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In UK, Hacker Demands New Government Block Extradition

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the holding-out-for-regime-change dept.

The Courts 349

Stoobalou writes "Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon has called on the newly elected British government to put its money where its mouth is and tear up his extradition order. US prosecutors have been trying to get McKinnon before a New Jersey court for seven years after they caught him hacking into US military and NASA computers looking for evidence of UFOs. David Cameron, the newly elected prime minister, and Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, had both voiced their support for McKinnon's campaign against extradition. Other ministers in the coalition government had branded the extradition unjust. Clegg had even joined McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, on a protest march."

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349 comments

But now (0, Troll)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250256)

David Cameron: Gary who?

Nick Clegg: Um, yeah well, nice bloke that Barack Obama, isn't he?

(thats my guess anyway).

Maybe crimes comitted in the UK should be prosecuted there as well. Say he fired a cruise missile at the whitehouse from the UK (not that far fetched in this day and age) should he be tried in the UK?

Re:But now (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250276)

Say he fired a cruise missile at the whitehouse from the UK should he be tried in the UK?

Obviously, yes.

However I see the structure in your sentence implies the answer might be "No". And answer I can't even imagine.

Now I'm interested in anyone's explanation on why would someone have to face a legal process that's not of his country.

I'd welcome any other similar example too. Paying another country's taxes, electing another country's president (Ok, forget that last one if you're CIA).

Re:But now (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250298)

I'd welcome any other similar example too. Paying another country's taxes,

American expats are the only nationals in the world who have to pay income tax to their country of citizenship even when they have lived on foreign soil for decades.

Re:But now (-1, Redundant)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250306)

pay income tax to their country of citizenship

What's your definition of "one's country"?

Re:But now (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250326)

What's your definition of "one's country"?

Apparently its different from that of all the other countries except the USA.

If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (0, Offtopic)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250374)

... then how are they going to know how much you earn anyway? Surely you could just tell them anything and end up paying little or no tax?

Re:If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (5, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250514)

... then how are they going to know how much you earn anyway? Surely you could just tell them anything and end up paying little or no tax?

In my experience, that's what usually seems to happen: people just ignore this law because it's almost impossible to enforce in many cases.

The exception is where the person still has a significant legal connection with the U.S. -- for instance, someone who works for a U.S. company in one of their foreign offices, and is paid by the U.S. arm of the company. Even in that case, there's a pretty large exemption on which you don't have to pay U.S. taxes, which pretty much covers your entire salary unless you're very well paid.

Because of the large exemption, the IRS also has little incentive to even try to enforce the law unless you're an executive or something and they suspect you have a substantial salary.

Re:If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250662)

Because of the large exemption, the IRS also has little incentive to even try to enforce the law unless you're an executive or something and they suspect you have a substantial salary.

Except for recent rules where expats are required to report any foreign bank account with more than $10K and failure to do so can result in serious penalties.

Re:If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250722)

It doesn't matter, you'd still violate US law.

In fact, the first $ 90,000 earned abroad is exempt. Also, you are credited for foreign taxes paid, assuming the US likes the countey. So your only fucked doubly if youjr earning more than $ 90,000 in Cuba, Iran, etc.

That said, there is still the fucking insanity of needing to file!

Re:But now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250588)

...You do know there's a form you can fill out after 18 months, right?

Re:But now (3, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250616)

"American expats are the only nationals in the world who have to pay income tax to their country of citizenship"

BBZZZTTT, WRONG! Australians also have to pay income tax to the Aaustralian tax office even though the don't live there or use any of the services that income tax provides.

unfair and stupid, yes.

Re:But now (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250648)

Cite?

Time says otherwise: [time.com]

the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that taxes its overseas citizens, subjecting them to taxation in both their country of citizenship and country of residence.

Time is not definitive, fact checker asleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250736)

Helena Bachmann / Geneva
is just parroting Overseas American Week,
and her fact checker fell asleep

Re:But now (3, Informative)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250338)

Now I'm interested in anyone's explanation on why would someone have to face a legal process that's not of his country.

It depends on the rules of court for claiming jurisdiction, often jurisdiction is extended to the place where an offence is committed. This is not necessarily where the accused was at the time of the offence, as in this case, where, depending on the relevant law, the offence, at law, may have been committed where the "break-in" occurred.

As regards extradition, where I am .au, and I imagine in the UK too (since we share much of the same law on questions like these), an extradition should be granted only for an offence recognised by local (ie the country granting the request) law, and for which the punishment would not be considered unduly harsh by the standards of the local country. Thus most countries won't extradite (or even cooperate with supplying evidence) if there is a possibility that the state will execute the individual.

Re:But now (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250492)

But there is a special treaty between the US and the UK that makes it easier. The last I heard, the US hadn't gotten around to ratifying its half of the agreement though, so it is one direction only, but it has been only seven years or so. Anyone got an update?

