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MacKinnon Extradition Blocked By UK Home Secretary

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the assange-lite dept.

Crime 258

RockDoctor writes "BBC radio news (2012-10-16 GMT 13:00) is reporting that the Home Secretary has blocked the extradition of Gary MacKinnon to the U.S. for (alleged) computer hacking crimes. Paraphrasing: the Director of Public Prosecutions is going to have to decide if there is sufficient evidence for him to be tried in the UK for crimes committed in (or from) the UK. " (Also at The Independent.)

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258 comments

A pity (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667721)

I'm a UK citizen and I have little sympathy for him. HIs defence played the old suicide card with a side serving of poor-little-me aspergers sufferer. As if that somehow makes him innocent of his crimes. If thats alls that needed to get someone off going to prison then most prisons would be empty.

This sends a very bad message. And yes, I know I'll get modded down for this by all the self righteous teen keyboard warriors but I have karma to burn to knock yourselves out.

Re:A pity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667741)

Angry much?

Re:A pity (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667745)

He has an independently verified medical condition which makes him a high-risk for suicide. That doesn't make him innocent of his crimes; if you'd bother to read the article you'd see his case is now under consideration for prosecution in the UK.

This has stopped his extradition, not him being liable for his actions.

Re:A pity (0)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667923)

It's bollocks. Sending anyone to a foreign country, with a comparatively harsh penal system to serve 60 years is going to massively increase the risk of them committing suicide. I've seen nothing in this case that makes me think that his 'condition' should have any baring on whether he was extradited or not (regardless of whether the extradition should have happened for other reasons or not).

I'm fed up of seeing people abuse provisions that are put in place to protect those with genuine medical/pschological needs and getting away with it.

Re:A pity (4, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668235)

Even if he has exaggerated his health reasons for blocking extradition, don't you think the U.S. authorities have exaggerated the damage he did? They definitely have prior form, just look at how they stitched up Kevin Mitnick. Bear in mind he was a U.S. citizen with constitutional rights. Imagine what they'd do to a foreigner.

60 years is way over the top and a sentence that U.S. judges would have been likely to hand down given his efforts to "evade justice" by delaying extradition for so long. It's about time the U.K. started protecting it's own citizens from over-zealous foreign interference. U.S. citizens would demand the same of their government.

He committed a crime in the U.K., it's always where he should have been tried. He would have served his time and been a free man long ago.

Re:A pity (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668445)

I'm fed up of seeing people abuse provisions that are put in place to protect those with genuine medical/pschological needs and getting away with it.

I've never met the man, have you? Odd how you can diagnose a person as "sane" with no medical background and never having met him. Personally, I tend to believe the medical professionals who actually studied medicine and who actally had face to face contact, rather than from some stupid newspaper reporter.

TLDR: Why do you doubt the diagnosis of a health professional?

Re:A pity (4, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668121)

I've always thought that someone should be prosecuted in England for alleged crimes allegedly committed in England. The US may be the alleged victim in this case but I don't see that it has any other role.

Re:A pity (1)

qbast (1265706) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668545)

What's the problem? Put him in isolation room with constant suicide watch for duration of sentence. Just like did for Bradley Manning. I believe this would actually decrease suicide risk to well below average.

Re:A pity (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667753)

No one is saying he's innocent. The case is now going off to the DPP for appraisel. The issue is about using an extradition treaty designed to process terrorists for sending over people for other offences, especially when the sentence is FAR worse in the US than it would be in the UK. I don't think anyone, himself included thinks he's innocent, it's the process that's wrong.

Re:A pity (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668039)

Agreed. He is probably guilty, but he should be tried in the UK, for the crimes he committed THERE, not in the U.S. (where he's never even been).

Clearly Guilty (5, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668145)

No one is saying he's innocent.

Indeed - he is guilty of embarrassing the pentagon which might be a truly terrible crime in the US but is somewhat less so in the UK.

Re:A pity (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667757)

So what exactly were his crimes? What damage did he cause? It's pretty much proven that he isn't a foreign agent and did not forward any information to other people.

Re:A pity (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667853)

So what exactly were his crimes? What damage did he cause? It's pretty much proven that he isn't a foreign agent and did not forward any information to other people.

We needed a boogy man to scare people with now that Kevin Mitnick isn't so scary. The modern witch hunt... some individuals must suffer for the amusement of the masses and control games of the elite. Our lapdogs in the UK are not cooperating. Bush probably would have already started bombing the UK in retaliation, but Obama will probably think of some other way to screw things up.

Its amusing to strip away the internet BS in his case and come up with analogies to breaking into a public library and photocopying stuff from the restricted collection. Yeah, he's a crook, but so small time as to scarcely be worth looking at, getting the USA witch trial treatment is a wee bit excessive.

