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British Hacker Loses Review of Asperger's Defense

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-more-chance dept.

The Courts 278

Barence writes "Gary McKinnon has lost the judicial review of his case, dealing a potentially fatal blow to his hopes of avoiding extradition to the US. Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr. Justice Wilkie dismissed the review at the Royal Courts of Justice. The review had been assembled to determine whether the diagnosis of McKinnon's Asperger's Syndrome had any bearing on the Home Office's original decision to extradite him to the US. Asperger's sufferers often exhibit obsessive behavior and social naivety, which McKinnon's lawyers have long offered as mitigation. His legal team now has 28 days to appeal the verdict, and his lawyer, Karen Todners, has indicated they may consider taking his case before the US Supreme Court. Last year we discussed a full profile of the hacker published by the BBC." Sophos's survey of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believe McKinnon should not be extradited.

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FIST SPORT (1, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895433)

Maybe people will finally realise Aspergers isn't a real condition and an excuse for the the socially inept to not make the effort.

Re:FIST SPORT (1, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895849)

I do not think that the parent post is trollish. Just the truth. Either that or the parent suffers from the rare /.trolling syndrome which is caused by the combination of mercury from vaccines and the CO2 that is destroying 'the world.

Re:FIST SPORT (-1, Flamebait)

Gay for Linux (942545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896531)

Whoever modded him troll probably has aspbergers and looks like a troll themselves. First post is right for once; aspbergers is a made-up excuse for man children behaving like social retards

Re:FIST SPORT (0, Flamebait)

trum4n (982031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896829)

just like ADD and ADHD. its called being a kid.

Re:FIST SPORT (3, Insightful)

blueskies (525815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897105)

And just like heart disease. It's called being a pussy. Don't grab at your chest pussy. Suck it up!

(obviously you've never heard of adult ADD which is somehow "just being a kid?")

Re:FIST SPORT (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896909)

It may be an excuse if it wasn't for the obvious neurological difference that shows up in MRIs of people both with autism and AS.

Re:FIST SPORT (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897127)

and qEEG is showing differences in people with ADD.

Re:FIST SPORT (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896067)

Maybe people will finally realise Aspergers isn't a real condition and an excuse for the the socially inept to not make the effort.

Fuck You! Fuck You! FUCK YOU!

Re:FIST SPORT (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896445)

Alexis? [go.com] Is that you?

Re:FIST SPORT (5, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897003)

Maybe people will finally realise Aspergers isn't a real condition and an excuse for the the socially inept to not make the effort.

Some psychological, personality, and/or developmental disorders aren't fictitious. Maybe people will finally realize that and stop being facetious know-it-all assholes. Then again, maybe people like ringbarer are obvious trolls and my social ineptness and my lack of effort is the excuse for this misunderstanding.

Re:FIST SPORT (4, Funny)

blueskies (525815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897151)

I think the everyone missed the irony of you being unable to connect with and empathize with people with Aspergers.

i got your joke.

Re:FIST SPORT (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28897233)

You are woefully uninformed and have probably only run into those idiots that self-diagnose as having Aspergers for the reason you state. If you've ever met anyone that was professionally diagnosed with Aspergers you'd know that almost all of them do what they can to fight the disorder and act normally. I, personally, know several and unless they told you it'd be hard to tell them apart from your average geek.

In other words... I'd suggest you STFU and actually do some research before cocking off about something you obviously have no real knowledge about.

Wrong court (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895509)

It is the new English supreme court the case is going to, the one that replaces the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.

Re:Wrong court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895535)

You mean *Appellate* Committee of the House of Lords. The *Judicial* Committee of the Privy Council is a different beast.

Re:Wrong court (1)

rutter (1430885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896623)

I was about to say this. I suppose it is an understandable mistake as the new UK Supreme Court only opens tomorrow. Can an editor please amend this? It's just wrong. I suppose it is unintentionally funny as one main area of debate around this case is the imposition of the US authorities, and the one-sidedness of the current extradition treaty between the US and UK. There are strong feeling in the UK that the so called "Special Relationship" between the US and UK has no real benefits for the UK, and that the terms of the relationship are entirely dictated by the US. As such then mistaken assumption that the US supreme court is the highest authority in a UK case is quite fitting in this context.