Re:But now (5, Interesting)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250678)

that's the problem in this case. Under the new 'fast track' extradidion, a British court never gets to consider whether there is evidence to justify the charge.

That's important in this case, because although Gary admits that he hacked the computers, the key point is what level of damage he did. There is a strong implication that the damage numbers were concocted in order to meet the threshhold required to justify extradition.

Essentially, in order for the extradition to work, the US have to state damages above a certain level. Gary's team contest that the $700k damages alleged were simply concocted to meet this level.
Given that Gary hacked into computers that just had the default windows password set - and that the damage was calculated by figuring the cost to audit and fix this breach, there is at least an argument that this should have been done anyway, and isn't damage caused by Gary.

Unfortunately, Gary doesn't get to make that argument until after extradition.

Re:But now (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250814)

From what I have read of UK law interpretation a GROSSLY simplistic overview;

A citizen of a country is required to conform by the rules of that country. In return for complying with the rules that citizen is offered protections by his country to which he is a member - and is subject to punishment if he does not comply with the laws of his country.

Country's, however, can be seen as legal "persons" in their own right. as can a government agency, a company (corporation) and verious other groups of individuals.

If a British citizen were to commit a crime in the U.S.: the Brit has essentially committed a crime against the U.S. as a legal person, since his victim was under protection from the United States.

The united states could now complain to the U.K.

The U.K can then if requested, Extradite the citizen: - essentially relinquishing protection for it's citizen. By relinquishing its protection it is compensating the United States as well as sending a message that this criminal action was done by a "rouge individual" rather than the country itself.

If the U.K refuse to extradite they are essentially condoning the criminal action upon which the U.K. becomes the injuring party and the U.S. becomes the injured party.
Options now for the British would be to make a monetary reparation (as frequently happens for war reparations / covert operations), come to an informal agreement (possibly by offering to encarcerate the British criminal on British soil), or simply do nothing (a good example of doing nothing is the American drone attacks in Pakistani territory). It is also entireley possible for the injured country to declare was on the injuring country (This was the precedent for the war in Afghanistan)

It is important to note here that should the British Citizen who actually committed the criminal offence be tried he is being tried (and potentially punished) for the damage he has done to the U.K. and NOT the U.S.

As can be seen in the case of McKinnon it does not matter where he was physically, his attack was against the United States - and since he is a British citizen it is up to the British government to decide whether to extradite him.

this concept is not limited to serious crimes. TECHNICALLY China could demand the extradition of a western journalist for writing a piece inflammatory to China, and America could request the extradition of a British citizen for littering. the only difference is the former would almost certainly be thrown out before it had any chance of making it past junior civil servants, and the latter would cost far more than could be justified to the American people.

Personally, I hope that (being a patriotic Brit) that they do not extradite him and instead seek other means of coming to an agreement - but that is my opinion and I made that clear along with my other opinions on election day.

Re:But now (3, Insightful)

Schoenlepel (1751646) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250418)

If I performed a criminal act, I can reasonably expect to be tried in the country where the crime was performed as the laws of that country were violated.

Seeing that McKinnon performed the "crime" of "breaking" (bad security is no security, therefore he did not break any security) into government computers in his home country, not inside the U.S., he needs to be put on trial in his home country.

In addition, the U.S. has shown to have completely no respect for human rights. So, he can reasonably be expected to be exposed to torture. Why would this guy be sent off to a strange country to stand "trial" for a crime he did not commit? I can imagine he'll just disappear once he enters the U.S.

Re:But now (0)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250482)

He illegaly gained access to servers in the US, so he commited the crime in the US and should be prosecuted there.

Re:But now (1, Troll)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250520)

He illegaly gained access to servers in the US, so he commited the crime in the US and should be prosecuted there.

Who decided he illegaly gaines access? The US?

Now imagine you're just browsing and North Korea decides you were illegally accessing their servers. Should you be sent there? Or maybe it'd be more reasonable that the north korean government informs yours of what they see as a crime and let your own law decide whether you're a criminal or not.

Re:But now (3, Informative)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250608)

Even here, in the UK, it's against the law to gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

Re:But now (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250672)

Even here, in the UK, it's against the law to gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

And yet a judge has to decide whether you committed a crime or not.

Another country telling yours you committed a crime may, as the very most, grant an investigation. Period.

Re:But now (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250624)

He admitted gaining access, and in the US it is illegal. There's not a lot of wiggle-room on that point. I think the main issues are that he's mentally unwell, will kill himself if extradited, and the proposed US punishment is disproportionate to the crime.

