in using the default passwords. They probably kept that system running as bait specifically to get people to try to break in.

Re:Blame the programmers (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585993)

he knew exactly which servers to target, so he knows who they belong to. any sane person would know it's a bad idea. this isn't a gun left laying out for a child to find, this is an adult knowingly picking the lock on the gun safe then pointing it at people.

Re:Blame the programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26586069)

"this isn't a gun left laying out for a child to find, this is an adult knowingly picking the lock on the gun safe then pointing it at people."

Mysteries on top of mysteries. So in your metaphor, why is it important to pick the lock before pointing it at people?

Re:Blame the programmers (1)

crenshawsgc (1228894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586961)

No one is blaming anyone with autism. We're talking about "Asperger's Syndrome." Autism is a real disorder.

Re:Blame the programmers (2, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Blame the programmers (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594323)

The whole issue of "bad security" is a red herring. [...] There's no requirement that you make your car hard to steal before stealing it becomes a crime.

On the other hand, if you work for the military and regularly leave a briefcase full of classified information in your unlocked car, your ass should be held to account too.

Really UK? Really? (1)

iVasto (829426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585865)

Why would they even consider not extraditing him? If I knew that I would get extended prison time for a felony, I too would be considering suicide.

Because the UK doesn't trust the USA? (2, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Because the UK doesn't trust the USA? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26590281)

The UK didn't have a problem with "special renditions" (oh what a nasty euphemism - why can't we call it what it really is, "government sponsored kidnapping"?) taking place on our own damn soil.

Frankly, if Teflon Tony and his Team of Toadying Something Nasty That Begins with a "T" were still Prime Minister I have no doubt that McKinnon would be in the US right now.

With you there (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593911)

I'm with you there buddy. But I don't think voting Tory would make much difference. Maggie wasn't exactly cool in her relationship with the USA. And she didn't have a problem with human rights abuses, she determinedly supported General Pinochet even after the rest of the world turned their back on a man who thought state torture and throwing people out of aircraft was perfectly acceptable behaviour.

David "heir to Blair" Cameron will probably be more of the same. Rather depressing really. Or maybe it's just realpolitik, keeping in with the superpower that thinks we're cute.

Re:Really UK? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587149)

Why would they even consider not extraditing him?

I'm trying not to be rude here but really! Dude, it's a court: his defence lawyers are going to throw whatever arguments they can at it. It doesn't mean that any of them wll stick.

If I knew that I would get extended prison time for a felony, I too would be considering suicide.

The UK courts won't extradite if he faces 'cruel and inhuman' punishment. It's a stretch to describe the US penal sysem as such but in the circumstances, probably worth hearing the arguments in court.

It's not cruel and unusual? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588705)

It's overcrowded. Prisoners routinely experience rape and violence. They do not get proper medical treatment.

FWIW the prison system in France is pretty fucked up; but we don't jail people for 40 years for non-violent offenses. In fact we don't even jail people for 40 years for violent offenses.

Special Relationship... (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585873)

Specially asymmetrical.

Disappearing tags (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585877)

Has anyone else noticed that the offbeat story tags have started disappearing after a while, at least on some stories? Makes me think one of the editors is tampering.

Shouldn't be long until "whitey" and "cracka" disappear from the tags list, then.

Re:Disappearing tags (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586113)

"Shouldn't be long until "whitey" and "cracka" disappear from the tags list, then."

And none too soon, IMHO!

Racism, prejudice, and bigotry are sooo last millennium. Should have been done away with long ago if we were truly the 'intelligent species' we claimed to be.

Re:Disappearing tags (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589233)

Racism, prejudice, and bigotry are sooo last millennium. Should have been done away with long ago if we were truly the 'intelligent species' we claimed to be.

Sure. It'll happen just as soon as we kill all those god-damned _________s.

Breaking with Slashdot tradition? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26597017)

I hate to point this out, but you forgot to misspell "intelligence".

BTW, the most impressive contribution the Internet made to spelling was that everyone all of a sudden could spell "anonymous" (mainly because most admins didn't tell people that "ftp" would have worked as well). Sadly we stopped using direct FTP logins before more interesting words could be introduced like "miscellaneous".

Did I win the record for most offtopic post? :-)

Re:Disappearing tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26586207)

I've noticed this long ago but assumed that it was something to do with how tagging worked. Being an AC leaves me somewhat out of the loop in this regard though.

Re:Disappearing tags (1)

dglp (1287230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588193)

What, Britain has its own rural Deep South? Is that the people with red tailcoats and hounds?

get to it, nerds! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26585927)

Episode 2 of season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica isn't up on TPB yet. What's up with that.

Aspergers Syndrome defense? (1)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586793)

How can you use that as a defense for extradition or anything for that matter?

Re:Aspergers Syndrome defense? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589057)

Just claim that the country requesting extradition won't treat it in the same way as the legal system in the country that is being asked to grant the extradition.

This is different than using it successfully...

Why extradition? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Why extradition? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595627)

Why would the U.S. care about getting revenge on him? The nation wasn't humiliated--certainly not the people with the power to get him extradited.

I mean, does the idea of getting revenge for humiliation really make sense, considering the costs? And doesn't going through a legal circus just increase the apparent humiliation?