Re:Wrong court (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896871)

Actually, as an American, I just assumed that, since they hadn't been able to get the British legal system to refuse extradition, they were planning to attack the problem from the other end and try to get the American legal system to rescind the extradition request. Of course, I was a little confused about how they planned on getting the US court system to just skip over all the levels of appeals courts and go straight to the Supreme Court.

Guantanamo (1, Insightful)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895537)

It's surprising this guy didn't wake up in Guantanamo Bay one morning, considering there is a lot more evidence against him than some of the inmates there.

Right Place, Right Time (0, Offtopic)

xdor (1218206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895655)

I guess you have to be at the right place at the right time to get a ticket to Guantanamo.
Maybe if he had been hacking via an Afghan proxy server?

Re:Guantanamo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896885)

He's white, silly!

UK Law vs US Law (1)

Feef Lovecraft (1231264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895539)

I can understand that the activity all happened within the US but i'm not quite so sure why there is the instance on extriditing him apart from presumably that a guy on his mom's computer managed to hack into supposedly the most secure computers at the time leaving them with egg on their face and a great deal of embarrasment.
The computer misuse act in the UK is pretty strong and would come with fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895641)

He didn't "hack in". They had default "Administrator" accounts with no password. The hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage he's supposed to have caused was the cost of checking to see if he'd damaged anything (he hadn't) and fixing the security holes (which weren't his problem). They only noticed the intrusion because he left messages telling them!

What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (3, Informative)

Hammer (14284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895819)

What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

And... Leaving a note to the property owner. " You left the door open and I looked around. Please remember to lock it"

Re:UK Law vs US Law (3, Insightful)

JoeD (12073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896563)

And if you came home and found such a note on your table, what would your reaction be?

Would it be "My my, I should really double check to make sure the door was locked. Thanks, Anonymous Note Writer!"

Probably not. Most likely, it would be something like "Holy crap, who does that guy think he is coming into my house and poking around without permission?" followed by vague feelings of unease and paranoia.

Yes, the systems should have been secured better. But that still doesn't give someone permission to go poking around in them, any more than someone has permission to go poking around in your house if the door is unlocked.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896831)

The reaction you have has nothing to do with it.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (5, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896985)

No, leaving your door unlocked is not an invitation to enter.

But we don't lock people up for 60 years for trespassing.

If the original post up there is correct, what he did was far less severe a crime than trespassing.

A fine would be appropriate here. Decades in US federal prison most certainly is not.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28897199)

No, leaving your door unlocked is not an invitation to enter.

But we don't lock people up for 60 years for trespassing.

Where I live we shoot folks that trespass. Then we get no-billed.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (4, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897111)

Actually, I'd make quick cursory check of my valuable property to make sure nothing was taken, then change the locks on my door for something I can't forget to lock (spring-bolt lock instead of deadbolt, for instance). That way the default is set to "locked" instead of "unlocked."

If the guy left a card to contact him, I'd probably send him some cash to buy a couple of beers with. After all, he could have stolen all my stuff, not left a note, and left no sign of forced entry (preventing me from claiming on my insurance).

Sometimes being a good citizen is the worst thing to do. There's a reason why you don't hear of many "good samaritans" any more.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (2, Informative)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897291)

Ah but in the UK at least trespassing is only a civil crime, so if you don't do any damage you can't go to jail.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896129)

"Unauthorized access attempts or use in excess of documented authority may subject you to a fine and/or imprisonment in accordance with Title 18, USC, Section 1030 or administrative penalties or dismissal."

So whether the door is open, closed, guarded or unguarded - if you are found within a military complex or say within the pentagon, you will be in deep googoo - and since Gary got caught - he is in deep goo goo. Unfortunately, most people who condone his actions dont learn the lesson unless the govt. makes an example of some hackers... hence his extradition. Whether big or small, a crime has to be prosecuted if you want to stop others from committing the same crime.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896345)

What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

That hippy tried to make a fool out of The United States Armed Forces, and by extension, their entire nation. Nothing is more important than the good standing of the brave men who defend their nations freedom.

We go'in fry that sucker, I-tell-you-what!

Re:UK Law vs US Law (4, Insightful)

Eevee (535658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896527)

It's still hacking. Incredibly easy hacking, but any attempt to gain access to a system where you're not authorized is hacking. You can try to delude yourself that it isn't, but a reasonable person will conclude that it is hacking. It's like that bit from Jumanji: "You tried to cheat?" "No, I tried to drop the dice so they'd land on twelve." Oh, okay, honey. Well, that would be cheating."

