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UK Hacker loses Extradition Case

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the stylish-orange-jumpsuit dept.

370

SnakeOil Steve writes to tell us that Gary McKinnon, the alleged hacker who broke into Army, Air Force, Navy, and NASA systems, has just lost his extradition case. From the article: "'My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on and there were no passwords means that there was no security,' McKinnon said, outside the hearing at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court. 'I was looking for UFOs.'"

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he's going to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302487)

<Nelson>
"Ha ha!"
</Nelson>

Nice Try (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302494)

I was just looking in that guy's house for a nice new TV. It wasn't breaking in because he left the door open.

You want to guess how well that flies? I agree it is stupid that there were no passwords on the system, but just like a yard without a fence, the fact the fence is there does not imply permission to run around there and dig up the flowers.

And it's the military. You really think you can poke around in the military's systems without them coming after you?

Re:Nice Try (1, Insightful)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302533)

Well, isn't that how people think in the online world?

"Well, I can call the guy whatever I want and insult his wife and mother cause it's the Intarweb."

"Well, I'm not really stealing when I pirate all these MP3s and movies. Information wants to be free."

"Compromising a military system shouldn't be something I get sent to Gitmo for, cause it was too easy to get in."

Time for intarweb nerds to grow up and realise that there really are consequences for actions.

Re:Nice Try (0, Flamebait)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302559)

"Time for intarweb nerds to grow up and realise that there really are consequences for actions."

I don't think anyone questions that what the guy did was wrong. The question is, should he face extradition to the US and a possible 70 year jail sentance, rather than being tried in his own country under more sane laws, with more sane sentances.

Re:Nice Try (2, Interesting)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302625)

[person in favor of the 'PATRIOT' act] : Ouch! That's cutting a little close to the bone, don't you think? Don't you want to be safe from terrorists?

[person in disfavor of the 'PATRIOT' act] : Ouch! that's cutting a little close to the bone, don't you think? Isn't it painful enough that our government is run by paranoid underachievers who want the rest of us to be to frightened to fart?

Re:Nice Try (3, Informative)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302657)

I don't think anyone questions that what the guy did was wrong. The question is, should he face extradition to the US and a possible 70 year jail sentance,

You'll probably get modded for that. Of course how unjust it would be for that 70 year sentence. Oh my god - the US is so evil. 70 YEARS!

Except it's a max of 5 years. Which I would say is lenient for stealing 950 passwords from military computers. He should get 10 years tacked on for the crime of being a fucking idiot.

Re:Nice Try (2, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302778)

It's still not very clear why he ought to be extradited though.

Does the US ever ship anyone overseas for trial ?

Re:Nice Try (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302838)

It's still not very clear why he ought to be extradited though.

He committed a crime against resources not only in another country, but of another country's government. If you mail a bomb to the president of another country, that country will ask for you to be sent over -- even though you began the crime in your country.

Does the US ever ship anyone overseas for trial ?

That's why the UK is extraditing him -- they have a reciprocal extradition treaty. If they refuse to, then the next time they want a cyberhacker from the US to be extradited, the US would refuse.

Re:Nice Try (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302883)

It also raises the issue of where the offence took place. Did the offence take place where the person acted, or where the effect of their actions was felt?

In the air-India bombing case, the accused were tried in Canada as that's where the bombs were placed on the flights, not Japan, where a baggage handler was killed, or India, where the company that owned the plane that was destroyed over international waters was headquartered.

Here I'm not meaning to compare killing 300 people with a computer security breach, just that the action and the effect were in different countries.

Re:Nice Try (1)

87C751 (205250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302745)

"Well, I'm not really stealing when I pirate all these MP3s and movies."
Actually, you're not. Copyright infringement is not theft. (unless, of course, you moonlight as a ??AA shill)

Re:Nice Try (2, Insightful)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302791)

"Well, I can call the guy whatever I want and insult his wife and mother cause it's the Intarweb."

I can do that legally in real life, too.

"Well, I'm not really stealing when I pirate all these MP3s and movies. Information wants to be free."

It isn't stealing, it's copyright infringement. Big difference. I'm not saying it's right, but it isn't stealing. And with current laws, I'd probably be better off if I were caught stealing a CD from a store, than if I were caught sharing MP3s online.