Re:A pity (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668061)

Bush probably would have already started bombing the UK in retaliation, but Obama will probably think of some other way to screw things up

If Mitt wins the bombers will be on their way soon enough

Re:A pity (5, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667903)

Unauthorised access to computer material contrary to S1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The maximum penalty for that in the UK is 2 years in prison, although as this is not a very serious example of the offence, it is likely he would get a much lower prison term, probably in the order of a couple of months at most.

What were his crimes? (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667975)

His most heinous crime was to embarrass the US government and to show that the security on a lot of the defense computers was paper-thin to non-existent.

On top of that, he demonstrated that it was simple, to the point of trivial to gain access to them and the information they contained. He was never going to be given a fair trial in the USA (as nobody who is extradited to the US ever gets - the cost of mounting a legal defence in the country makes that impossible) and was going to be part of a show trial to make an example of.

The biggest tragedy in this whole sorry episode is that it went on for so long and the next biggest tragedy is that so many other people were extradited to the USA and became victims of it's imprisonment (I nearly said "justice") system.

Re:A pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668357)

He hacked into computer systems and caused no actual damage. The Pentagon asked hollywood accountants to come up with the quoted clean-up cost.

Re:A pity (3, Funny)

EasyTarget (43516) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667789)

Awwww.. has society been being nice to people again, and delivering appropriate justice rather than the fantasies of right-wing bullies.
That must really make assholes like you mad.

Re:A pity (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667857)

"That must really make aRSEholes like you mad."

There FTFY.

"fantasies of right-wing bullies"

So making someone account for what they've done is being a right wing bully is it Mr Liberal Lefty bed wetter? You're probably the sort of deluded hand wringer who would think a mugger is simply a victim of an unfair society and give him a pat on the head and tell him run along now and not to do it again.

Re:A pity (0, Troll)

EasyTarget (43516) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667941)

I think you accidentally ended up in an adult forum; BBC kids site is here [bbc.co.uk] ; or try the daily mail [wikia.com] .

Re:A pity (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668041)

EasyTarget, plz don't feed the trolls. He's provably ignorant of the facts and background of the case and he doesn't really have any excuse for it in this day and age. Just let him rant quietly in a corner about this one

I'm not sure about the Daily Fail though, they seem to be supporting the decision. Who whudda thunk it? Oh, wait, they're waving the Jingoist Patriotism flag over this one, not the Balance of Justice flag. Shame, so close...

Re:A pity (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668097)

Exactly, a hacker should be tried in the country WHERE THEY ACTUALLY DID THE HACKING. That's pretty basic. I certainly wouldn't expect the FBI to put a U.S. hacker on a plane to the UK for hacking some server there. The crime was committed at a terminal in the UK, and that is where it should be tried.

Re:A pity (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668379)

Exactly, a hacker should be tried in the country WHERE THEY ACTUALLY DID THE HACKING.

To play both Devil's Advocate and Captain Pedantic for a moment, you're talking about "where the accused was physically located," which is not the same as "where the crime is said to have occured" - especially once you get lawyers involved.

If I shoot someone from across a border, where was the crime committed?

Re:A pity (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668407)

If I shoot someone from across a border, where was the crime committed?

Where the person pulled the trigger and actually committed the crime, unless you think getting shot is a crime too.

Ah the irony (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668551)

Ah , standard defeated liberal retort #5. Imply other person is stupid and/or childish and has no idea of the facts.

Do try to be a bit more original instead of cut and pasting from the usual script.

Re:A pity (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667973)

Try looking at the motive, rather than the 'damage done' (which is virtually none anyway, apart from embarrassment maybe). Motive is what counts if we are going to punish or lock up people.

Re:A pity (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668215)

Well, if you listen to the Justice Department, it's the biggest hack of all time*, ever ever ever, cross their hearts and hope to die. I'm glad we seem to be basing this on the motive of a man, taking into account his affliction with Asperger's.

*This seems to imply that the Justice Department are denying anything bigger than this ever having happened to them. Yeah, right!

Re:A pity (2)

JosKarith (757063) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668547)

To use your analogy this is like trying to have said mugger extradited to America to stand in front of Hangin' Judge Parker because the victim was an American tourist rather than have the little scrote be sentenced in a UK court.

Re:A pity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667805)

Let's be honest about this. The intent was to make it possible for him to stay and be trialled in the UK. Right now, legislation and experience in US-UK extradition cases is stil young. Theresa May is still fumbling about, as we can see with the new protocols announced today (i.e. the 'forum test'). The suicide defence is, while a technicality, still perfectly fine because it means that we're not giving him up to the US which would hold up a far more damaging precedent than the one you seem to be worrying about. At the end of the day, he's British, and I don't care what technicality his lawyers engage, as long as his rights as a British citizen are protected.

