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10-Year Gary McKinnon Case To End This Year

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the right-to-a-speedy-trial dept.

Government 72

judgecorp writes "The ten-year legal quagmire surrounding Gary McKinnon, who hacked into U.S. military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002, must end this year, a British High Court Judge has ordered. McKinnon has been appealing against extradition to the U.S., and two medical experts must report in 28 days on his mental state, ruling whether he would be a suicide risk if deported. This ruling could short-circuit an extradition appeal hearing in July."

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How Long? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870613)

Before someone tries to cast this as a freedom of speech issue?

Re:How Long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38874153)

And why exactly would someone?

Re:How Long? (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875725)

Good point. Don't feed the trolls.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870727)

He could have served his time and been home by now.

Re:Yawn (4, Informative)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38870797)

Maximum sentence 70 years, so no, not necessarily.

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871575)

Maximum sentence 70 years, so no, not necessarily.

The UK has a reciprocal agreement with the USA. He could be convicted in the US but then be deported to serve time in a UK prison.

The fact that the NSA, CIA, FBI and DoD had open modems connected to the PSTN doesn't seem to bear any significance in this. Why aren't there some US folks being proscecuted for leaving the door wide open? Why aren't there any courts martial for the DoD folks who didn't stop this security breach?

Some poor kid with a computer and a modem and a random dialer gets the blame for all the ills of this US national security breach is a travesty. That's before we consider the desperately bad unilateral extradition agreement that my lovely Labour Gov't (Bliar and that clown Brown) signed up to (for "anti-terrorist reasons).

Re:Yawn (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38872427)

A) Because they didn't "leave the door wide open."
B) You may as well argue that people who don't lock their front door should be charged with a crime because someone steals from them. Because, that is exactly what you are doing.
C) Walking in and taking things is still a CRIME.
D) 35 is not "Some poor kid with a computer and a modem and a random dialer.

Re:Yawn (3, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38874769)

Yes they did. Not to be an arrogant asshole but that's literally 80'ies security, people dialing in to networks and poking around. Whomever was responsible for setting up those networks had to know about the concept of wardialing or they'd be completely incompetent. Any system that can be broken into using a war dialer/port scanner and an appropriate brute-force program is insecure. We all know what happens to a server with an internet-visible SSH daemon that password-auths guessable username/password combinations, right?

And the door analogy breaks down quite fast, because most doors/locks AFAIK isn't designed to protect against actual burglary - real burglars mostly just smash a window or drill the lock open, or so I've read.

As for what he did, if the guards of a military base suddenly waltzes off for hookers and blow and some random nut looking for UFO's wanders in and peeks about the hangars before getting caught, would this even be an issue? Or would it just be laughed off?

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875157)

He didn't need to brute-force anything, they were using the default or no password. They were open. No "hacking" took place.

Re:Yawn (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877701)

And the door analogy breaks down quite fast, because most doors/locks AFAIK isn't designed to protect against actual burglary - real burglars mostly just smash a window or drill the lock open, or so I've read.

Not where I live (the UK). Most burglaries are through windows that are left open. Smashing windows and drilling locks tends to make the neighbours suspicious, though obviously it does happen.

You always get a rise in opportunistic burglaries during hot weather here, as people open their windows and forgot to shut/lock them later.

Re:Yawn (1)

wganz (113345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877733)

And the door analogy breaks down quite fast, because most doors/locks AFAIK isn't designed to

The legal aspect is that there was a door and he kicked it down. The crime of 'breaking and entering' can be charged even if there was as much as a cobweb that was broken. Let me rehash my favorite 2 scenarios.

First scenario. A group of disaffected youth break into a business with a crowbar. They steal the cash box and trade the list of credit card reciepts to the local dope dealer for a couple of lids. They trash the inventory and take what they want. The local police later arrest the group trying to fence the stolen goods at a local pawn shop. They goto court and their defense is that it was the shop owner's fault that he didn't have an infantry squad guarding his store. They are sentenced to 1-3 years in the penitentary and the community is glad that the group of thugs are off the street.