Re:Nice Try (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302542)

well if you enter a house in the US and the door is open and there is not a sign saing that you shouldn't be there.. all you have to do is leave when asked to and they can not press charges..

if there is no sign then it is not trespassing as long as you leave when first asked.

and if the door is open it can not be considered breaking and entering.

it is funny how the laws work.. now if you startgoing through the persons stuff that can be an issue..

Re:Nice Try (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302706)

well if you enter a house in the US and the door is open and there is not a sign saing that you shouldn't be there.. all you have to do is leave when asked to and they can not press charges..

Bullfeathers. You can still be charged with trespassing even if you leave. You entered someones home without their permission and without authority to do so. Walking across someones yard can be considered trespass. One does not have to put out a sign saying "Don't enter my house when the door is open". It should be common sense that it is someone elses property and you shouldn't be there.

if there is no sign then it is not trespassing as long as you leave when first asked.

See above.

and if the door is open it can not be considered breaking and entering.

But there is always trespassing.

Re:Nice Try (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302762)

if there is no sign saying no trespassing they have to show that you where trespassing with bad intent.

if you hear someone screaming for help and the door is open and you enter trying to help you can not be arested because you where trying to help. now if the house is empty and there is no sign and the door is open and you enter.. they have to prove that you entered with bad intent.. you say you heard someone scream help.. they say you didn't but they where not there.. it is one word aginst another.. remember you are inocent until proven guilty.. if they can not prove bad intent then you are fine..

Re:Nice Try (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302853)

A person's home is regarded as a private area in most countries. Sign or no sign, you just can't walk in without permission.

Re:Nice Try (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302904)

In that case does it require you to have permission to enter? if you go over to a friends house and follow him in the door can he go and call the police and have you arrested for trespassing.. there is no sign saying you can enter.. you didn't ask and he didn't tell you to leave.

now if he tells you to leave and he doesn't he can call the police and they will arestt you.. you can't have it one way and not the other.. a visable sign saing no trespassing means it.. a locked/closed door means it.. but no sign and open door does not mean you can not go in..

Re:Nice Try (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302891)

if there is no sign saying no trespassing they have to show that you where trespassing with bad intent.

No you do not. As I stated in my first post, merely walking across someones yard can be considered trespassing. You don't have to be doing anything else. You are trespassing. There does not have to be a sign.

if you hear someone screaming for help and the door is open and you enter trying to help you can not be arested because you where trying to help.

Obviously.

now if the house is empty and there is no sign and the door is open and you enter.. they have to prove that you entered with bad intent..

No they don't. All they need prove is that you entered their property without authority and without invitation by them. You don't have to do anything. Merely being on their property is enough.

Re:Nice Try (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302928)

what happens you enter .. the door is open and no one is home.. they come home find you standing there you havn't touched anything.. you say you entered because someone screamed for help and you thought they where inside.. they can't prove that no one screamed and you can't prove that some one did.. if they ask you to leave and you do you are fine.. if you don't you get arestted.. it is really simple.

Re:Nice Try (5, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302587)

I agree it is stupid that there were no passwords on the system, but just like a yard without a fence, the fact the fence is there does not imply permission to run around there and dig up the flowers.

What constitutes "permission" to access unpassworded network services? Do you need written permission? If so I guess everyone who accesses public web servers is guilty of cracking them since they didn't get written permission from the server owners.

It may sound silly, but there really isn't a lot of difference between a public unpassworded service and a private service that's been left unpassworded on a public network. It's certainly impossible to tell if it's legitimately public before connecting to it and there's no guarantee you can tell that it's not supposed to be public once you have connected.

Lets say you connect to a web server - how are you to know if that's a public web site or a private company's intranet site that they didn't bother to password protect?

Re:Nice Try (NOT!) (1)

pushf popf (741049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302767)

It may sound silly, but there really isn't a lot of difference between a public unpassworded service and a private service that's been left unpassworded on a public network. It's certainly impossible to tell if it's legitimately public before connecting to it and there's no guarantee you can tell that it's not supposed to be public once you have connected.

You can't poke a sleeping lion in the ass with a sharp stick, then complain when it attacks you.