Re:But now (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250614)

The issue here isn't what he did and where, it's a question of excessive and inhumane punishment. In the UK, he'd be expected to get maybe 2 years in a minimum security prison, probably with an order preventing internet access for a couple of years, maybe a fine or some form of remuneration to the US gooberment. In the US, he faces fifty years in your oh so popular Federal PMITA prison system.

Remember: He fully admitted breaching the systems described; He had no malicious intent, he was investigating UFO cover-ups; He has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and professional medical opinion is that he will fulfil his stated intention to commit suicide if extradited to the US for trial; The access he obtained was extremely easy to obtain, and would most likely have been abused by a malicious attacker had it not been discovered by Garry's actions.

Garry is guilty of illegally accessing government computer systems in the US, but the sentencing guidelines would put him at at least 70 years old when he is released. There are no words for how inappropriate that is.

Re:But now (1, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250654)

Remember: He fully admitted breaching the systems described; He had no malicious intent, he was investigating UFO cover-ups; He has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and professional medical opinion is that he will fulfil his stated intention to commit suicide if extradited to the US for trial

Oh, right then, guess that makes it all ok.

Re:But now (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250790)

It seems to make it reasonably okay to me. The point of the law isn't to be a set of rules that exists solely for the point of having rules, like some sort of game-theory problem or videogame diversion, but to keep society reasonably in order. On the list of things that cause significant problems for society, and which are worth allocating resources and authority to stop, a crackpot trying to find UFO evidence is pretty low; the only real damage such a person causes is essentially accidental, and doesn't seem worth extraditing someone to another country or jailing them for decades over (even if you're purely selfish: remember, jailing people for decades costs you lots and lots of money).

I'd say the proper response to a slightly crazy person breaking into computers to find UFO evidence is to institutionalize them for some period, and then try to wean them back into society, probably while keeping their computer use restricted or monitored initially.

Re:But now (2, Informative)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250694)

actually, the max sentence in the UK at the time of the offence would be 6 months. (according to wikipedia anyway)

-and given that this was low tech hacking (just using default passwords and not damaging stuff), he might get off with a slap on the wrist.

Really? Let's look at two examples! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250634)

Lets say that I send information about bypassing censorship to someone living in China. Should I be sent to China to be prosecuted about this? Of course not: The deed should be judged based on the laws of the country where I was when I committed the deed. Even if the target is in another country.

Now, you can say "But that isn't illegal in the country in which you live. It is different.". I don't think that changes anything (because it still means that I should be judged by the country in which I am) but let's look at another example where this isn't the case.

Let's say I download the latest blockbuster movie through the bittorrent network. It is illegal here and it is illegal in the USA. Most likely the company that owns the rights to the movie is in USA and it might even be that some of the people I downloaded the movie from (for simplicty's sake, let's even say that all of them) could be located in the USA. Does that mean that I should be sent to USA to be prosecuted instead of being prosecuted by them in the justice system of this country? I certainly don't see the logic here.

The guy lives in UK and was in UK when the crime was committed. As such, can you explain why he should be sent to USA to be prosecuted instead of being trialed in the UK, in a way that is also consistent on your views about the two examples I gave. Naturally, if you disagree with me (that the people in those examples should be sent to China and USA respectively), it becomes a very easy task.

Re:Really? Let's look at two examples! (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250780)

You shouldn't be sending anyone to China because neither the US nor the UK have an extradition treaty with China. That is pretty much the end of it. You also probably shouldn't be sending folks to the US over bittorrent downloads seeing as how that is a civil crime and I am pretty damn sure not subject to extradition treaties.

It is pretty simple. The dude broke a US law on a US computer system. The UK has an extradition treaty. If the crime meets the criteria for extradition, he should be extradited. If the crime doesn't meet the criteria based upon a technically as to where he was sitting when he committed his act (versus where the system in question was located), then he should be prosecuted domestically. Seeing as how no UK court has taken up the case, I am guessing that the UK courts agree with the American courts in that he committed a crime in the US. The only thing left is to determine if this particular crime meets the criteria for extradition.

I personally don't see what is so fucking magical about this case. The UK has treaties and a legal system sort this shit out. There is no need to involve politicians. The only thing politicians should be doing is changing the law if the UK people don't like it, with the understanding that backing out of an extradition treaty provoke the same response from the US. Take it or leave it.

Re:But now (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250756)

Suppose those American owned servers had been in a datacenter located in China? Not an unreasonable hypothetical at all.

Re:But now (2, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250496)

If I performed a criminal act, I can reasonably expect to be tried in the country where the crime was performed as the laws of that country were violated.

Crimes are committed rather than performed, but yes, exactly.

Seeing that McKinnon performed the "crime" of "breaking" (bad security is no security, therefore he did not break any security) into government computers in his home country, not inside the U.S., he needs to be put on trial in his home country.

The question of where the crime was committed might be a little more complicated than you imagine. One suspects that McKinnon, while physically located in the UK, committed the crime in the US. The things you can do with the internets!