Second scenario. A group of disaffected youth gain entrance into the computer system of a business with a script. They take the database table of credit card users and sell it online to the Russian mafia then go buy a couple of lids. They truncate the database's table of customers and have online system ship electronic goodies to their Mom's basement. They go online and claim that it is the business owner's fault that he didn't have the latest and greatest security system. The Slashdot crowd acclaim their skillz and anxiously await their next exploit.

Explain the difference to me.

Re:Yawn (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878151)

There's not much, of course. I was gunning more for the admins of the system rather than trying to imply that McKinnon is somehow innocent of a crime. However, if he broke into a military base or contractors facility using a wire cutter to look for UFOs I'd personally view it as roughly equivalent to his current actions in a moral/ethical sense.

Re:Yawn (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875667)

B) You may as well argue that people who don't lock their front door should be charged with a crime because someone steals from them. Because, that is exactly what you are doing.

No, I wouldn't expect that. What I would expect, however, is that if they are at work and they fail to secure their workstation when they leave their desk, that they are held accountable for any data loss through that connection. The Military isn't a home user, it's a government entity which frequently deals with highly sensitive information (none if which was accessed by McKinnon, BTW). I would expect, nay demand that those responsible for maintaining the security of those systems be investigated for incompetence. At the very least, this should merit dismissal for gross misconduct (as it would in the private sector).

Re:Yawn (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876049)

"A) Because they didn't "leave the door wide open.""

There's no better definition of wide open on the internet than a public facing computer with blank, or no password. If you think this isn't wide open, then please, for the love of god, don't ever get a job in IT, or if you have one, kindly vacate it immediately.

"B) You may as well argue that people who don't lock their front door should be charged with a crime because someone steals from them. Because, that is exactly what you are doing."

No you may as well not, because people who don't lock their front door aren't being paid by the tax payer to look after national security. It's a question of competence, and leaving defence network computers open on the public internet can be firmly filed under gross negligence.

"C) Walking in and taking things is still a CRIME."

Well he didn't take anything - it was all still there when he left, but yes you're right, walking in is still a crime. Not the sort any sane person would expect you to get extradited to a foreign country to serve 70 years in prison over though.

"D) 35 is not "Some poor kid with a computer and a modem and a random dialer."

Yes you're right, but he's not fully mentally healthy like a typical adult either, the truth is thus somewhere in between.

Re:Yawn (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878459)

Yes you're right, but he's not fully mentally healthy like a typical adult either, the truth is thus somewhere in between.

He doesn't seem mentally incompetent to me. It might be that he's stress-sensitive and unable to socially interact like a normal person, but Asperger syndrome doesn't affect moral perception as such. IANAL/IANAP, but I don't think this crime is remotely excusable in a legal sense by his condition even if he "lives in his own little world". Removing moral agency from individuals like that willy-nilly, especially for such a fluid and vaugely defined condition, seems inappropriate.

Re:Yawn (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888819)

"It might be that he's stress-sensitive and unable to socially interact like a normal person, "

That is a mental health issue though, and particularly in the likes of the US jail system thousands of miles from home and his family then of course he's a suicide risk at that point - some people kill themselves in jail even when they're otherwise mentally healthy based on that alone, the added trauma of facing that when you're socially inept surrounded by in your face prisoners is bound to make him higher risk than usual.

No one is saying his crime is excusable, just that extradition isn't the right form of punishment. Trial in a British court and detention in the much less harsh British system, or under house arrest with a ban on the use of computers is punishment enough for someone like this if he even needs to be punished any further. The UK focuses much more on rehabilitation, I think after 10 years of this being dragged out he knows full well he shouldn't have done what he did, wont do it again, and has faced enough stress from it all to be punishment enough.