Anybody who thinks that it's OK to go poking around obviously non-public military sites (if you're finding passwords and deployment details, you can be pretty sure it's not supposed to be public) can't be too surprised about being prosecuted.

In fact, if he wanted to do the right thing, he should have emailed a security contact for the site and notified him/her about the problem.

Re:Nice Try (NOT!) (3, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302877)

Anybody who thinks that it's OK to go poking around obviously non-public military sites

I'm afraid I don't know the specific details of the case - was he accessing web sites? Were they obviously non-public? How could he have found out that they were obviously non-public before accessing them (and thus being branded a cracker)?

if you're finding passwords and deployment details, you can be pretty sure it's not supposed to be public

If you've found passwords and deployment details then you have already accessed the server and thus liable to be prosecuted as a cracker. Please explain how one would find out _before_ potentially breaking the law that they shouldn't proceed any further.

In fact, if he wanted to do the right thing, he should have emailed a security contact for the site and notified him/her about the problem.

Emailing them saying "hey, I just accessed all your confidential data" doesn't seem like a good way of avoiding prosecution does it?

It _could_ also be argued that since these were military secrets, knowing them turns him into a target and so the best way of remaining safe is to keep very quiet and hope noone notices.

Says ok in Terms of Use Page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302893)

"Lets say you connect to a web server - how are you to know if that's a public web site or a private company's intranet site that they didn't bother to password protect?"

Because the website's terms of use would say that you may use their services.

Re:Nice Try (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302936)

Just consider this for a moment. You come home. I am in your house, you ask me to leave, before I leave, I tell you I was in your kitchen, in your pantry, in your medicine cabinet, in your wifes bedroom, in your childrens bedroom. I swam in your pool, and played with your dog.

I tell you I didnt do anything, I was just looking arround. It is not a crime, the door was open, and I did not damage anything. How are you going to feel the next time you go in the fridge to gran some food ? Or go gran a tylenol out of the cabient for your kid with a fever ?

Do you think you would feel okay with that ?

If you can honestly say you would have no problem with that, then you are a better man than I.

Re:Nice Try (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302622)

I was just looking in that guy's house for a nice new TV. It wasn't breaking in because he left the door open. You want to guess how well that flies?

Actually, in the US, it flies pretty well. You're still trespassing, but if you break into a locked house, then you're breaking and entering. Physical property law reflects the very real difference, why doesn't it apply here?

Also, "looking for a TV" is a prelude to theft. Looking for UFO evidence on someone's computer is a prelude to copyright infringement, if anything.

Re:Nice Try (5, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302688)

was just looking in that guy's house for a nice new TV. It wasn't breaking in because he left the door open.


What a horrible, totally irrelevant, and not remotely applicable analogy.

I suppose you obtained permission from every contributor (read: copyright holder) on slashdot.org before you broke into port 80 and pirated all of this text and graphics to your computer, correct?

I mean, just because there is not a lock on the door, what makes you think you can come in head and read everything......hey wait, did you POST data to this server too? Holy crap! Vandalism! That is just like spray painting on the inside of someone's house that you broke into! You are in for it now.

Finkployd

Re:Nice Try (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302789)

Excellent! If I hadn't already posted to this article I'd mod you up :)

This is what I've said for a long time - the current computer misuse laws (in the UK at least) pretty much outlaw the whole internet because they require that you have permission to connect to another computer before you do so. The closest you can really get is implied permission resulting from someone leaving the service unpassworded.

Re:Nice Try (2, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302702)

just like a yard without a fence, the fact the fence is there does not imply permission to run around there and dig up the flowers.

True, but I would assume that any government building with an unlocked doors during 'normal business hours' would be fair game to walk go in to. This was a publicly accessible server out in an area (the Internet) where the assumption is that everything not locked down is accessible.

Re:Nice Try (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302732)

But he wasn't using that defense to say he's completly innocent, just that 70 years in a US jail is a unfairly harsh. Also, to disprove the US government's accusations that he caused almost 3/4 of a million dollars worth of damage by accessing computers using blank passwords.

Re:Nice Try (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302765)

but just like a yard without a fence, the fact the fence is there does not imply permission to run around there and dig up the flowers.

Let's take that analogy one step further.

Just because you're at the door trying the lock doesn't mean you should be prosecuted right?