As for the "having a look round" bit: I don't know what the law is like where you live, but if someone does that here, they're gonna end up in the local jail waiting to go before a judge to explain just why they're wandering around. (And I don't suspect the judge will be happy with "Oh, I was just looking around.")

18.2-92. Breaking and entering dwelling house with intent to commit other misdemeanor. If any person break and enter a dwelling house while said dwelling is occupied, either in the day or nighttime, with the intent to commit any misdemeanor except assault and battery or trespass, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, if the person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony. (Code 1950, 18.1-88.1; 1968, c. 530; 1970, c. 381; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 486.)

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896761)

"18.2-92. Breaking and entering...". If the door is unlocked it is not "breaking and entering". That's the law. I don't know about the US, but if there's no malicious intent, entering without breaking is not even a crime in the UK.

Which was my point. From a moral point of view, his unauthorized access was the equivalent of entering without breaking. Why should this be treated more harshly because a computer was involved? Even if it was treated the same, he would be looking at a year in jail (maybe, at most), not 60.

A reasonable person whose head wasn't full of "oh my god evil hackers" nonsense would treat this the same as any other trespass.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897149)

Almost... Burglary does require mens rea but you do not have to break - you merely have to enter. Trespassing into a staff only section of a shop merely by walking behind the till and removing goods is sufficient to prove burglary - there doesn't have to be any force, merely sufficent entry. In the case of someone walking in and leaving a note on the table there would be no mens rea proving intent to burgle so you wouldnt get a s9 conviction.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896869)

As for the "having a look round" bit: I don't know what the law is like where you live, but if someone does that here, they're gonna end up in the local jail waiting to go before a judge to explain just why they're wandering around. (And I don't suspect the judge will be happy with "Oh, I was just looking around.")

18.2-92. Breaking and entering dwelling house with intent to commit other misdemeanor. If any person break and enter a dwelling house while said dwelling is occupied, either in the day or nighttime, with the intent to commit any misdemeanor except assault and battery or trespass, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, if the person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony. (Code 1950, 18.1-88.1; 1968, c. 530; 1970, c. 381; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 486.)

From the text you quoted, the house has to be occupied AND you have to prove the perpetrator was intent on committing other crimes. Innocent until proven guilty?

Let's take a real life example. In the US, there are a number of apartment buildings that are built with identical precision (each more identical than the last.) If you were walking home at night and happened to turn off at the wrong building, went up to where "your apartment" would have been, and found the door unlocked, you would probably simply step inside and look around until you realized you had made a mistake. Would you be incarcerated for this? I know several people who have done this, none of which faced charges.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897211)

So when you mistype an IP address and SSH to the wrong machine you should be locked up for 10 years? You have attempted to gain access to a system where you are not authorized. Don't pull that crap that it was an accident. Don't to the crime if you can't do the time.

Many system vendors do blank admin pwd, no joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896767)

"He didn't "hack in". They had default "Administrator" accounts with no password. The hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage he's supposed to have caused was the cost of checking to see if he'd damaged anything (he hadn't) and fixing the security holes (which weren't his problem). They only noticed the intrusion because he left messages telling them!" - by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, @10:08AM (#28895641)

Funny you should mention that: In 2007, while I was working doing virus/spyware/malware in general removals as part of my job duties (often taking over when the other techs failed to do so @ times), I saw that also, & on MANY systems from OEM's like DELL, HP, etc. et al!

Blew my mind - ESPECIALLY on what you now note: Because that's when those same system vendor oem's shipped those to users with ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNTS with NO PASSWORD (blank pwd) @ all...

(So, as you state, ANYONE could remotely logon to them basically, from anyplace online, & because LanMan networking is enabled, by DEFAULT from MS & these system vendors (tcpip over netbios service & Client for MS Networks networking client for File & Printer sharing with Enable NetBIOS over Tcp/IP enabled-checked as working/on))...

BIG mistake on the part of the oem's distributing Windows rigs... huge.

APK

Re:UK Law vs US Law (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896957)

That's kind of the issue. They had no way to know if he'd damaged anything, and so they had to check everything out, which costs time and money. They screwed up, but he knew he shouldn't be in their systems. I don't think he should be sent to the US, but he's not innocent.