And it's worth mentioning that, if extradited, Gary would indeed relapse into depression and commit suicide. What on earth would he have to live for?

Re:A pity (5, Insightful)

BenJury (977929) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667815)

If you've committed a crime in the UK then you should be tried in the UK. It should be as simple as that.

Re:A pity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668125)

If you've committed a crime in the UK then you should be tried in the UK. It should be as simple as that.

America is the world's bully. Their motto seems to be "my justice is my justice, your justice is my justice also".
Let's start a kickstarter campaign and nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:A pity (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667817)

I'm a UK citizen and I have little sympathy for him.

Now that is a pity.

HIs defence played the old suicide card with a side serving of poor-little-me aspergers sufferer. As if that somehow makes him innocent of his crimes.

Well, then you're a damn fool, and proudly ignorant of the case it would seem.

The entire argument is, and always has been that he should be tried in the UK.

Now I've demonstrated that your entire opinion is based on an incorrect understanding of the facts, will you recant, or keep on ranting as a righteous middle-aged keyboard warrior?

Re:A pity (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667971)

The entire argument is, and always has been that he should be tried in the UK.

From the article:

The home secretary told MPs there was no doubt Mr McKinnon was "seriously ill" and the extradition warrant against him should be withdrawn.

Mrs May said the sole issue she had to consider was his human rights.

She said it was now for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, to decide whether he should face trial in the UK.

Mrs May said: "After careful consideration of all of the relevant material I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights. I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against Mr McKinnon."

That sounds to me like the extradition has been completely rejected whether or not he is tried in the UK for his alleged activities.

Re:A pity (4, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668247)

Mrs May said the sole issue she had to consider was his human rights.

Have you been actually following the topic for the last 10 years?

I have.

Repeatedly the argument has been that if he is to face trial it should be in the UK.

Remember, though that legal cases are not argued by finding one good solid point like a debate, they are argued by covering everything to see what sticks. The fact that the current home secretary decided to latch on to one partiaspect of it does not detract to what has been the point for the last 10 years.

The McKinnon family has made no attempt to prevent him from standing trial.

They have only attempted to block his extradition.

Randomly quoting bits from a politician who has been in a position of power for only a tiny fraction of the case is completely irrelevent.

Re:A pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667823)

He was being extradited without evidence to be tried in a foreign country.

All of what you wrote is moot.

Re:A pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667833)

HIs defence played the old suicide card with a side serving of poor-little-me aspergers sufferer.

Still better than a Slashdotter playing the poor-little-me-is-gonna-be-downmodded card. Go back under your bridge.

Re:A pity (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667837)

There is something called an insanity defense you know.

Also I seriously doubt prison capacity is a valid argument for anything relating to justice.

I doubt it (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667863)

I very much doubt you are a UK citizen. Nobody other than Tony Blair, Mandelson and Alastair Campbell thought that treaty was a good idea; didn't John McCain say it was too one-sided?

Blair would have handed over the UK to the US lock, stock and barrel in exchange for a word from Bush iii (and some lucrative "consultancy" from a US bank). And the others...while there are libel laws in the UK I can't trust myself to write about Campbell or Mandelson.

Be carted off the the US without the US court having to show even prima facie evidence? There was a time and a place where foreign nationals could be extradited like that, but the time was prior to 1990 and the place was the satellite states of the Soviet Union.

Re:I doubt it (-1, Troll)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667905)

"I very much doubt you are a UK citizen."

Doubt away all you like pal. Not everyone in the UK is a bed wetting lefty sobbing over a Guardian editorial about criminals human rights.

Re:I doubt it (2)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668093)

"I very much doubt you are a UK citizen."

Doubt away all you like pal. Not everyone in the UK is a bed wetting lefty sobbing over a Guardian editorial about criminals human rights.

Yes, the well known left wing media like the Daily Mail were all for his extradition [dailymail.co.uk] , and the BNP [blogspot.co.uk] are known to be quite cuddly too.
</sarcasm>

Re:I doubt it (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668163)

Doubt away all you like pal. Not everyone in the UK is a bed wetting lefty sobbing over a Guardian editorial about criminals human rights.

Sigh.

I really, truly hope you are not a UK citizen.

Firstly, your comment about "snivelling" whatever, makes me sure that you are one of those who is capable of thinking about issues only interms of a team cheering us-versus them party political context, rather than trying to think and come to your own, reasoned, conclusion.

People voting along your lines are basically what is wrong with democracy. Please, refrain from voting. You are personally respondible for making democracy the worst system (except all others).