Re:But now (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250480)

Now I'm interested in anyone's explanation on why would someone have to face a legal process that's not of his country

Well, IIRC, the computers he "hacked into" weren't even password protected for the most part. He wandered blithely through some of the most sensitive computer networks in the US for months, unchallenged, and was only caught when someone noticed the mouse pointer moving by itself on a monitor somewhere.

So, a lot of US brass got egg on their face, and want to throw the book at the poor bastard. The concern is that if he's tried over here, he'll get sent down for five years, be out in three, and end up with job at a security consultancy. Considering that the only harm he's caused is forcing the US military to properly secure a lot of their computer network, that doesn't sound unreasonable to me.

Re:But now (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250674)

although i don't agree that he just stumbled onto this computers - it's bloody obvious he targeted DoD computers in an attempt to access information he new damn well he didn't have the right to. I also don't think hard time for this kind of face saving nonesense is right either.

I think lots and lots of community service, fixing PC's for the elderly or refurbishing PC's the low income earners, is the right way to go with non violent crimes like this, which frankly are pretty victimless.

5 years doing helpdesk support every weekend for free would cure him of any urges to break into other computers. hell he'd probably vomit at the sight of a pc after that.

Re:But now (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250516)

Now I'm interested in anyone's explanation on why would someone have to face a legal process that's not of his country.

As one example, you might want to consider the the principle that forms the basis of war crimes tribunals [wikipedia.org].

Then, of course, there's the Polanski case ...

Re:But now (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250580)

Plus, extending the "think-of-the-children" category, in the UK I think it is now possible to be tried for crimes against UK law committed overseas - even if they were legal in the country they were committed (although I don't have a citation). The law used to do this was made to get at the sex tourists who go to countries with a very low age of consent

It's a war crime now??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250598)

It's a war crime now??? And what about the US soldiers in Germany being brought back to the US so they didn't have to face criminal charges in Germany? Or the friendly fire incident, where the US refused to let the pilots even be questioned..!

Then add in the war crimes of Bush/Blair.

Lastly, what McKinnon did wasn't even a crime when he committed it. That law came in AFTER the act. And now what was not a crime when he did it is now a war crime???

Re:But now (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250688)

The Polanski case is interesting in this respect. He could in theory be tried in France for what he did in California... except that a trial had already taken place there, so it's impossible.

Re:But now (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250606)

Obviously, yes.

Is it really that obvious? For example, should the Lockerbie bomber (Pan Am flight 103) be tried in Libya or in the UK?

Re:But now (2, Interesting)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250650)

If they commit the crime abroad and against a citizen of another state I guess the local justice can do what the fuck they want. And the foreigner traditionally does not have the same level of protection of a citizen. For this reason treaties are signed that allow him to contact his embassy, for example, have a right to an interpreter, etc. But without a treaty whoever has him in their hands can try him.

Also, one's own country could be too light on punishment with that, or could have no laws against the particular crime. For example Vatican does not recognize some financial crimes, so that their citizens (like cardinals) are not punished for those. Another country that seldom punishes his citizens for crimes committed abroad is the US, especially when the responsible is a military. There is a long list of complaints against US bases around the world for this reason. The US have convicted and imprisoned many foreigners in their history. On the opposite side, in one recent case a US citizen was convicted in Italy for killing an British citizen, and the US acknowledged that the trial was fair.

Finally, if one's own country is not democratic and does not respect human rights, my government should *never* send anyone there. If they commit crimes they will be tried where they can defend themselves.

So there *are* reasons for not trying a person in his own country, sometimes, and each case is different.

Re:But now (0, Troll)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250386)

so .... you really say that thousands of American soldiers should be tried in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and many other places? It is hard to argue with that they fired there quite a lot of ammo.

Oh, I see. You say that was war. However, in the eyes of people of Iraq, Afghanistan and so on - they were terrorists.

Re:But now (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250478)

If I put a picture of my wife on the internet should I be extradited to Saudi Arabia for breaking their laws and corrupting the morals of their citizens?

We could do this all day...

Re:But now (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250668)

If you were located in Saudi Arabia at the time you did it, sure. Otherwise it is up to the Saudi people to ensure they don't import anything from other countries which is illegal in their own. Just like it's not legal to import legally purchased canabis from Holland into most other countries.

Most of these laws were written a long time ago by people with no understanding of technology, so they don't take into account that someone can cause illegal activity to take place half way across the world without requiring a local agent in that area to carry out the crime on their behalf.

I wonder what the legal status of remotely controlled weapons being operated from a different country would be...

As for crimes committed in war, it is the dominant side who decides whats legal and whats not, the laws of the losing side don't count for anything because they're no longer in a position to enforce them.