It's not like he killed or hurt anyone, not like he leaked anything sensitive, really, the worst he did was embarassed a bunch of incompetent sysadmins and wasted the man hours required to sort it out. I think there's a fair argument though that it needed sorting out, and a security audit doing regardless of whether McKinnon had hacked in or not.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38933993)

lets be honest. Its public knoweledge that american IT security is crap. They even admit it. id really love to see how they will present evidence should this all goto court - and in what format will that evidence provided in? a re-enactment? a sketch?

google search Mathew Bevan ... welsh computer hacker who hacked the US over 15 years ago with a commadore computer and a telehpne modem. what happened to the money that was secured from that episode to make the IT infrastructure better? seems not much has changed.

Re:Yawn (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877639)

That's before we consider the desperately bad unilateral extradition agreement that my lovely Labour Gov't (Bliar and that clown Brown) signed up to (for "anti-terrorist reasons).

So why don't Cameron and his lapdog Clegg do something about re-negotiating it then? And do you really think that a Tory leader after 9/11 would have told the US to go fuck themselves?

Re:Yawn (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873429)

Then his mother would have to convert the basement back into a bedroom.

if i were him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870769)

id keep telling people ill kill myself if they take me to the usa.....
better to be in a UK mental ward then guantonimo bay

Who? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870845)

Who gives a shit?

Re:Who? (5, Insightful)

raedeon (1246638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38870897)

Lots of people 'give a shit', myself included. Go back to Reddit or 4chan with the rest of your kind (trolls)

Re:Who? (2, Insightful)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871031)

Lots of people 'give a shit', myself included. Go back to Reddit or 4chan with the rest of your kind (trolls)

I give a shit. - J Assange

Re:Who? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871789)

I actually see a higher percentage of what I'd call trolling on slashdot than I do on reddit. Whether it's because reddit by default ranks comments by score and the trolls get buried, or whether it's that slashdotters are more fertile ground for trolling (Someone unfairly criticizing my preferred OS? TO THE BATTLE STATIONS!!!) I don't know.

But I agree with you outside of that. Don't click the links you're not interested in it's really that simple.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38874473)

When it comes to furious retaliation against trolls, i.e trollbating, nerds are not even comparable subjects with regular reddit users. Most nerds were mocked at an early age and have accumulated much anger in their system. They bring this anger out whenever a troll appears. Thank Adams for therapy trolls

Re:Who? (2)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875029)

There aren't any ACs on Reddit. There's also an unlimited supply of downvotes (albeit one per comment/post).

Re:Who? (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876063)

there are "PasswordIsNoChance" type accounts

Re:Who? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876223)

True, but they aren't used anywhere near as often as AC is on here. I like the idea of AC but it makes spamming - or just talking crap without any repercussions - a lot easier.

Re:Who? (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876647)

yup, not disagreeing with you, I think 'the kids' on reddit have a real account and a flame account

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877375)

Not even close. Reddit has entire subreddits that troll the whole site. It's quickly becoming a hipster 4chan

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875695)

If you "give a shit" just by posting about it here, then you don't really "give a shit".

Lame Excuse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870935)

He's a suicide risk if deported? Pull-eeze!

Just put him on a suicide watch, put him on some meds if need be, and boom he is here in our hands.

This is just another lame attempt to try to delay, and avoid justice. At least now we know he will pay the piper this year.

Re:Lame Excuse (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38870987)

Yes, because we have nothing better to do than prosecute curious kids, this is more of an honor thing for the states. If there was such a thing as justice, you'd be standing trial for your worth to human society (troll), as well as paying the piper yourself.

Re:Lame Excuse (0)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38874991)

He was born in 1966, hardly a kid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon [wikipedia.org]

Gary McKinnon (born 10 February 1966) is a Scottish[1] systems administrator and hacker who has been accused of what one U.S. prosecutor claims is the "biggest military computer hack of all time,"[2] although McKinnon himself states that he was merely looking for evidence of free energy suppression and a cover-up of UFO activity and other technologies potentially useful to the public. After a series of legal proceedings in England, McKinnon is currently fighting extradition to the United States.