Frankly it's insane that you think that basic legal rights are a left-versus-right thing not a right versus wrong thing.

You also seem to think that putting "criminal" in front of something automatically has some bearing. And if you think criminals shouldn't have rights, then why not have the death penalty for almost every crime? After all, who cares about criminal rights?

The measure of a civilisation is not how it treates its conformists but how it treats its dissidents. (quote from someone famous...)

I'd be willing to bet that you hate the European convention on human rights too.

Re:I doubt it (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668479)

Your use of "Pal" (an Americanism) and "bed wetting lefty" - a popular term with the American Right - goes rather to sustain my thesis. I'm prepared to believe that you have dual nationality, though, given some of the people they give citizenship to nowadays. Unfortunately

Re:A pity (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667877)

I'd agree if the idea he should be extradited to face the possible penalties he could face in America were in any way sane.

When the Americans were putting forward such absurdly inflated figures for damage and recommending such absurd levels of punishment, then I don't really blame him for the excuse he used.

It seems the only way to get sanity in the case was for them to bring their own extreme scenario into the equation, the Aspergers excuse did after all only enter the discussion after some years of them trying to just be reasonable and rational about things.

So honestly, if you think it's silly that people can use this excuse to avoid extradition then fine, but if you think he also deserved to face extradition and upto 60 years in prison for what frankly, was little more than a bit of vandalism and arguably not even really that, then I think you need to get a bit of a grip on reality.

Honestly, what he did was arguably more harmless than even getting a speeding ticket, at least speeding tickets are there to try and deter anyone driving in such a way they cause physical harm to someone else. All Gary's actions did was cause a bit of embarassment and result in a bit of their IT staff's time be spent sorting out the security issues they should've sorted out as part of their day to day employment so he couldn't have logged in to their systems using a blank password anyway.

Re:A pity (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667899)

You can get out of prison for anything if your judge is in a good enough mood and you have a inventive lawer.

For example, getting off of the murder charge because you are a woman (http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2005/12/08/1836110.htm#d).

Re:A pity (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668339)

For example, getting off of the murder charge because you are a woman

No, getting off on a murder change because you have a massive hormonal imbalance which causes you to become uncontrollaby violent.

1981: Twenty-nine-year-old barmaid Sandie Craddock got off a murder charge after stabbing another worker to death when she pleaded diminished responsibility because of PMS. The judge accepted the argument that PMS was a mitigating factor in the incident because it turned Craddock "into a raging animal each month". A review of Craddock's diaries showed that each of her past 30 convictions and multiple suicide attempts occurred around the same time of her menstrual cycle. Craddock was found guilty of manslaughter, placed on probation and ordered to take progesterone treatment.

Not saying the judge was right or wrong, but out of the three of us (you, me, and him) I'd say he's the one who's more carefully considered all the evidence.

Re:A pity (5, Insightful)

martinux (1742570) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667983)

As someone who has lived with a person suffering from a debilitating mental health issue I hope I'm not the first to say, "fuck you". Your opinion displays a lack of compassion for someone who was being disproportionately hounded by those who wanted to hide their own ineptitude by making him an example.

Mr. McKinnon was formally diagnosed. Your perception that he's some pretender looking for an escape is grossly judgemental. He and his representatives have repeatedly asked for a trial on UK soil.

I hope someone more objective and compassionate than you stands up for your rights if they're ever in peril.
I don't have karma to burn, I don't need a shield to be a decent human being.

Re:A pity (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668057)

Honestly if the US authorities had wanted him for some computer security violations, he'd probably have been sent over, tried and even if found guilty would be back in England having served his sentence by now, with little to no public fuss.

The US authorities' insistence on throwing the book at anyone who makes them look stupid caused them more problems than it was worth, and the people defending him had been so zealous in their defence that they'd managed to convince themselves that he hadn't done anything wrong.

Re:A pity (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668169)

His defence wasn't "I have aspergers syndrome", it was "sorry, I cracked your system, looked around, did no damage, and then told you about it... I didn't realise it was a big deal because of aspergers."

Frankly, his crime is akin to someone picking your locker door, and then going "look, you shouldn't store your wallet in here when you're swimming, it's not very secure". Sure, it's not a good thing to do, and sure it should get a slap on the wrist... But to turn this into the life imprisonment crime the US are making it out to be, and to extradite over it, is retarded.

Re:A pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668439)

He embarassed the US military, he should be given a medal for that.