Empathy for the system (2, Insightful)

JerryQ (923802) | more than 5 years ago | (#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

What the hell.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587193)

US government spys on US citizens..... and the digital leakage problems....

Isn't this the guy looking for UFO knowledge evidence?

Hmmm, maybe he found weapons of mass destruction?

Let's get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587307)

You don't only have to blame one person when things go wrong.

The DOD administrators were at fault for not securing their networks.

The cracker was wrong for breaking in.

The one doesn't absolve the other.

Maybe you fancy cracking the DOD computers too. Could be fun. Don't blame you for wanting to, but don't be surprised if, when you do, you get caught and sent to prison too.

Oh and another thing: he doesn't have Asperger's, it's just a ruse to escape punishment. He won't commit suicide either if jailed; like the rest of us he doesn't want to go to jail and is trying everything to avoid it. Don't blame him. I would too.

Finally, he may have been looking for evidence of UFOs or maybe no. He still broke into the DOD network. Maybe we could have sympathy for him, if he had immediately contacted them to explain how he had done it to give them a wake up call - but he didn't; he thought he had got away with it, petty as it appears to have been.

Send him to jail.

Can We Get Any Stupider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587753)

"Hacker Gary McKinnon, 42, who had been diagnosed recently with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism..." So everyone with even the slightest form of unusual brain chemistry, far above average intelligence, and stunted or impaired social development is no longer responsible for their actions? I can understand why the wallaby jury here in Southern California let the CalTech graduate student who moonlighted as a serial vandal take a walk, but aren't Britons supposed to be at least slightly more insightful than twelve smog-breathing cretins who couldn't talk their way out of jury duty? Depressing stuff, folks. N. a J.

What is he responsible for? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588731)

Has he caused any harm to any one?

Has he stolen property?

No and no. He just took a peek at something he was not authorized to look at. Big fucking deal.

Re:What is he responsible for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26589487)

The other fact, i saw in one of his interviews according to him is that he's not being punished for what he's seen and disclosed, but for the things that he hasn't disclosed. I know that sounds a bit too convenient, but it does seem like good old vengeance to me.

what he is responsible for is .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589515)

"Has he caused any harm to any one? Has he stolen property? No and no. He just took a peek at something he was not authorized to look at. Big fucking deal"

No, but it's easier for some prosecutor to go after McKinnon than have to hunt down some real cyber criminals. They don't give a fuck if he is innocent or not, it's the guilty verdict that count.

One among many [guardian.co.uk] , what he actually did, was access some password-less [bbc.co.uk] WinNT machines and installed a remote desktop application. All in the pursuit of info on the US govs involvement in a UFO coverup. He once saw a pic of a flying saucer with US military markings but can't remember where exactly as a) he was on dialup [boingboing.net] and b) smoking a lot of dope [guardian.co.uk] at the time, not good for the intellect.

They 'caught' him (depending on who you believe) after c) system intrusions [slashdot.org] were detected or d) he would message them [guardian.co.uk] using WordPad and he used his own email to register the remote control app. Calling Gary a 'hacker' is equivalent to referring to a McDonald's burger flipper as a Chef de Cuisine ..

Payment Processor Breach May Be Largest Ever [washingtonpost.com]

TJX Confirms Largest Credit-Card Breach Ever [crn.com]

Re:What is he responsible for? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595617)

If I break into your apartment by picking the locks, and then watch you sleep all night while masturbating into a tissue that I brought (and take with me), I guess I haven't done anything wrong since I harmed no one and stole nothing.

This shows the UK does not respect its citizens (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588637)

Or would "subject" be a more appropriate term?
This kind of thing would not happen in other European countries. Extraditing your own people to another country when they've not been convicted of any crime? That's ludicrous.
This is also an example of Bliar's disgusting submission to Bush's corrupt administration. The extradition agreement is entirely lopsided, the US doesn't have to extradite its own citizens based on a UK judge's whim. If it was at all possible, war criminals such as Kissinger would be at risk.
In conclusion, it's rather amusing to listen to the anti-Europe bullshit spewed by the Murdoch press, as if the EU was a threat to briton's freedom. The reality is the complete opposite.

the real issue is .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26589187)

The real issue is that McKinnon is being extradited without the US being required to provide prima facie evidence [statewatch.org] , a situation that isn't reciprocated. I guess it's because we're not a real country anaways :)

He should stay in the UK and get help (2, Insightful)

trelayne (930715) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

What an Idiot (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593445)

I have little sympathy for Gary McKinnon. That doesn't make the actions of the courts right ot just, mind you.

He's "into computers" and intelligent enough to exploit vulnerabilities in others' systems to gain unauthorised access. He should therefore have been paying attention to the US (and UK's) "war on terror" and the absurd, heavy-handed measures that they've brought in in the name of security.

What on earth did he think he was doing? Why did he think that he wouldn't get caught and made an example of?

He's got Asbergers, not dementia. He's not retarded. What an idiot.

Threshold (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593771)

As the sensitivity of tests increases, I fear we will end up in a situation where everyone is diagnosed with some disorder or other. There is no longer "average"...
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