Re:But now (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250486)

Lib Dems are big on civil liberties, Conservatives will want to both undermine Labour and show themselves to be strong.

Blocking the extradition would give both leaders brownie points with their own MPs. They'll want to stifle any murmurs of discontent from MPs who weren't to happy at their leaders 'selling out' their core values to get in power.

Re:But now (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250526)

Crime committed FROM the UK against US property is more like it.

If I shoot someone across a state line, the crime is committed upon the victim.

Maybe crimes comitted in the UK should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250566)

"Maybe crimes comitted in the UK should be prosecuted there as well." Well, yeah. And the CPS said that the case wasn't worth persuing. Then the Bush admin passed a law making what McKinnon did a criminal offence (now extraditable) and AFTER THE FACT accused him of the criminal act.

Despite no civilised country allowing ex posto facto laws.

Re:But now (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250766)

Say he fired a cruise missile at the whitehouse from the UK (not that far fetched in this day and age) should he be tried in the UK?

I would say getting hold of a £500000 ICBM is still pretty far fetched. We have gun laws in the UK.. maybe the Americans can buy them in walmart, but we don't have the second amendment here :-)

Re:But now (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250812)

I would say getting hold of a £500000 ICBM is still pretty far fetched

Well, we can offer you the "silver deal". Instead of flying over the ocean, the missile gets a little boat and two robotic arms to row. It does take some time to reach its destination, though.

Oh dear , how naive (5, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250260)

Expecting politicians to turn vague electioneering rhetoric into actual action.

McKinnons case will be quietly shuffled off to some under secretary to "look into" and once the media have lost interest he'll be on a plane to Dulles.

Re:Oh dear , how naive (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250312)

McKinnons case will be quietly shuffled off to some under secretary to "look into" and once the media have lost interest he'll be on a plane to Dulles.

I think he's got a good chance. Both guys ran on a platform of not being quite so much america's lap dog. McKinnon's case has had some serious publicity, killing his extradition would be a great symbolic gesture, enabling them to continue being america's lap dog where it really counts.

I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250274)

Fire, I'll take you to burn
Fire, I'll take you to learn
I'll see you burn!
You fought hard and you saved and learned
but all of it's going to burn
And your mind, your tiny mind
you know you've really been so blind
Now 's your time burn your mind
You're falling far too far behind
Oh no, oh no, oh no, you gonna burn
Fire, to destroy all you've done
Fire, to end all you've become
I'll feel you burn!
You've been living like a little girl
in the middle of your little world
And your mind, your tiny mind
you know you've really been so blind
Now 's your time burn your mind
you're falling far too far behind
so Linux, just give it up and go home!
and burn !!

Bill, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250304)

n/t

No big deal, let him go (0, Flamebait)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250278)

That was so long ago. And he never hacked into any important or valuable computers, only webservers.

What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250308)

"And he never hacked into any important or valuable computers, only webservers."

Oh right, so webservers arn't an important part of the internet then?

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mckinnons case the statement you made is just moronic.

And as for it being long ago, so was WW2. Perhaps we should just let old nazi murderers have a nice peaceful retirement too?

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250444)

Web servers are not especially important and they tend to go down for various reasons from time to time without the world bursting into flames. I think hacking into a web server without destroying anything is a very petty crime. Using ill gotten information for further crimes is bad but the actual hacking, not so much.

As for nazis, give it a rest. Playing the nazi card in a discussion about extradiction devalues it beyond usability.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250502)

"I think hacking into a web server without destroying anything is a very petty crime"

I guess when you're old enough to buy a car or house you'll think that someone breaking into them is a "very petty crime" then.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250604)

"I think hacking into a web server without destroying anything is a very petty crime"

I guess when you're old enough to buy a car or house you'll think that someone breaking into them is a "very petty crime" then.

I would think someone opening my car door, looking around, then walking away was a minor crime.

Someone intentionally scratching the paint is minor crime. It's annoying to me, but it doesn't affect anyone else

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250692)

If they break into the car/house without doing any damage its a petty crime. A crime yes, but a minor one. Not something you extradite people for with anti terrorism laws exactly.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250802)

In England, if someone walks through an unopened door, has a look round and leaves, that is just trespass which attracts a very nominal punishment.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250460)

Oh right, so webservers arn't an important part of the internet then?

I have a blog on my webserver, can't say I'd label it as an "important part of the internet" though.

Had he compromised the root DNS servers, ok, that would be damaging an "important part of the internet"

And as for it being long ago, so was WW2. Perhaps we should just let old nazi murderers have a nice peaceful retirement too?

What age are you 12? Seriously, comparing compromising a few computers with genocide..