Re:A pity (1)

KeyboardWarrior90 (2753853) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668287)

"Let the punishment fit the crime". This isn't about whether Gary McKinnon is innocent or guilty. I don't think anyone doubts the fact he committed a crime. The simple fact is that he (allegedly) hacked some computer systems causing some minor outages and copied some data. The total cost of fixing the problem was apparently $700,000. I don't know about you, but I personally think that a couple of years of prison is enough for that. There were no victims and $700,000 is a drop in the pond relatively speaking. The bankers have wiped billions off the global economy and I haven't heard of one of them facing a single day of jail. You could even argue that he did the US military a favour. The hack he used was trivial; if an enemy country (e.g. Iran) had done the same thing the consequences might not have been so benign. The security was a joke and it needed to be fixed. We need to stand up for our citizens and their rights. We shouldn't bend over and let foreign countries stick it to us just because we have to be whiter than white and abide by the rules to the letter. We have been doing a lot of that recently. If Gary McKinnon were extradited to the US he would face jail time more than an order of magnitude higher than our justice system had decided is reasonable. Furthermore, I frankly doubt he would get a fair trial. The US military would be pushing for revenge. The US has a long standing history of xenophobia and isolationism (usually masked as patriotism). It would be a question of burning the dirty foreigner at the stake. We shouldn't even have an extradition treaty with a country that has admitted they torture people.

Re:A pity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668319)

fuck you fagget

you just don't know what his defence is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668489)

His defence was that there was no case to answer for.

The case had been plumped up so that it fell within the parameters of the extradiction orders.
The crime he was accused of was changed to one that DID NOT EXIST at the time of the crime (no post facto law) to pass that parameter for the extradition orders.
The act had been looked at by the UK court prosecutors and they did not see a case worth prosecuting.
The extradition treaty does not require the USA to hand over ANY evidence for their claims, claiming it is all they need do. Verification is unnecessary. And this is a breech of his human rights.

Even a stopped clock... (4, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667733)

Even a stopped clock gets it right twice a day.

Re:Even a stopped clock... (1)

alexo (9335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668371)

Even a stopped clock gets it right twice a day.

Still living in the analog era, I see.

A good decision (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667749)

A good decision on its own merits, I think. His crimes were made out to be first degree murder by the US side, and he was going to go down for a LONG time for something that script kiddies do quite often.The guy obviously has something wrong with him, and he'd unlikely get a fair hearing in the States, where the favourite sport of the rich and powerful is to inflate claimed harm in court cases to crucify people they don't like (e.g. Kevin Mitnick causing a billion dollars damage and able to start nuclear war with a payphone).

That said, in context, it looks terrible. After what happened to Abu Hamza and friends, it says that if you're brown and Muslim, you're going to get thrown to the wolves. But if you're white, you're all right. I have zero sympathy for sub-human shit like Abu Hamza -- but the apparent double-standard is a very bad look.

Re:A good decision (3, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668363)

After what happened to Abu Hamza and friends

Probably more so the "and friends", two of whom appear to have been doing nothing more than running a website providing information, something I was under the mistaken impression that the US defends vigorously as free speech, even when it is bigotted speech full of hatred. Hamza himself does appear to have been directly involved in crimes physically committed on American soil, so extradition is appropriate in his case. The remaining two friends are accused of involvement in attacks on the US embassy in Yemen, which is slightly more dubious, but still as physical attacks, and given that there is no reasonable expectation that Yemen will pursue appropriate prosecution, I don't think any comparison to MacKinnon's case is justified.

USA - Average Joe (3, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667773)

Does the US citizen - Average Joe (or above average) know or care about this?
On a personal note, I'm shocked the government made a choice for a person over a corporation/lobby group/foreign power. First time In my life I think I've agreed with a home secretary?!?! must be getting old.

Re:USA - Average Joe (2)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668131)

Does the US citizen - Average Joe (or above average) know or care about this?
  On a personal note, I'm shocked the government made a choice for a person over a corporation/lobby group/foreign power. First time In my life I think I've agreed with a home secretary?!?! must be getting old.

This is an unusual case, which has found most of us "liberals" on the same side as the BNP and Daily Mail.

Re:USA - Average Joe (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668227)

ohh - I don't like that idea, best send him over ASAP. Hmm, and bring Mr Hamza back with an apology, a pay off and a big house in Kensington.

More Markist bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667779)

If you want to listen to the music, pay the artist!

All you god damn tree-hugging lefty pinko fags wanting to live off the government and get free music and pot.

HOW DARE YOU! I work for a living. I pay for my SUV myself. Every tax credit I get *I*EARN*. You parasites should be paying MY taxes. I have 14 kids, so I am definitely a good person.

Fucking hippies.

Re:More Markist bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667927)

i'm the only one get the sarcasm on this one?

Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667785)

It's the right decision, finally, but for the worse reasons.

Suicide risk?

Well, that implies that you shouldn't extradite because aof suicide risk. What about murderers? What about holding "terrorist" suspects for 10 years without trial? Does that lead to a suicide risk? Should you simply not incarcerate people who are at risk of suicide?