Re:Lame Excuse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38871341)

and just what is "justice"?

Can a country like the US even claim the moral high ground on "justice" anymore?

America has over the past 10+ years detailed persons without trials, executed it's citizens, subjected it's population to invasive searches, and worked to curtail free speech, free expression, and peaceful lawful assembly.

No sir, I submit to you that this man cannot get "justice" in America, and I think it would be better if more counties stood up to the United States and blocked extraditions. As a mater of principle, countries should not seek to enforce their laws on persons who are not their citizens or in their physical territory.

Re:Lame Excuse (5, Insightful)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871721)

Exactly right sir, the arrogance of the US is incredible. He should not be extradited to a country with such an applaing prison system and downright uncicivilsed legal system that has the death penalty, and has repeatedly been found to have executed innocent people.

Re:Lame Excuse (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876007)

Hopefully the EU will ban all extraditions to the US where there is a chance that the accused may be killed or imprisoned inhumanely (Guantanimo, lack of medical treatment, average US jail etc.)

Sending someone somewhere you know they will be mistreated is as bad as doing it yourself.

Assange's noew talkshow (0)

tobiah (308208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871017)

If Gary McKinnon can drag it out for ten years, I can see why Jullian Assange is willing to start new projects.

Can you image that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38871039)

Essentially, 10 years in fear. Granted guy was a wee bit paranoid and nutty before, not holding that against him here, but 10 freaking years!

How does one live with such a thing looming over them for that long? Not knowing if your country can see reason with regard to your case.

I have some sympathy for him, due to the fact that justice would be usurped if the Brits actually extradited him, but how can any Brit. look at their justice system after this and think it isn't one, big, sad joke.

Re:Can you image that? (5, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871745)

It's not just the justice system that's deeply flawed if he is extradited, it's the whole political system. In the run up to the last election, all three leaders of the big parties said they would resolve this, and none of them have lifted a finger when in power (Labour were in power for most of the last 10 years, now the other two, Liberal and Conservative, govern in coalition).

In our whole political system, I've yet to hear one single person who says that Gary should be extradited. They all, without exception as far as I know, back his right to a UK trial... and I've yet to hear one single person lift a finger to make it happen.

Re:Can you image that? (-1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38871909)

No sympathy. He hacked into secure military systems, not websites, the real military networks. He tampered with secure files and threatened to do more damage.

I'm sorry but if you sneak onto a military base and are caught you don't get to just shrug and say "Hey guys, I was just looking for UFOs." You will be arrested and you deserve to be arrested.

This isn't a case of journalist keeping the public informed by leaking classified documents and blowing the whistle on some scandal. I would hope an American who hacked a British ministry would get extradited and sentenced as well.

Re:Can you image that? (4, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38872133)

No, he allegedly hacked into unsecured military systems, using default passwords. He didn't tamper with secure files, he allegedly tampered with unsecured files.

Nobody is saying he doesn't need to face justice, but when the knee jerk reaction of Americans is exactly what you posted, then it's unlikely he would actually get a fair trial on your side of the Atlantic.

He's a UK citizen, accused of misusing a computer in the UK. There is no justification for not allowing him a UK trial, and no justification for leaving this hanging over him (and his family) for a whole decade.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38873763)

Actually.. because of the joys of the internet, your boy potentially committed a crime in the UK ... AND committed a crime in the US. At the same time, in the same act.

So.. if there is "no justification for not allowing him a UK trial" there is also no justification in not allowing the US to prosecute him as well. Lots of rationalization, perhaps. Justification, not nearly as much.

Re:Can you image that? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38872645)

Correction.

He 'logged in' to unsecured military systems which were deemed to be secured. Yes, he did knowingly access systems which he was not allowed to, however the 'hacking' that took place was merely the use of default common credentials usernames and passwords.