What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door marked "stay the fuck out", where sensitive equipment is kept that must not be tampered with, and having a look around. He's facing jail time because even though the door was unlocked, he knew he shouldn't have been in there, and the only way to determine whether said sensitive equipment had been tampered with is by manually checking every last piece.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897119)

What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

I'd say he's lucky. If I caught a person doing that I'd just shoot them; then call the authorities and say I shot an intruder.

I feel really bad for the first country we go to war with for launching cyber-attacks at the US.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897269)

Let's be clear. He should not have been on those systems. He *knew* he was not allowed in those systems. The fact that there was security, good, bad or non-existent is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter if he was "exposing" their lack of security. It doesn't matter if he supposedly did no damage.

Nothing compelled him to attack and intrude on another party's system. Nothing compelled him to do that intrusion on a system that he knew would cause the black helicopters to appear. Being stupid is not a defense in a court of law. Although he has demonstrated a certain lack of mental capacity by even trying this stunt, he's still not dumb enough to be considered retarded, although *that* should have been his diminished capacity defense.

The DoD does not have the luxury of taking this guy at his word, they *must* investigate. That costs time and money. Additionally, intruding on a military system carries the higher than average possibility that compromise could cause casualties. That means that you come down like a ton of bricks on people who do it, without regard for what they actually attacked. You want people to know that simply putting their pinky toe over the line into that network is Serious Business, despite what they decided to go after.

Don't get me wrong. People need to be fired at DoD and security needs to be improved, but that doesn't make what he did right or legal or less deserving of extradition and jail time. You don't go logging into military systems on a lark. If he was allowed to get off the hook for that, just think of the numbers of emboldened attackers who would see one less reason why they shouldn't attack a portion of the Internet that is already a huge target.

To reiterate, it doesn't matter if the morons at DoD left their door ajar, and it doesn't matter if our friendly neighborhood hacker just started writing notes all over the place about how bad their security was. You may not like having to send him to another country for trial, but he earned it. The only thing that the situation seems to lack is the sanctions and/or jail time for the people who were that bad at security. They should rot in jail alongside with McKinnon.

Re:UK Law vs US Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895647)

Because they'll reduce his sentence by having him work for them

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896939)

Yes, because they totally want a self-proclaimed Aspie working for them. Besides, haven't we already established that he's not some sort of hacking genius? He used very low-level techniques, and they only worked because there were low-level vulnerabilities.

So why on earth would a governmental organization want some socially-inept twerp with no real hacking abilities working for them? I mean, they hire those jackasses every day. Why would they hire a similar jackass, except this one tried to break into their mainframe?

Re:UK Law vs US Law (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897355)

I can understand that the activity all happened within the US but i'm not quite so sure why there is the instance on extriditing him apart from presumably that a guy on his mom's computer managed to hack into supposedly the most secure computers at the time leaving them with egg on their face and a great deal of embarrasment.

First - let's not give this guy too much credit. I highly doubt he managed to access anything close to "the most secure computers at the time." What systems were involved seems to be subject to a lot of hyperbole. McKinnon's own claims differ depending on whether he's talking up his UFO hunt or fighting extradition. The US Government's case is about showing a reason to support extradition - you can expect any errors in estimation to fall against McKinnon. From what I know of the systems McKinnon vaguely describes in his UFO interviews and my experience with US Government agencies drafting damage estimates for these sorts of incidents, I'm much more willing to believe that this whole thing is blown greatly out of proportion and McKinnon's actual damage and degree of access was far less ominous than some would believe.

So why bother with extradition? It's about law and time-lines. We have to keep in mind that the Government is ultimately bureaucracy defined by law. There are pockets of competence in various given fields of expertise. But the majority of the system consists of bureaucrats that operate according to procedures defined to them largely by various laws. So while there are small groups within Government that can understand technical issues like information security, the vast majority do not. But they do understand law. And they will pursue the Law when possible.

It should be noted that there's been a lot of improvement within Government concerning information security. But that has been a very slow process that has been equally slow in building momentum. The time period of McKinnon's alleged hijinks are pretty early in this process. The methods of the Government at the time were much more weighted to legal prosecution than technical prevention.