He never left the UK and if what he did was illegal here, then he should be tried herre.

It is simply not right that one must know the laws of an artibray number of other countries even if you've never visited them. Secondly, the guy has a mental condition. He should be getting help (on the NHS no less) than this treatment.

Finally, the authorities should have been ashamed into silence that their systems were insecure. Instead, they are simply lying about the damage done. If sensitive systems were that insecure, then that amount of fixing/upgrading/replacing was already required whether or not they successfully detected an intrusion.

In other worde they are also lying about the damage.

Still, good for McKinnon and a weak blow for justice. The right decision for the wrong reasons is better than the wrong decisions.

Now all we need is to overturn this ludicrous, one-sided and outright unjust act before too many more lives are ruined.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667811)

His medical condition makes him a risk for suicide; it's been determined by several clinicians that this is not an idle threat. That's a world of difference to everyone else trying it as a defence against court action.

You might want to go look up Asperger's before you recommend he gets help; it's not a condition that can be treated, merely managed. It doesn't go away, there are no magic pills.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (0)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667929)

It is simply not right that one must know the laws of an artibray number of other countries even if you've never visited them.

Hacking into systems you don't have official access to is illegal in the UK just as much as it is in the US.
So he didn't need to know the laws of another country to know that what he did was illegal.

And that he wasn't in the US when he commited a crime in the US is a weak argument too.
If you stand on the French-German border on the French side and I on the German side and I shoot you, wouldn't I have commited a crime in France (as well as in Germany, of course)?

Secondly, the guy has a mental condition.

He has Asperger's Syndrome. That doesn't stop him from knowing right from wrong or how laws work.

If sensitive systems were that insecure, then that amount of fixing/upgrading/replacing was already required whether or not they successfully detected an intrusion.

So if I break into your house because you have crappy locks it's not that bad?
Also, the costs probably are not only about upgrading the security system but also analysing what data he accessed and whether he changed anything, copied any codes that need to be changed etc.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668037)

Hacking into systems you don't have official access to is illegal in the UK just as much as it is in the US. So he didn't need to know the laws of another country to know that what he did was illegal.

Yeah, buit it won't get you life in a PIMTA prison in the UK. Apparently you need to know enough about US law to know that breaking the law in the UK is a bad idea because you might be hauled overseas to a much nastier legal system.

If you stand on the French-German border on the French side and I on the German side and I shoot you, wouldn't I have commited a crime in France (as well as in Germany, of course)?

It simplifies things greatly that it's the same crime with the same penalties in both places more or less. Not the case here. And yeah sure. Why not try you in Germany? You were in Germany when you committed murder. Get tried there.

He has Asperger's Syndrome. That doesn't stop him from knowing right from wrong or how laws work.

How well do you know details of his mental condition?

So if I break into your house because you have crappy locks it's not that bad?

No, but if you try to claim the cost of upgrading the locks is because of me breaking in, then you'd be a liar, like the US government in this case.

Also, the costs probably are not only about upgrading the security system but also analysing what data he accessed and whether he changed anything, copied any codes that need to be changed etc.

Except that they needed to do that anyway. Once they found that their systems were insecure and on the public internet, they should have followed those procedures. In case someone muuch more competent, e.g. from a foreign power had been in as well but had hidden his tracks much better.

If they'd been following any kind of reasonable position it would have cost exactly the same if a security consultant told them that their systems were insecure.

That doesn't make what McKinnon did a not a crime, but it does make them a bunch of lying assholes.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (3, Informative)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668073)

"Also, the costs probably are not only about upgrading the security system"

He got in because they used a blank password for some accounts.

I'd argue that no cost was caused the US in terms of fixing the security holes, because it's something their staff should be doing routinely as part of their job in the first place so effectively in this respect all Gary did was expose the fact that the government was paying staff who weren't doing what they were paid to do.

I agree there will have been some cost to doing an audit of what he accessed etc. but nothing close to the inflated figure the US provided, or if it was that high, then they should again thank him for making them aware of the fact they're paying their IT staff and/or contractors a good few orders of magnitude too much.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668225)

It is simply not right that one must know the laws of an artibray number of other countries even if you've never visited them.

Hacking into systems you don't have official access to is illegal in the UK just as much as it is in the US.
So he didn't need to know the laws of another country to know that what he did was illegal.

Right. So, as a Scot, when in England, he allegedly committed a crime in England which was against English law. So he should be tried in England, and, if found guilty, imprisoned in Scotland (because he's one of our citizens, and in Europe there's a general presumption that people should be imprisoned in their own country). The USA has no role in this, other than to sit quiet and await the outcome of the trial.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668383)

And that he wasn't in the US when he commited a crime in the US is a weak argument too. If you stand on the French-German border on the French side and I on the German side and I shoot you, wouldn't I have commited a crime in France (as well as in Germany, of course)?