Overblown on his technical ability front? Absolutely! We still have yet to hear what happened to the 'system administrators', or contractors, tasked with managing those machines. Other than the Million dollar price tag they supposedly shelled out to 'secure' something that was improperly managed.

The idiot stamp goes to everyone involved in this. McKinnon, the supposed System Admins, NASA and the US Military, DOJ, and UK legal system. Add on the GAO for not investigating why the systems weren't up to par in the first place, after they discovered someone compromised their systems.

Re:Can you image that? (-1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873091)

Correction.

He 'logged in' to unsecured military systems which were deemed to be secured. Yes, he did knowingly access systems which he was not allowed to, however the 'hacking' that took place was merely the use of default common credentials usernames and passwords.

Seriously, what systems come with default passwords, even 10 years ago? How many hundreds of thousands of attempts did he make to break in?

You believe without question his lame-ass defense, but give no credence what so ever to the professionals in the agencies he hacked into?

No wonder the US wants him tired in the US.

He's British, and he's Sick (cough for us Gary), see, so he gets off scott free, big bully USA, Go away, cuz, he's British!

If the situation was reversed, you'd be screaming for American blood.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873483)

If the situation was reversed, you'd be screaming for American blood.

BZZT. Wrong. If the situation was reversed, the US would show the UK the finger and refuse to extradite one of its citizens. And there wouldn't be regular slashdot articles on it.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873661)

The US does not refuse to extradite its citizens who commit crimes over seas.

List of countries with which US has bi-directional extradition treaties:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_extradition_treaties [wikipedia.org]

Even where there is no such treaty:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_18_00003196----000-.html [cornell.edu]

It Happens a lot more than you think:
http://www.peruviantimes.com/17/american-citizen-to-be-extradited-to-peru-for-killing-wife-and-dumping-body-at-sea/3491/ [peruviantimes.com]
http://www.modernghana.com/news/70410/1/extradited-us-citizen-for-trial-today.html [modernghana.com]
http://www.justice.gov/usao/cas/press/cas11-1121-Extraditions.pdf [justice.gov]

Re:Can you image that? (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873791)

Nice info. Here's a BBC article on US-UK extradition [bbc.co.uk] .

It's not clear though that McKinnon committed a crime in the US rather than committed a crime in the UK, (which is the point that I find concerning, particularly).

Re:Can you image that? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873899)

If he did as he admitted to doing, he did commit a crime in the US. It doesn't matter where you were sitting when you did it.

It may or may not be a crime in the UK to hack a computer outside the UK.
I'm not sure any US law makes it a crime to hack a computer in the UK either.

Re:Can you image that? (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38874299)

If he did as he admitted to doing, he did commit a crime in the US. It doesn't matter where you were sitting when you did it.

It very much does. The fact that the US considers the *consequences* of his UK computations a crime on US soil is not relevant, as he was under UK jurisdiction during the entire period when it occurred.

I don't believe that it is a good idea to think along the lines you suggest. It means plain and simply that a person sitting in one country becomes subject to the laws of all countries.

For example, the US has a fairly strong tradition of free speech laws, but Iran doesn't. If a person in Ohio posts some negative comments about the prophet Mohammed, this person is (by your reasoning) committing a crime in Iran as soon as the comment passes through one of their local servers. So according to this reasoning, he/she should be handed over to be tried there on suspicion, forthwith.

There is a correct way out, and it involves trial in the UK. The US prosecutor should simply travel to the UK, and drag McKinnon through the British court system. If there is any relevant evidence, it should be brought along, and handed over as evidence to the Crown. If McKinnon is found guilty, he can be sentenced in the UK under UK law, and serve his time.

That is the only way to prevent the pathological (and in fact, highly contradictory) situation where an internet user is subject to the laws of every single country in the world simultaneously.

That is a far too sensible solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38874505)

Sadly, the US wants blood. His blood. They want him to appear on TV (especially in Election year) in an Orange Jump Suit and Chains.