Since I have karma to burn, Well you make a good point, tbh we might as well as those we haven't caught have already enjoyed the majority of their remaining years. It probably costs more than it is worth just to spend the next 5years trying, appealing and finally convicting them. Lets face it those that don't die during the trial will at best only serve 5years before they die in prison.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250490)

"I have a blog on my webserver, can't say I'd label it as an "important part of the internet" though."

If someone hacked into your bank account via a compromised web server you might have a different opinion.

"What age are you 12? Seriously, comparing compromising a few computers with genocide.."

I wasn't comparing it to genocide. My point which you didn't get is that it doesn't matter how long ago a crime was committed. If the perpetrator is still alive then he should still be brought to justice.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250600)

What kind of idiot would store their details / important confidential data on their web server? That goes for companies as well

You're right, So when are we going to bring the catholic church to task for the crusades?

BTW I am not suggesting that seven years is too far in the past

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250748)

"What kind of idiot would store their details / important confidential data on their web server?"

No sonny , a bank stores customer details in their backend systems but if you can hack the web server you can intercept unencrypted account id's and so forth being sent to the backend systems.

You'd better run along now, teacher probably wants you back in class.

If his bank account was hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250810)

If his bank account was hacked, the hacker wouldn't be facing terrorist charges and extradition without evidence. If his bank account was hacked because the bank didn't secure it, then the bank would be at fault and would have to pay up (including punishment fines).

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250558)

nazi murderers =/= a guy looking for aliens.

And I Imagine what he means by important or valuable computers is ones that cant fire cruise missiles at Iran or have the names of all undercover agents stored neatly on it or some such foolishness.

Re:What kind of stupid comment is that? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250792)

Sony hacked into thousands of people's computers with their DRM software. Apparently that's OK because they're big business and they were protecting sales or something.

No, it's not OK. Sony committed a worse crime than this bloke who just logged in to some computers using a default password. Sony deceptively installed a trojan on their customers' machines which impaired their function and made private information public. McKinnon didn't even publicly release his findings. By this logic, it's Sony who should be facing a gaol sentence.

This will be interesting.... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250280)

Parties in opposition frequently seem to criticise what the government does for the sake of it. Is this just another case of "now its business as usual" or did they really believe in what they were saying and ensure that legislation brought in to counter terrorism [wikipedia.org] isn't used randomly against British citizens.

A little perspective from the UK (5, Informative)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250286)

Whilst it's undeniable I think that he did actual do it, there are a lot of people that cannot see why he should be extradited. The UK already has adaquate laws for the prosecution of the crime, and the crime was committed in the UK so it has always seemed odd to a lot of people that he should have been extradited, especially with the massive imbalance in potential sentence between the UK and US for this. I rather suspect that that imbalance is what causes many people much disquiet.

Cameron is not going to be too concerned either way one suspects, although he will probably lean towards not extraditing him. Clegg however as a hard and a fast Liberal is almost certainly going to move all that he can to ensure he is not extradited. The one person to consider though in all this is Kenneth Clarke, whos is the Justice Secretary. He has interesting views - he once called Camerons plans for a British Bill of Rights "Xenophobic and a legal nonsensity". Quite what his feelings are on the extradition - and he gets the ultimate say as Justice Minister are as yet unknown. From what little I know of him personally I suspect he would favour prosecution in the UK but for all that his views are relatively unknown.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250398)

Hey, if the guy really was a suspected terrorist or was trying to insight people to cause terror then sure, let him get shipped off to the US.This would still be wrong in my opinion as you abide by the laws of the country you are in. That's why the internet poses a dimlema...it reaches across boundaries and borders.

HOWEVER, missing the point. The Labour UK goverment bent over backwards for the US, and allowed people like Gary to be shipped off. The agreement is NOT a two way thing and we can't demand anyone in the US is shipped to the UK.

BUT THE REAL CRIME HERE WAS WITH THE SECURITY OF THE SYSTEMS AND THE MODEL OF TRUST BETWEEN SYSTEMS THAT ALLOWED GARY TO INSTALL SOFTWARE.

On investigation, Gary is obviously NOT a terrorist and hence should simply face the punishment for hacking in the UK (which I believe he has done). As far as I know he FULLY complied with the US as they were threatening to send him to quantanimo bay.

If he had not have used a program (that he had purchased by credit card) then he would never have been caught and what he said it there are loads of hackers looking around. So I wonder how much the security has been improved and what protection people have on their data.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250414)

he once called Camerons plans for a British Bill of Rights "Xenophobic and a legal nonsensity".

To clarify the parent, that's because Cameron was proposing repealing the act that gave the ECHR [wikipedia.org] legal force in the UK courts (the Human rights act 1998 [wikipedia.org]).

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250512)

the crime was committed in the UK so

Was it? From the article:

The US extradition relied on its insistence that McKinnon had intentionally caused $700,000 of damage to their computers. McKinnon denied causing the damage.