Extradition Act 2003 (5, Informative)

expat.iain (1337021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895593)

What is really pissing the British off is that the American government is trying to extradite McKinnon using a law that was passed under the shadow of 9/11 for the purposes of anti-terrorism.

Granted, McKinnon was foolish to enter the US government computers, although perhaps he should be given a consultant's fee for highlighting such lax security. If they're going to prosecute him for being an idiot, then certainly they could look closer to home.

And the tactics employed by the American Justice Department have been more than questionable under various EU laws, let alone the English legal system.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is to see the politicians rolling over for the American government instead of standing up for their own citizens.

Did McKinnon break into the systems? Yes, and he has admitted such. Surely as a British citizen having commited a crime in England he should be tried under English law.

Iain

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895671)

I strongly disagree. If McKinnon admittedly broke into U.S. government systems, on U.S. soil, then the entire act occurred in the United States, making McKinnon subject to U.S. law and court jurisdiction. If the reverse had been true and McKinnon were in the United States breaking into MI5 computers, you better believe that the Crown would be looking to extradite him to the U.K..

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895841)

That only works when the laws of the two countries are sufficiently similar. What if he had done something that was illegal in the USA, but was legal in UK? And what about the sentences? It's possible, even likely, that breaking into a computer system has very different punishments in UK and USA, so according to which one should he be sentenced?

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Insightful)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897037)

Uh, who gives a damn? He was hacking into U.S. computers. He should be punished under U.S. law. Is anyone in the U.K. a direct victim of his crime? No. Is the U.S. government? Yes. Thus he answers to the U.S. legal system. End of story.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897323)

Like the guys in Guantanamo who are accused of crimes against the US who are subject to US law....no....hang on.....

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897301)

That only works when the laws of the two countries are sufficiently similar. What if he had done something that was illegal in the USA, but was legal in UK? And what about the sentences? It's possible, even likely, that breaking into a computer system has very different punishments in UK and USA, so according to which one should he be sentenced?

If hacking your supposed Allies military systems is legal, or even ethical, please don't be surprised at the commencement of local bombing raids by the hands of your "Allies."

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896395)

If the reverse had been true and McKinnon were in the United States breaking into MI5 computers, you better believe that the Crown would be looking to extradite him to the U.K.

The constitution makes it all but impossible to extradite someone from the US, since "probable cause" is required and interpreted very strictly[1]. Numerous members of the IRA took advantage of this.

[1] effectively proof beyond reasonable doubt, which you can't get without a trial.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895689)

Did McKinnon break into the systems? Yes, and he has admitted such. Surely as a British citizen having commited a crime in England he should be tried under English law.

Bad idea. This would set a precedent that all cyber crimes are to be tried under local law, thus hackers originating from countries that don't give a damn about computer crimes against the united states would have a blank legal check to keep on attacking the military networks.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895831)

It should be both, shouldn't it? You're hacking from your own jurisdiction, as well as trespassing on property in another jurisdiction.

But, if a country doesn't care about prosecuting hackers targeting American systems, we probably don't have an extradition treaty with them either. In that case it becomes something for our diplomats to duke out.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896449)

Good idea, Cos the US military will then have an incentive to proactively protect it's systems. Instead of just randomly lashing out at the softest target they can find. cowardly fucks.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895765)

Here here, also a few more points not mentioned;

1) The view is also that the accord for extradition passed in light of 9/11 hysteria is unbalanced. For extradition from the US at the behest of UK government the UK would have to provide "proof" of a transgression in a US court of law, whereas for an extradition from the UK to the US one would need minor "evidence" sans a court hearing.

2) McKinnon is not arguing that he didn't break the law, just that he should be tried here in the UK.

One wonders why Allen Stanford hasn't been extradited to the UK to face some music here.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (1)

ceebee (125986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895999)

Funnily enough, the self-same question was asked here; but I really don't see the US agreeing to send Stanford over to a little ittie bittie country like England when they have so many high profile victims in the US already.

>>One wonders why Allen Stanford hasn't been extradited to the UK to face some music here.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895875)

His case quite clearly met the requirements for extradition - even in Britain, what he did carries a potential jail sentence of more than one year.

If I were in his shoes, I'd have been on my way to Venezuela within minutes of getting discovered. Even that country has to be better than US federal prison.