Then Obama (or whoever) can claim

"We are protecting the US against Terrorists."

I fully predict that if he is extradited to the US, he will get 20+ years in a SuperMax prison just to teach him a lesson. I also predict that he'll never leave the US Prison system. Some people in the US will trumpet this as a victory for US Justice.

This totally ignores the fact that the systems he hacked into were almost wide open. He did the US a favour.

Actually, the more I think about this, the more I think that it is not about justice but the principle. As such the US won't budge and inch. They want his blood.

Re:Can you image that? (1, Interesting)

ToddInSF (765534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875115)

"I don't believe that it is a good idea to think along the lines you suggest. It means plain and simply that a person sitting in one country becomes subject to the laws of all countries."

Until you get harmed by someone in another country, they you'd be here crying about how unfair it is that some asshat in another country can use technology to screw with you.

I wonder if you have the same problem with the existence of the EU.

Re:Can you image that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875313)

It doesn't matter whether OP cries or not. His point still stands: unless you live in the US or any other country that uses its position to coerce other countries to do their bidding, you already know how stupid it is to try to force your country's laws down someone else's throat.

This is basically a case of "might makes right". US has de facto worldwide jurisdiction because it says so.

Of course, it's more difficult to objectively see who the aggressor is when you're part of it.

tl;dr: crying is irrelevant; US disregard for the sovereignty and laws of other countries: that's what's relevant here.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

ToddInSF (765534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875335)

If it's really about " the sovereignty and laws of other countries: that's what's relevant here."

The relevant treaties regarding this issue work both ways, rendering the "US is the aggressor" stance irrelevant and atypically reactionary.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875961)

ToddinSF wrote :- I wonder if you have the same problem with the existence of the EU

I certainly do.

Re:Can you image that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875287)

For example, the US has a fairly strong tradition of free speech laws, but Iran doesn't.

I _know_ this isn't really part of your point, but I can't help myself.

The only tradition here is that the US deceives its people about it's level of free speech, where Iran et al. are more honest about the limits on free speech.

I think we should rename it to fee speech.

Re:Can you image that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875727)

You're extending what the comment you're replying to said. Real-life laws and governments extend it, too - which they shouldn't do - but there's still a principle there which may be the basis of a good one.

If you intentionally cause a hammer to hit someone's head you may be guilty of murder. This is true even if there's an international border between the two of you (and you committed a crime where the victim was standing because that's where your actions had their effect). If you intentionally cause a computer in another country to perform an action which is illegal then the situation is the same. If you, remotely, destroy the data on a computer located in the US and belonging to someone else then I'd consider that a crime committed in the US by you.

Now consider this scenario: someone in Ohio causes servers in Iran to serve material denying the holocaust. Then someone in France causes the server in Iran to send him the material Holocaust denial is not illegal in Ohio or Iran (possibly it's positively encouraged), but it is illegal in France. However, the Ohian has not caused any computer to perform any action in France (the downloader has performed the actions in France and Iran that made the download happen). And so he shouldn't be subject to extradition or arrest to France. He might be, but he certainly shouldn't be.

As for extradition, I think that this should not happen in any of several circumstances: the target legal system is not up to appropriate standards, the perpetrator is likely to suffer persecution of some sort, the crime can be prosecuted locally, the crime is too trivial or the crime is not a crime under local law. There are probably more I haven't thought of, and I suspect that lawyers in most places would already not be surprised by any of them.

Unfortunately, governments often go beyond both of these criteria, and the US often has the most power to do so within developed nations. Gary Mckinnon should be prosecuted locally, as should the Megaupload owners, if they've committed a crime locally and haven't themselves been using servers in the US.

Re:Can you image that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38880511)

For example, the US has a fairly strong tradition of free speech laws, but Iran doesn't. If a person in Ohio posts some negative comments about the prophet Mohammed, this person is (by your reasoning) committing a crime in Iran as soon as the comment passes through one of their local servers. So according to this reasoning, he/she should be handed over to be tried there on suspicion, forthwith.