I'm not sure what the ruling would be here.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (2, Informative)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250554)

UK law defines a crime as being the actual act "actus reus" and the intent "mens rea". Since he did both of those whilst in the UK, I'd say we have reason to prosecute quite legitimatly. The target is immaterial really - and for the purposes of the law to some extent it is irrelevant. People have been for example convicted of attempted murder in the UK when there was no possibility of any harm even occuring as the "person" wasnt even real so to that extent the target in the USA could be considered an abstraction.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250534)

and the crime was committed in the UK

Ahh, but that's the messy part. Was the crime really committed in the UK? After all the servers were physically in the US.

Going to over simplify this but lets assume you have an house and your house is beside the border of France and Spain. Lets also assume that border is only 1inch wide and you have a window facing that border. I throw a brick and smash your window, where was the offence committed?
After all throwing a brick isn't illegal, it was only when it hit your window it became a crime but your window was on the other side of the border.

So yes there are laws about trespassing on a computer in the UK however the systems he trespassed on were in the states.

In saying all this, if he was going to be tried fairly then I would say yes deportation is right, I am purely against it as since 9/11 American's have lost the plot, Girl getting locked up for saying she had a bomb as a joke (stupid yes, but hardly a major crime when it was clear she was joking), but as they are likely to make an example of him and the punishment will in no way fit the crime in this case I am against his deportation.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250586)

Actually the crime is committed the moment that you throw the brick provided it meets the tests in the Criminal Damage act. (assuming UK law here). By the time the glass is smashed then you have committed the offence.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250628)

If I miss and no damage is caused it's not a crime, you could argue intent but that's a different topic.

After writing I did have another thought, He did break UK law, he also broke US law. Due to the nature of the internet he was able to break the laws in 2 countries at the sametime. So in theory he should be tried and sentenced in the UK, then after he has served his sentence in the UK, he should be deported to be tried and sentenced in the US.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250548)

The crime was committed FROM the UK, upon computer systems residing on US soil.

If he didn't want to be punished, why did he volunteer for it by committing the crime? No sympathy here.

Re:A little perspective from the UK (2, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250626)

The UK already has adaquate laws for the prosecution of the crime, and the crime was committed in the UK

Was it? I'm sure there is case law to deal with these instances, but one argument is that typing occurred in the UK but hacking occurred in the US. The last time we had this discussion, I proposed the following thought experiment:

A French person with a rifle shoots across the France/Germany border and kills a German. In which country did the murder occur?

Re:A little perspective from the UK (3, Informative)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250666)

A French person with a rifle shoots across the France/Germany border and kills a German. In which country did the murder occur?

It occurred in the country where the Frenchman was firing the rifle.

The principle of the matter. (4, Interesting)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250664)

The principle of the matter is that it is a very unbalanced extradition treaty the UK has with the US. A fast track extradition policy that allows the USA to force the extradition of a British citizen without offering any evidence and also removes a British citizens right to even appeal this decision. This by the way is strictly a one way process as all US citizens are fully protected by the US constitution. Of course they even get to choose what state to extradite them to where they can take advantage of varying laws and sentencing. I believe this was an errata added in 2006 but don't quote me on that.

This is what happened to the NatWest Three, a UK based offence against a UK bank. Of course they were extradited to Texas where it was felt they could hit them with more offences for longer sentencing and with an easier conviction (of course there is a huge tinfoil hat conspiracy regarding using these as fall guys in a forced plea bargain to cover up Bush administration involvement in the Enron scandal but that is an argument for another day)

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/ukpga_20030041_en_1

Re:The principle of the matter. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250690)

Besides, there's an argument that extradition to the US would be against his human rights, since the US uses the death penalty.

my take on this as an aussie (4, Insightful)

thephydes (727739) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250324)

The treaty was written and signed to combat terrorism. Is he a terrorist? I doubt it. Is it worth the cost to get him to the US to be tried? I doubt that too. For fuck sake go after the real terrorists rather than a misguided individual with a mental disorder who believes in aliens. FFS the US should be thanking him for finding security flaws and not selling them to someone else. In this case I say FUCK THE TREATY!

Re:my take on this as an aussie (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250498)

The treaty was written and signed to create terrorism

There, fixed that for ya.

Look up “terrorism”. It’s the act of creating terror. And such fearmongering is the exact point of the whole operation.

mod parent "sudden outbreak of common sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250610)

mod parent "sudden outbreak of common sense"

Re:my take on this as an aussie (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250612)

What is the difference between hacking the Pentagon because you believe in aliens and hacking the Pentagon because you believe in Allah?

Re:my take on this as an aussie (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250642)

That's irrelevant. If you hack the Pentagon in the UK, you should stay in the UK, whether you believe in aliens or allahs.