This is absolutely fundamental to why this extradition cannot have been allowed to occur. He is not a spy, he didn't send the information he uncovered to anyone else, and he didn't cause any damage beyond identifying a weakness in security which shouldn't have existed in the first place. In the UK, under the provisions of the Computer Misuse Act, he'd get a maximum of 2 years in prison. In the US, he'd be tried as a terrorist and faced sixty years in federal prison.

Let's take that to your France / Germany analogy above. You stand on the border and throw a stone at a policeman in France. In Germany, you're charged with assault and get probation. If extradited to France, you're charged with GBH and attempted murder and you spend the rest of your natural life in an 8 x 6 cage with a hairy-backed bear named Jim.

Re:Right, but for the worst reasons possible. (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668487)

Yes the suicide risk is important, since you don't really want someone to die just because an example is wanted to show punishment will be handed out to minor trespassers.
This has all been an enormous waste of time for a crime that is more petty then minor shoplifting.
As said above (and in many other similar cases eg. the ones listed in Bruce Sterling's "The Hacker Crackdown"), the "damage" cannot be honestly quantified in the amounts claimed. It's funny how perjury doesn't apply to such wild claims from those asking for extradition.

David Cameron had no alternative ...... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667819)

When he was in opposition, he scored a lot of political points by defending Gary MacKinnon, accusing the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown Labour Party of being US lapdogs.

If he hadn't blocked the extradition, it would have been a PR nightmare for him and the Conservatives.

Re:David Cameron had no alternative ...... (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667979)

Given the timing I can't help but feel we gave them Abu Hamza and the other 4 'terror' suspects in return for them letting this go without a major fuss. That both your premise and mine both are based on the assumption that actual human rights and morality were largely irrelevant says something about our countries politics.

Re:David Cameron had no alternative ...... (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668403)

Given the timing I can't help but feel we gave them Abu Hamza and the other 4 'terror' suspects in return for them letting this go without a major fuss. That both your premise and mine both are based on the assumption that actual human rights and morality were largely irrelevant says something about our countries politics.

I have to confess that, while I don't think Gary McKinnon should be extradited to the US to face trial for an alleged offence committed in England, I can't help suspecting that the 'medical condition' which he has which gave rise to this decision was 'white skin syndrome'.

Carly Rae Abagnale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667871)

Hey I just hacked you, and I may be crazy, but I was looking for ET, so don't extradite me...

Re:Carly Rae Abagnale (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668095)

Hey I just hacked you, and I may be crazy, but I was looking for ET, so don't extradite me...

Sorry, our alien overlords insist

right idea wrong reasons (2)

thuf1rhawat (2647299) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667931)

Sorry someone shouldn't avopid trial on teh basis that they are will commit suicide. However if someone commits a crime they should be tried in teh jurisdiction they were in when they comitted a crime. lets seperate the fact that this involves computers from it and examine a less recent communication method. If i had in 1979 phoned an individual in the us and made credible death threats would i have been extradited to the us, or would i probably have been prosecuted here in the UK. he was not subject to us laws when he commited teh crime, he was however subject to uk laws where what he did was also an offence. Teh problem for me seems to be that the powers that be were concerned that under UK law his aspergers woudl have been ( and IANAL so the precise nomeclature i use may be incorrect) used as a mitigating factor or defence whereas US law pretty much allows people with the mental age of 12 year olds to be executed. therefore rather than prsoecute him here where it may have failed and then ttry to extradite him where the fact he had already been tried for teh crime may have allowed him to invoke double jeopardy, they decided to ship him off to the states. Can we extradite George w bush to the Uk for war crimes ( ignoring the fact we haven't even prosecuted our own politicians for this). basically he comitted teh crime here and should have been tried here and if the powers that be didn't like the result of that trial then change the laws or try to.

Re:right idea wrong reasons (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668549)

They really don't want a death on their hands over a petty trespasser being made an example of to divert attention from the idiots that refused to do their jobs and padlock the gate. That would be counterproductive and draw attention to him just being a handy scapegoat for poor practices and not the master criminal that is alleged.

Looks good at home (2)

Uthic (931553) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667959)

I figure most Brits will be for this, even if it's just for them sticking it to the US.

Re:Looks good at home (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668051)

I hope me and the other brits are for it. They'll sort out worse internet laws off the back of it, so it may not help in the long run.

Re:Looks good at home (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668109)

I figure most Brits will be for this, even if it's just for them sticking it to the US.

Yea ... it does feel good!