Think about this. There is an extradition treaty between the US and the UK, but none between the US and Iran. It should be totally obvious why and it makes your comment completely pointless. Is the US law against illegally accessing military computers a human rights violation? You're either a fucking moron or pretending to be one.

Re:Can you image that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38875819)

It may or may not be a crime in the UK to hack a computer outside the UK.
I'm not sure any US law makes it a crime to hack a computer in the UK either.

If the act wouldn't have been a crime ten years ago in both countries they would be able to proceed with extradition anyway. The question is whether they have to apply the extradition agreements valid during the time of the crime, or do they have the option of applying the 2003 US-EU agreement.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878565)

The relevant law is The Computer Misuse Act 1990 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/18/contents [legislation.gov.uk]

5 Significant links with domestic jurisdiction.

(1)The following provisions of this section apply for the interpretation of section 4 above.

(2)In relation to an offence under section 1, either of the following is a significant link with domestic jurisdiction—
(a)that the accused was in the home country concerned at the time when he did the act which caused the computer to perform the function; or

[F1(b)that any computer containing any program or data to which the accused by doing that act secured or intended to secure unauthorised access, or enabled or intended to enable unauthorised access to be secured, was in the home country concerned at that time.]

(3)In relation to an offence under section 3, either of the following is a significant link with domestic jurisdiction—
(a)that the accused was in the home country concerned at the time when [F2he did the unauthorised act (or caused it to be done)] ; or
[F3(b)that the unauthorised act was done in relation to a computer in the home country concerned.]

Re:Can you image that? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878965)

So as far as the UK is concerned its perfectly legal to hack a foreign computer.
Just don't hack one of theirs.

Re:Can you image that? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38881205)

No. It is illegal to:
o be in the uk while hacking a computer
o hack a computer in the uk

Re:Can you image that? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873919)

From your linked article:

The Home Office's massive review of extradition says that the US has not refused any extradition requests since the treaty came into force.

So I take it that is a full retraction of your BZZT Wrong post?

Re:Can you image that? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38874379)

Facts are facts. I agree that the US would give some consideration to a comparable UK request.

End, or begin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38872555)

Is his case about to end, or about to begin?
That's the neat thing about these super long, drawn-out cases: punishment guaranteed, even if the prosecution eventually loses.

Re:End, or begin? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873107)

It isn't the end.
It isn't even the beginning of the end.
But it is near the end of the beginning.

Apologies to Sir Winston.

Aside from this (0)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38873469)

Aside from the issues of the case, it's a reminder that we've had a space fleet for at least a decade. What has been done and where have we gone in that time? The mind boggles. Gingrich's suggestion for a moon base is probably 10 years obsolete.

Let him kill himself. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38874053)

Then everybody wins. The assholes supporting the criminal get to pretend they were right, and the US gets one more dead terrorist.

Escape clause: Pretend you'll kill yourself (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875303)

Wow, this new escape clause should be even easier to wield than "temporary insanity." All you have to do is convince a couple doctors you MIGHT get suicidal if deported, and you get off scott free.

Clue in: If you violate a foreign nation's laws and your home country has an extradition treaty with them, you're HOOPED.

Re:Escape clause: Pretend you'll kill yourself (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38876019)

Not at all, if he isn't extradited he'll face trial in the UK.

The only caveat however is that this has been dragging on so long that I suspect even if found guilty in the UK now any judge will say he has suffered punishment enough and probably not make him spend even a minute in jail. If they do I think that's a pretty fair assessment - the mental anguish something like this must cause being dragged out over 10 years is pretty awful.

Relax... (3, Funny)

jholyhead (2505574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38875453)

All he has to do is tweet a bad joke about getting drunk and humping Marilyn Monroe's corpse and DHS will deport his ass back to the UK.
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