Re:Extradition Act 2003 (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896431)

The prosecutor said he was going to fry him. That alone is grounds for refusing extradition.

it's karma (2, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896343)

You do realize the UK government used anti-terrorist laws against Iceland right? And I would mention those people never set foot in the UK either.

What goes around comes around.

Re:it's karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28897179)

Against their british assets, billions of them.
And that was long after McKinnon was in trouble anyway.

Other way round, actually (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896405)

The British Government is dead set on getting him extradited. They are obsessed with being seen as being tough on "cybercrime" in case the US removes our already piddling access to their secret data. The US only wants McKinnon because they are more likely to get a conviction with a long sentence as he is not a US citizen.

Really, it's the admins of those insecure computers who should be prosecuted. I thought it was a federal offense negligently to give access to secret data?

Re:Other way round, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896599)

Really, it's the admins of those insecure computers who should be prosecuted

Especially when you consider that the security requirements for DoD computer systems are very clearly spelled out in controlled release documents.

I always thought the British were our Ally.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896949)

The British Government is dead set on getting him extradited. They are obsessed with being seen as being tough on "cybercrime" in case the US removes our already piddling access to their secret data.

I always thought the British were our ally. Last time I checked, the British Army had 30,000 soldiers crossing the border into Iraq in March 2003 and they stayed for a pretty darned good time after the rest of Europe bailed.

Seems to me that information sharing between the two countries should be more, not less.

Re:Other way round, actually (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897479)

Really, it's the admins of those insecure computers who should be prosecuted. I thought it was a federal offense negligently to give access to secret data?

There is no way McKinnon got access to classified data from his house. All classified networks are air-gapped.

Down with the aspie defense! (5, Insightful)

lacoronus (1418813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895595)

I'm so sick of the aspie defense. Seems like every time a computer user is on trial (remember Reiser?), it gets rolled out. "My client is guilty as hell, but he's got Asperger's!" First, your mental handicap has to be to the point where you quite literally don't know what you're doing - so just give it up, having light Asperger's doesn't cut it. Second, it impacts the way people view us computer professionals - for example, when we try to argue for less copyright and more information freedom. The aspie defense does us about as much good as the "Your honor, this man did indeed kill his daughter, but he's Muslim, he can't help himself" defense does for the vast majority of Muslims.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895731)

Plus, the military does use Windows. FTBBCA:

The US military's use of Windows let Mr McKinnon in.

.

Microsoft should be paying the military restitution.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896953)

But what if it were Linux? If they were stupid enough to make the root password 'password', it's not Linux's fault, and it's not Microsoft's fault for the gov. being dumb enough to leave their computers open.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (3, Interesting)

Jack Sombra (948340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895757)

Aye the Asperger defence is pretty lame but honestly he should not even have to use it, the extradition laws they are using to extradite him should not have been used it this case as not only were they intended only for suspected terrorists but to boot they are completely one sided, requireing no evidence of a crime to presented by the US for someone to be extradited from the UK while the same not being true in reverse

Though wonder why they have not pursued this to the European court level as the extradition treaty is already generally considered illegal at that level, just it has not been tested in their courts yet

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (2, Interesting)

lacoronus (1418813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895947)

they are completely one sided, requireing no evidence of a crime to presented by the US for someone to be extradited from the UK

You know, I had to read the act twice to confirm that it really was so. That is just completely wrong. I really hope they take this to the Supreme Court - if nothing else, the publicity will perhaps help to overturn the law.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

Byzantine (85549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896167)

Just to clarify—I haven't read the law in question—you mean "That is just completely [morally] wrong" rather than that the statement you quoted was contrary to fact?

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

lacoronus (1418813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896373)

It is morally wrong. Your description of the law is correct.

For the record, I'm probably one of the biggest US-philes in Europe, and see the EU and the US as natural allies, but the alliance must be fair.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (3, Informative)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896237)

This used to be true, however in the last couple of years the treaty has been fully ratified by the US such the the extradition conditions are now the same for both the US and the UK. See http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/press-releases/UKUS-extradition-traety [homeoffice.gov.uk] for details

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896653)

So, if (with evidence) we demanded that some mediocre nonentitiy US citizen be extradited for placing our citizens in danger, the US courts will approve it and systematically reject all appeals saying tha tthe treaty overrides your constitution? Way to go! finally you guys are seeing sense.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896807)

Except that this would be a really shit example to use as a test case. An evidential hearing before extradition was ordered would have taken about two minutes and consisted of the Crown Prosecution Service standing up and saying "Your Honour, I would like to submit the following list of press clippings where the defendant's solicitor admits the defendant made intentional unauthorised access to US government computers".