Technically, even trying the lock should be an offence no? You're still tresspassing if you're trying to brute force passwords too if that's the case (IMO that's not a BAD thing).

Re:Nice Try (5, Insightful)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302770)

I agree it is stupid that there were no passwords on the system, but just like a yard without a fence, the fact the fence is there does not imply permission to run around there and dig up the flowers.
It's not quite so simple.
The reason you know that a yard without a fence is still private property is because there is social history - first around property, and more recently around 'suburb property'. So now we have an acceptance of what is private and what is not, even if it's not marked.
But, if you are in the middle of nowhere, and crossed no fence and passed no sign, you could be under the impression that you're still on public property. While you may still be trespassing, no judge is going to find you guilty. The rightful owner can certainly ask you to leave, but charges are never going to stick.
So, by the same token, any computer system that has no password could easily be assumed to be open to the public.

I'm strongly against computer owners who take no steps to mark the territory as private who then sue and/or lay charges. Anything I can access using a typical browser or ssh/telnet/ftp/whatever client is public property. As soon as it prompts me for a password, or even displays a notification that this is private, then anything beyond that is unauthorised access.

Note that shopping centers are private property, and yet we assume we can enter and move about freely. Sure, they can ask us to leave, but we work under the assumption that since the door is open, we are free to enter.
Once inside, there are often doors that are either locked or marked for no entry, and again, we assume that these areas are off-limits, but the rest of the area is 'public' (of course, not in the legal sense)
So, if from my computer I can access a remote computer belonging to the US Army, am I breaking the law?
Those who immediately say 'yes' forget that the US Army [army.mil] has a very public HTTP server which anyone can access freely.

So now the questions are (much more correctly) how does one tell whether one is on 'private property' out in the wilderness? Because that is what the internet is - a giant otherwise unmarked wilderness. Sure, parts of it look like the burbs with the on-line shopping and home-pages, but there's a whole host of other computers out there performing tasks, responding to credit, time, stocks quote, system update and various other queries. Which of those is public? Which is private?
It's only by putting up signs and locks that people can know which computers are public and which are not ... in my opinion the onus starts with the computers owner. If you attach a computer to the public network (aka the internet) and you fail to take a minimum of steps to state that this computer is private, than you should have no recourse if someone accesses it without your expressed permission.

Re:Nice Try (3, Insightful)

BoredWolf (965951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302821)

Actually, there is no presumption of privacy without protecting yourself. Lets say that you don't have a fence around your yard; whatever happens to persons in that yard is therefore your responsibility, because there is no restriction to trespassing. If the person destroys your property, they are liable. Conversely, if they slip on your front doorstep and break their neck, you are liable because they are technically not trespassing. No harm, no foul on either party. Why should computer systems be any different? If you make the mistake or choice not to protect your system from user-level access and harm, then you are responsible for any breach of security provided that the user does not destroy any of the information stored. However, the real issue is revealing national secrets (supposedly). Because the federal government has been caught with their pants down, they have to make a good show to cover-up their incompetence. He would be prosecuted similarly in the UK, and it is simply a show of good-faith toward the US to let him be prosecuted there.

I left my door unlocked today (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302496)

So it's okay that you come in - uninvited - and rifle through my shit. No really.

Re:I left my door unlocked today (2, Interesting)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302549)

Well, that is a good point. What if I reply by saying, I went in your house BECAUSE the door was opened and wanted to make sure you were okay? Now as a defense I suppose I would be leaving a note saying, "hey wanted to make sure you were not hurt and you left your door open."

I dunno. What exactly did he break into? Did he take anything with him? Is there a loss - monetary, security - directly attributed to this action?

Seems kind of far-fetched to me.

Re:I left my door unlocked today (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302700)

sure there's a loss! Well, now there will be anyway - they actually have to secure their stuff.

Title is not quite true (3, Informative)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302504)


The judgement opens up the option for his extradition.

The decision is now with our Home Secretary.

Re:Title is not quite true (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302565)

Am I the only one who is a bit disturbed about this? I wonder, when was the last time an American was extradited for a crime he commited on American soil? When was the last time an American was extradited at all?