Re:my take on this as an aussie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250670)

Because UFO nuts don't put a belt of explosives and kill 40+ daily in Pakistan. The UFO nut didn't have a destructive intent, the dude who believes in Allah might have been more willing to erase anything he could on the pentagon servers.

My take on this as an American (5, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250760)

What is the difference between hacking the Pentagon because you believe in aliens and hacking the Pentagon because you believe in Allah?

Everything.

While the mechanics of cracking system security may be the same, what you intend to do with the information you uncover, and your broader intentions against the US (if any) are very different.

In the case of Aliens, you're not exactly looking to fly planes into buildings, blow up cars in Times Square, or behead journalists. In the case of Allah, these intentions have already been demonstrated rather unequivocally in the real world, so extrapolating threats based on variations of past performance is not unreasonable, nor likely to yield broadly inaccurate predictions. Until flying-saucer nuts start threatening non-believers with death and mayhem, I'll tend to treat them as harmless eccentrics rather than potential terrorists, even when they cross the line and stupidly try to break into military computers.

There's absolutely no reason for the US to go after this guy--he's got a mental disorder, has already been severely chastened for his actions, is clearly not a threat to the US (or anyone else), and isn't likely to survive the so-called 'justice' America has in store for him.

US Government is trying to hid secrets (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32250384)

US prosecutors have been trying to get McKinnon before a New Jersey court for seven years after they caught him hacking into US military and NASA computers looking for evidence of UFOs.

If the government has nothing to hide, then they shouldn't be worried about people trying to search for UFOs. It's obvious that the US government is trying to hide secrets from UFO investigators like Gary McKinnon. To this day the government refuses to acknowledge that unidentified flying objects are a mystery because of their lack of identification.

Now lets seque into reality:

Though I often wonder, that so many thousands of corporate executives can commit crimes with immunity or just a slap on the wrist, and not ONE US president has ever gone to jail for committing a crime, and yet they can spend time and money trying to incarcerate a UFO investigator, people who smoke marijuana, and people who look at pornography. It's amazing how popular democratic fascism has become over the past 30 years.

Re:US Government is trying to hid secrets (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250540)

You forget. "Everyone is equal, just some are more equal than others"

Same old Same old... (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250542)

Ok, first off, this "hacker" with aspergers, if I remember correctly, used a 56k modem, while being constantly high, to scan for windows boxes with blank passwords.... And the US wants to hang him high? Car analogy incoming: If you leave your car (computer system) on the internet (imagine Cuidad Jaurez) with its window down (ports open, blank passwords), and someone comes along and replicates the iPod in your car, still leaving your iPod there, is it really that bad? As for the things he found, he said the most interesting things were lists of "non-terrestrial" officers and lists of ships that don't exist in any US fleet, but again, he was very high, and is therefore unreliable. I just figure this is a honeypot system (or disinfo) setup to track similar attempts from foreign governments, which are good at getting info and keeping it secret, whereas joe schmo 56k modem (I still lol @ this, but remember, wardialing (though it's not what he did) isn't quite so dead as you may think) finds info like this and is like"omg, I found possible evidence of secret spaceships!" Regardless, its just pathetic that even Robert Gates at the time admitted to over 300 successful penetrations, not attempts, of government systems per day! Blank passwords, tsk tsk.

Re:Same old Same old... (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250574)

Ah correction, it appears "he did admit he may have deleted some government files by accidentally pressing the wrong key"

Re:Same old Same old... (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250730)

And the exemplary damages they charge him will go towards organizing a data backup policy seminar for US Government officials?

Shrug (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32250728)

It must be me, but I can never bring up to much sympathy for criminals.

Oh, he had aspergers. Okay, fine with me. Lock him in an institution then since by his own admission, he cannot stop himself from breaking the law, therefor the change of it happening again are high indeed.

Maybe it is just because every single criminal has an excuse and somehow their mental disability NEVER EVER has interfered with them before, nor should it after they are let go. Odd that eh? "Your Honor, I am insane so let me go, but I should not be locked up in an insane asylum because the moment I am out of here I am perfectly sane again." Somehow aspergers only seems to show up in people who are clearly a bit off but do not commit crimes or in people who commit crimes where nobody noticed it before or deemed it serious enough to take action.

Facing the consequences of your actions. Must be an out of date concept. Quick find me a disease I can use to get out of it.

And don't mod me down, asperges made me do it!

And perhaps I am just fucking tired of parking my bike outside a busy supermarket and when I come back I find that someone had tried to steal it before noticing it is locked, with hundreds of people around but if you kick the shit of them you are the one going to jail. Frankly this guy gets on my nerves. He has two choices, go to jail and I hope he has the shit raped out of him or be treated as the mentally retarded person unable to be responsible for his actions he claims to be. You can't have it both ways. Either you are free with responsibilities or you are not. Pick one.

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