Remember - for extradition it was never the case that the foreign government had to prove the entire case. It only had to provide a prima facie case to show that there was a real reason why the foreign government wanted to prosecute you and they weren't just wasting your time. In addition, the treaty DOES require the US to provide some evidence of a crime, just less than was the case before.

This whole thing is annoying. He could have taken the plea bargain a few years ago, and assuming good behaviour, served a year in US jails, been shipped back to the UK for another year / 18 months and then been paroled. The longer he drags this out, the less likely they are to reduce the sentence or look favourably on a request to serve most of the sentence in the UK.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896813)

I'm so sick of the aspie defense. Seems like every time a computer user is on trial (remember Reiser?), it gets rolled out. "My client is guilty as hell, but he's got Asperger's!"

If this defense was accepted in court, the unforeseen consequence would be that eventually companies and governments would protect themselves from preventing those with Asperger's Syndrome (or borderline equivalent behavior). Imagine mandatory mental screening on a yearly basis to prevent anyone with "the wrong kind of thinking" from being able to have internet access because one guy set a landmark case and got away with being just nuts enough to escape prison.

Re:Down with the aspie defense! (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896855)

Okay, I agree Asperger's should be a valid legal defense for crimes. But at the same time, is justice really being dealt to Aspies? How many of them are convicted merely because juries think they "act weird", don't make eye contact, etc., and make an unjusitied inference that the defendant is guilty?

What does Aspergers have to do with anything? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895605)

If he fits the requirements of the extradition agreements between the US and the UK, then he should be extradited. If he wants to try to use Aspergers in his defence, he can do that over here.

Re:What does Aspergers have to do with anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28897045)

Yeah, AS or not, a crime is a crime, those borders do not change. The dude with AS should understand strict borders more than anyone.

A schizophrenic still commits a crime when they kill someone, wether or not they had intentions or not.

Burn the witch !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895649)

Burn her so she won't hex me no more !!

I call shenanigans (5, Interesting)

dieselpawn (1302503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895683)

""Despite his growing affinity for the machine, he left school at 17 to become a hairdresser, a career cut short by a friend's insistence that there was better money, and he was better suited, to a career in IT."" http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/252972/gary-mckinnon-britains-hacking-hero.html [pcpro.co.uk] I find it highly unlikely that an Aspie would ever become a hair dresser, an incredibly social job. Anybody who has every had any kind of contact with a true Aspie knows they avoid social situations like the plague. I call shenanigans.

Re:I call shenanigans (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895823)

I've had my haircut before from people with social skills to rival a radiator before. It my not be the norm, but it does happen.

Good good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895695)

Hes guilty as hell: we all know it. His lawyers are spinning the sympathy card around every do-gooding media type they can find when in reality any medical problems have absolutely nothing to do with the facts of the case. Ill take great satisfaction in seeing him locked up to rot in the US.

SEND HIM 2 TEXAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895697)

WE NO WHAT 2 DO WITH HIS KIND!

--
a consrvvativ on /. CAN have positive carma

Re:SEND HIM 2 TEXAS (2, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895861)

Someone patented guessing passwords?

Re:SEND HIM 2 TEXAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896143)

Someone patented guessing passwords?

GUESSING PASSWORDS AINT LIKE UR WIFE!! NOT EVERYONE GETS A PIECE!!
--
a consrvvativ on /. CAN have positive carma

Welcome to the American Legal System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895707)

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

AS is no excuse (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895711)

Oh come on, stop making medical excuses for this guy. Most people with AS know that you cannot do something like this without breaking the law and getting punished.

McKinnon is just another geek who thought that a lack of security implied that he could just walk right in through the door without punishment. Chances are, he's also one of those geeks who would hypocritically go postal if he left his door unlocked and a bunch of people walked in and refused to leave.

"But it's a computer... it's **different** mmmmkay?"