Re:Title is not quite true (5, Insightful)

purple_cobra (848685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302668)

Sadly, Reid will happily extradite him. Bush will *tell* Blair, and Reid would never think of opposing The Anointed One.
Much as I think McKinnon is an idiot he should be tried and, if found guilty, punished in the UK: he stands some tiny chance of a fair trial here, along with a proportionate sentence. All that crap about causing so much damage to a network that it "took more than a month to repair" (quote taken from the BBC News story) has the strong smell of bullshit. I suspect this is more concerned with the US military being shown, once again, to be incompetent and entirely incapable of securing anything than with the alleged damage this plonker caused.
Shame he didn't want anything from our own MoD: if he'd hung around long enough I'm sure he could have picked-up one of the many laptops they've left lying around over the years.

Disclaimer (2, Interesting)

sonixtwo (878390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302551)

I'm sure as soon as he attempted the connection or got logged on that there was a welcome message that said "unauthorized activity prohibited" or something to that effect. How he didn't see this coming I will probably never understand.

Re:Disclaimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302672)

But, since the script is just saying to the computer "can you do this for me", then if the computer responds, isn't that authorised? If the system is *supposed* to be secure, then it should be saying "no, you can't do that". Even just at logging in: "can I log in?" "No". If it lets you in, that's "Yes", isn't it?

Ouch (1, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302558)

From the article "McKinnon faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine." That has gotta hurt. The article also claims that his activities shut down the systems for a week. If that is true he might deserve this punishment, but I find it somewhat hard to believe that the military's computers were actually down for that long. Couldn't they just have done a clean boot?

Re:Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302592)

They probably had to fly the sysadmin back from his unit in Iraq. There are only so many Guard reservists to go around, donchaknow?

Re:Ouch (5, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302724)

The system was comprimised. You don't just reboot them- you need to reimage the system to make sure nothing was left behind by the intruder. For a military system, they probably did a forensic search to see what he had access to and what information may have been comprimised. That takes time.

Re:Ouch (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302842)

Here is where the bullshit comes in. As right as you may be about the correct procedure for cleanup after a major break in, it's kind of irrelevant to these computers.

No unpassworded computers need to be going through that kind of work. They'd have already been secured in the first place.

The problem is that "hacked military computers" sounds bad no matter how inconsequential, and so even this poor idiot who found his way into the low end dregs of the network has to be made an example of.

Re:Ouch (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302865)

yes but he didn't compromise them, he found them in that condition. I'm not saying he's not guilty of trespassing but a lighter sentence would do just fine. Now he's pretty much dead.

Re:Ouch (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302916)

If they were that wide open, I'd say that these procedures were necessary anyway, and probably long overdue...

He will learn to eat his words there (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302560)

"My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on and there were no passwords means that there was no security" "My intention was never to pound him in the ass. The fact that he shared my cell and he was not resisting my attacks means that he wanted to get pounded in the ass" said Gary McKinnon's cell/life mate, Tiny

I really hope... (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302568)

that the Home Secretary does not let this one go forward... as someone mentioned previously in a discussion a few days ago; we all break laws in countries which we're not in, that's ok, we shouldn't be able to be prosectued for it (I know he also broke UK law - but he should only be prosecuted under that). How would Bush feel if someone tried to prosectue an American for saying that Iran's leadership was being foolish and that they are wrong - that's illegal in Iran - where's the extradition to Iran - you can't have it both ways

Re:I really hope... (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302619)

The difference is we have extradition treaties with the UK. If somebody in America hacked into MOD systems they would probably be extradited as well.

Re:I really hope... (1)

buffcorephil (934504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302710)

Actually, no. We (the UK) have agreed to send people over to the US with no further questions and no evidence needed for trial. The US, however, hasn't agreed to do the same - it might be unfair on American citizens in the UK, see?

Here's the source [statewatch.org] .

Re:I really hope... (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302774)

The US has agreed to do the same provided that there is evidence. Why the UK agreed to drop this requirement I don't know.

Re:I really hope... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302651)

Not exacly. This guy crossed international boundaries when he hacked into U.S. Government property, thus he is subject to U.S. law. If he were to poke around on systems in the U.K. that contained the exact same information then perhaps your reasoning would be more appropriate.