Re:Looks good at home (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668181)

The US government that is, not the US in general which is full of very nice people.

Re:Looks good at home (3, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668263)

he US government that is, not the US in general which is full of very nice people.

Too late, they're going to invade now anyway.

MacKinnon or McKinnon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668023)

I am not too familiar with Mc- and Mac- names but I thought it makes a difference in spelling in that the two can't be interchanged. I'm not trying to be the grammar police, I would just like clarification on this.

Color me surprised (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668047)

Whoah, the British finally found some amount of courage ? Who knew, who knew. Maybe there's hope after all.

Re:Color me surprised (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668267)

It's not really courageous of this minister though. When the right wing and the left wing press are arguing for something, mixed with public pressure from a lot of tech-savvy people (who are actually pretty well organised for an ad-hoc collective), it requires more courage to say no to them than the US.

Re:Color me surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668337)

Whoah, the British finally found some amount of courage ? Who knew, who knew. Maybe there's hope after all.

Courage? 73 years ago Britain stood alone against international facism on principal, the US only bothering to turn up once they were provoked. Don't talk to us about courage.

why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668191)

are they still harassing this guy?

I am happy with the decision, but not the grounds (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668201)

If they had decided that it was because of the possible disproportionate sentence, or that the years of indecision had punished him enough then this would be fine. But a decision where "the sole issue she had to consider was his human rights", and the decision that "Mr McKinnon would be likely to take his own life if he was sent to face trial in the US" are bad news

I am just glad that this decision was made after we got rid of Abu Hamsa. In the UK we have a lot of Muslims who want to destroy our society and impose Sharia law. They will gladly kill themselves to do so. What's the betting that the next load of Muzzie terrorists that are due for extradition say that they will commit suicide if they do? If they attempted a suicide bombing or something it would be very hard to argue that they would not really do it. This president could be a real problem.

Re:I am happy with the decision, but not the groun (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668571)

I presume you mean "President Romney".

Seriously, your straw man won't stand up for a microsecond. If Muslim terrorists in the UK managed to lob a missile to the US, they could be tried in this country and the question of extradition to a country with a backward judicial system would not arise. Even with Abu Hamza, the real issue is whether the US has got a case or not. The suspicion is that, just like the invasion of Iraq, they are just thrashing around trying to find someone they can punish for something - a popular mode of expression in the more backward parts of the US, from where we get "Lynching".

Who is the colony now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668213)

Oh the irony...

The really interesting bit... (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41668231)

is not that Gary McKinnon is not going to be extradited, but that judges will have some discretion to decide whether an accused person should be tried in the UK instead of extraditing that person abroad.

This may not be good for Assange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668385)

Has a deal been done?

No evidence, no extradition (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41668387)

In public rhetoric they claims McKinnon is a cyber-terrorist, who committed the biggest military hack of all time and did a million worth of damage, and left the US at risk.

In terms of evidence they offered, they offered nothing. Zip.

Nobody should be extradited without evidence. He's not a cyber-terrorist, the USA isn't facing cyber-pearl-harbor, they talked up his case a lot but they offered no evidence of any of it. Under that circumstance he should be extradited.

However, the UK-US extradition law doesn't require evidence of a crime, the US can say "We want Bob Smith, he's 6'2", blue eyes, last lived at 32b The High Street, Slough", "we want him for murder", "murder is a crime in the US serious enough to use the expedited extradition". But they don't have to offer any evidence that "Bob Smith" murdered anyone. It's not part of the extradition on the UK to US leg, the other way around, US to UK, the Americans insist on evidence showing that Bob Smith actually did murder someone.

Because the evidence isn't part of the extradition, Bob can't challenge it. Being innocent is no defense against extradition under this treaty. Innocent or guilty the treaty makes no distinction. Which is why no-one should be extradited under this.

The Parliament investigation explains in details the problems with it:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201012/jtselect/jtrights/156/15608.htm

  189. Mr David Bermingham, argued that:

"if you are a United States citizen who is wanted for extradition by the United Kingdom, you have an absolute right to a hearing in a United States court where you can challenge the evidence that has been put in front of the court and present evidence of your own. If, by contrast, you are a United Kingdom citizen or somebody ordinarily resident here who is wanted by the United States, you have no such right."[195]

190. In Mr Bermingham's opinion, the UK extradited people to the US "without so much as a scrap of evidence being put in front of a UK court" which was "a grave disservice to our citizens and other people who may be the subject of extradition."[196]

195. Article 5(3) creates a two-fold problem because it allows the extradition of individuals on the basis of evidence which the CPS has deemed insufficient to prosecute in this country and the extradition of individuals where the CPS has decided there is no public interest in prosecuting.

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