An email from 10 Downing Street (1)

Kalvis (1292470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895773)

--- http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go [number10.gov.uk] --- the petition http://kalvis.com?PleaseGo.pdf [kalvis.com] --- the poster ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: 10 Downing Street Date: 2009/7/31 Subject: Your petition has been rejected To: petition@kalvis.com Hi, I'm sorry to inform you that your petition has been rejected. Your petition was classed as being in the following categories: * Issues for which an e-petition is not the appropriate channel Further information: We cannot accept petitions which involve individual legal cases. Individual legal cases are a matter for direct communication with the Home Office. If you wish to edit and resubmit your petition, please follow the following link: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ex-treaty/BOdqUVCfKXpvB6NOBuAUBWV [number10.gov.uk] You have four weeks in which to do this, after which your petition will appear in the list of rejected petitions. Your petition reads: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to: 'end our extradition treaty with the USA.' After the abuse of the extradition treaty in the Gary McKinnon case, we petition the Prime Minister to end the extradition treaty with the USA. -- the ePetitions team

Sophos's survey (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895845)

"Sophos's survey of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believe McKinnon should not be extradited"

What exactly was asked in this 'survey', how were the questions phrased, what questions were asked before the one on McKinnon, why would it matter that they were 'IT professionals' considering that the hack McKinnon did consisted of logging into passwordless Windows NT computers and typing rude msgs (in wordpad) to the administrator

Re:Sophos's survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28895995)

71% of 550 is 390.5

Re:Sophos's survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896291)

God damn moderates, putting half a vote to each side.

Re:Sophos's survey (1)

KrimZon (912441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896447)

388 of 550 is ~70.55%
393 of 550 is ~71.45%

Re:Sophos's survey (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897121)

According to Sophos the question was simply "Should Gary McKinnon be extradited to the USA?", link to Sophos here http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2009/07/mckinnon-loses.html [sophos.com] While I have seen CNN change poll questions when reporting results, I wouldnt assume that here. However, another Sophos poll http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2005/07/va_sasserpoll.html [sophos.com] on a completely different topic also had exactly 550 respondents, which strikes me as remarkably coincidental.

Your point that there is built in bias is probably correct though, as all polls have bias for all the reasons you list and more. I'd attach very little significance to the "IT Professionals" that took it because they were either assumed to be that by nature of them visiting the Sophos web site or because they claimed to be IT professionals, which is not quite the same thing.

The results have no meaning out of context either... given the current state of love for the USA I bet 71% of respondents wouldnt extradite anyone even if they confessed and had the victim's severed heads in their duffel bag.

asymmetrical extradition treaty (3, Insightful)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#28895931)

"Gary McKinnon has lost the judicial review of his case, dealing a potentially fatal blow to his hopes of avoiding extradition to the US" It's ironic that if the situation were reversed and under the 'evidence; presented in this case, the UK government would have no way of getting McKinnon extradited here. I guess we're not a real country ane'ways .. :)

Re:asymmetrical extradition treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896233)

McKinnon's lawyers have not challenged the fact that he knowingly accessed computers he knew were US DoD computers. There has been no suggestion that he thought he had legitimate authority to access them. It's pretty obvious that this is a crime in both countries.

If the basic fact pattern is this clearly established, it would have been enough under any extradition treaty. He is not a good test case to challenge the legitimacy of this treaty. This argument is almost as bad as his lawyer's "he has Asperger's so he didn't realise accessing private DoD computers was a crime" theory.

Heh heh... Ass burgers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896591)

obsession, social naivette/awkwardness? Maybe I have ass burgers too!

Should have... (2, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#28896619)

...used the wookie defence...

Re:Should have... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897159)

They're saving that for US court, where it might just work.

Re:Should have... (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897475)

Better know as the "Let me win or else I'll pull your arms out of your sockets" defense.

71% of crazy people ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28896887)

... think Charles Manson should be let free.

Stop and think (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28897221)

before you post, stop and think for a minute..."Have I ever logged onto someone's unencrypted wireless?"

I realize this is not quite the same, but the idea is if you leave giant gaping security holes, someone somewhere is going to exploit them. The US is lucky this guy found the hole and not some angry terrorist, or chinese/russian hacker with a beef against the West. Now that would have made for an interesting case. This guy's actions are the equivalent to you logging on to your neighbours unencrypted wireless, and them being nice enough to go over and tell them, and maybe even help them put the password on.

As the saying goes "No harm, no foul", and the only harm done was that the US had to fix it's own security. Tough having to admit your a bunch of idiots I guess.

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