Re:I really hope... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302661)

Where were the servers he broke into? In the US. Therefore, he broke US law in the US. When a person breaks a law of another country, in that country, and then goes back to his country, that's what extradition treaties are for. Now, I don't think we have an extradition treaty with Iran, but if we did and someone went to Iran, insulted the government, and returned to the US, we would have to hand that person over to the Iranian government if they asked. I'm not saying any of this is necessarily right or wrong, just pointing out how it is.

Re:I really hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302663)

that the Home Secretary does not let this one go forward

New here, are you?

Re:I really hope... (5, Informative)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302677)

How would Bush feel if someone tried to prosectue an American for saying that Iran's leadership was being foolish and that they are wrong - that's illegal in Iran - where's the extradition to Iran - you can't have it both ways

Your understanding of International Law is woefully inadequate/misinformed. The US has extradition treaties with countries they determine are lawful, like the UK. The US does not consider Iran a country that would respect American Law, and therefore have not agreed to an extradition treaty with them. Yes, in fact you can have it both ways.

If you'd checked, you'd know that in fact Iran has in the past issued warrants calling for the arrest of foreign citizens. Those warrants carry no weight outside of Iran and the countries (if any) that have extradition treaties with it.

Re:I really hope... (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302684)

as someone mentioned previously in a discussion a few days ago; we all break laws in countries which we're not in, that's ok, we shouldn't be able to be prosectued for it (I know he also broke UK law - but he should only be prosecuted under that).

I really hope that's not some kind of excuse for his behavior. Just because he was in the UK and broke a US law doesn't give him the opportunity to walk off into the sunset. He needs to face the music; he willfully violated US law. Reverse the situation -- if he were in the US and broke into a UK computer, you'd think that was ok? If that's the case I don't know why we're looking for Osama Bin Laden. He may have ordered the deaths of thousands of Americans and others, but since he's in a foreign country and just happened to break some of our laws, that's forgiveable, don't you think? And don't think I don't know what you're going to say: apples and oranges. But while he was breaking into our military's computer network, he had ample opportunity to find out all sorts of things, He may not have been performing espionage in the classic sense, but it's espionage nonetheless. He was trying to find out US secrets, albeit secrets that only exist in his deluded mind.

I think the best he can hope for is the Wacky Farm.

Re:I really hope... (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302843)

These guys [thepiratebay.org] break US law all the time, but there's nothing the US government can or should do about it, espicially because as far as their own government is concerned, they are acting entirely within the law. A fact which is lost on may companies judging by all the legal threats [thepiratebay.org] against them. None of which have come to anything.

Re:I really hope... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302912)

thepiratebay.org doesnt break US law in the US.

Re:I really hope... (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302694)

we all break laws in countries which we're not in, that's ok, we shouldn't be able to be prosectued for it

Well it's definately a difficult question when it affects another country - if you launch an warhead at another country, it may not be illegal to do so in your own country but the place you launched it at is sure as hell not going to be happy. I'm not really expressing an opinion either way but I can certainly see both sides of the arguement.

Note: I'm specifically talking about actions which affect a whole *country*, not just organisations within that country. For example, I'm deeply opposed to the likes of the RIAA/MPAA thinking that they can apply US copyright laws (including the DMCA) to anywhere in the world - there have been a lot of cases where non-US governments have been put under a lot of pressure to prosecute people who have broken US law even though they haven't broken the local laws of the country they are a resident and citizen in.

Examples of this include US organisations trying to prosecute people who upload copyrighted material, even though the local laws allow the uploading of content but disallow the downloading of it. (Yes, it may be wrong an unethical to upload copyrighted material, but that doesn't give you the right to prosecute people who haven't broken any law that applies in their jurisdiction).

Re:I really hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302708)

exelent aproach to the mather...
it wont be well understand by most "Americans" (as USA ppl call themselfs, since Im american too and i live in south america) cos of their false freedom, false justice, blind patriotism... etc... etc..

Re:I really hope... (2, Insightful)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302807)

all break laws in countries which we're not in, that's ok,

Thing is, this guy wasn't hacking a UK server, he was hacking a US server, on US soil.

If he was stealing in the UK, he shouldn't be charged with theft in the US, but as it stands the crime was really committed on US soil.

I'd be more sympathetic to your argument if the server was on non-US soil. Then it'd be arguable that he didn't commit any crimes against the US, and shouldn't be tried in the US.

Precident setting (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302576)

What does this mean for people in *this* country that do such things? Let's assume they're treated the same with a adjudication system...what kind of trial could they expect from a jury 'of their peers'? I think this precident would serve as a big deterent showing the long arm of US justice.

Re:Precident setting (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302727)

Could he potentially argue that he hadn't had a fair trial because his 'peers' do not understand what he was doing? In computer crime cases, do the juries really understand what happened? (Know the ins and outs of the technologies that enabled said crime?) If not why can't someone argue that the jury wern't 'peers'?

Peers != Clones (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302845)

Could he potentially argue that he hadn't had a fair trial because his 'peers' do not understand what he was doing?

If that were true, we'd never be able to get convictions of people who orchestrated highly complex derivitives fraud or other securities shenanigans. Or convict a murderer who, though having chain-sawed a bus full of nuns in the US, is left-handed with one eye, and speaks only an obscure dialect of Swahili (or is in illiterate Romanian farmer's daughter who won a trip to New York and decided to burn down a nightclub that wouldn't serve her Balenka, etc).

"Of your peers" doesn't mean "exactly like you, with all of your experiences, biases, broken world views," but means "not all the same people from law enforcement who were also investigating and arrested you" and like that. And, of course, we're talking about things that happen to peopel here in the states, or under the coverage of a treaty that makes that equivalency. Hence this is not the same as handling someone who, egged on by his local A-Q franchise office, traveled from Jordan into Afghanistan to shoot up people driving US Army food trucks.

do the juries really understand what happened

That's what expert witnesses are for. Otherwise we'd also never see people convicted (or acquitted) when DNA evidence is the central issue in a trial. How many average jurors really understand DNA markers? Or, for that matter, can personally relate to having deliberately run down their ex-husband in a parking lot to kill him? It's a good thing that most of the people convicted of crimes don't have a lot of true "peers" in the sense that some might think to use that word.

BTW, the word is "precedent," (not "precident") from the word "precede," as in "having gone before."

Excessive Punishment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302584)

It's worth noting that this guy is

- a total pothead (probably why he hasn't been hired by a security firm/ government outfit)
- a believer in UFOs etc.
- exploited a rubbish security system which wasn't passworded
- Didn't extract/sell any information or do any significant damage

Whilst he arguably deserves some form of punishment - a large fine or perhaps a year or two in prison - 70 years in prison is monstrously excessive.

This is ridiculus! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302593)

No country in the world should extract their citizens to U.S.A. because U.S. goverment says so. If goverments are "forced" to extract their citizens to U.S., then U.S. should extract their citizens to abroad, if citizens are accused of violating the law of other country.

Re:This is ridiculus! (2, Informative)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302764)

So, the guy who is accused of killing his wife/daughter in the USA then fleeing to England should not have been extradicted? By your sense of logic, Britain should have not allowed it and the US should not have had the ability to ask for it.

Re:This is ridiculus! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302766)

Why don't other countries extract US citizens?

Because punishments in US federal courts are almost always more severe. It's easier for a government to inform the FBI of a problem and have the criminal go to a US jail (costing only the US money) than to bring them to their country and have to pay for them. On the same token, Americans do not trust foreign courts at all. The short prison sentences given (check out some of the child molestation cases) and the freeing of terrorists after 15 or 20 years for murder (who would have gotten life or execution in the US) sort of fuels this view. Americans would rather pay to build and operate more jails to house foreign criminals than allow them to get short sentences in their home countries.

Re:This is ridiculus! (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302786)

Crazy mods. How is this mess insightful?

No country in the world should extract their citizens to U.S.A.

You misspelled "extradite."

If goverments are "forced" to extract their citizens to U.S., then U.S. should extract their citizens to abroad, if citizens are accused of violating the law of other country.

Yeah. That's how extradition treaties work. The fact that the US and UK have one is the reason we're having this "insightful" conversation.

Not insightful. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302924)

This is ridiculus!

Not as ridiculous as spelling ridiculous that way, though.

No country in the world should extract their citizens to U.S.A. because U.S. goverment says so.

Are you that uneducated, or are you just hoping that someone else will ratchet up their Amerika Is Teh Evil rating another notch based on your rant? There is no force involved in an extradition. That's the whole point of a treaty. The treaty governs the circumstances under which criminals in both countries may be extradited to the other country. It's a two-way street, and that's what the treaty covers. The whole point is that some US criminal that was (say) looting banks in the UK could just as easily be shipped to the UK for prosecution as the other way around. It's an agreement, subject to judicial review on both sides.

For as many people as spout about how hated the US is for things, I wonder how many of them have formed at least part of their opinion on completely uninformed, BS notions like this one. Incredible.

Onion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302595)

This feels like an Onion article.

'I was looking for UFOs,' he added.

Spock: Insufficient facts always invite danger (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302597)

"I was looking for UFOs."

Judging by the look on his face [nwsource.com] could he be one of them? [google.com]
Of course he lost the Extradition case, we can't even transport to Mars let alone Alpha Centauri.
This whole mess could have been avoided if he had only tuned in regularly to the History Channel. [historychannel.com]

Re:Spock: Insufficient facts always invite danger (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302627)

This whole mess could have been avoided if he had only tuned in regularly to the History Channel.

Don't laugh -- how much you want to bet this kook ends up in a episode of that series before all is said and done?

A couple of points (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302617)

Given the US track record on treatment of detainees, torture, imprisonment without trial and so on I am very suprised and disappointed that any government would willingly allow their citizens to be taken into custody in the US. Here in the UK we have an issue with "illegal imigrants" who remain in this country because on arrival they plead persecution and their lawyers find it easy to block their deportation back to a repressive regime. By the same standards the USA is clearly a repressive regime.

Also, I've heard this story from all sorts of sides and opinions ranging from "He's a harmless wannabe cracker who just walked into unsecured .mil sites looking for UFO information and is now being persecuted by overzealous 'security' gimps keen to make an example of someone (presumably because they never catch any real intruders who are far too smart)" all the way to "He's a publicity seeking prick who set this whole thing up to get busted as some kind of bid for fame"
Whatever the outcome I'd like to see the same standards applied to SONY as to this kid. If he goes down then I want to see SONY programmers arrested and deported to the UK to face multiple criminal charges because installing rootkits is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act in this country.

With all these double standards I can't see people retaining any repect for justice or the law. Once governments undermine the law with such blatent corruption of principles it's a one way ticket down to social disintegration.
 

We need Agent Smith right now (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302624)

Do that "remove the mouth" trick on this hacker. PLEASE.

Field analogy (2, Insightful)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302626)

if there is a field in the middle of no where, with no locked gate, or no signs saying "dont go here" is it wrong to walk there?

Re:Field analogy (1)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302792)

Your analogy is very flawed or at least very short on details.

Given an undeveloped field at some location on the globe, it can very hard to determine who the owner of the land or even -if- there is an owner, although any land without a private owner I supposed belongs to the government. This assuming there is a government which has claim to the land.

A computer, on the other hand, is obviously a man-made device which owned by somebody, if not ultimately by whoever made it.

You can wander onto a piece of ground and reasonably not know that it is owned by someone.
You cannot connect to a computer and reasonably believe that it does not have an owner.

Hacker loses Extradition Case? (2, Funny)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302637)

Wow, that's gotta suck, hope he finds it soon! Anyone know what he had in that case?

That dude is doomed (2)

BadassJesus (939844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302647)

They will proceed with the highest punishment possible just to scare us all in advance.
Wait and see.

Well, ok maybe (5, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302649)

Despite being batshit insane, he might have a point with this:

"The fact that I logged on and there were no passwords means that there was no security"

There needs to probably be some middle ground legally regarding what is and is not secure. It makes no sense that, say, accessing a windows share drive (or AFS cell if you like real network filesystems) out there on the internet with no passwords, no encryption, no attempt at all at security should be legally considered breaking and entering or whatever non-applicable metaphor the courts have wedged into computer case law. Nor should accessing an unprotected wireless connection be considered this, since many OSes will do that without asking.

One the flip side, we cannot go so far as to say that just because someone can break security, it was not really there... "You honor, if he didn't want me using his wireless connection, he shouldn't have only used WEP and MAC restrictions. I mean seriously, it was trivial to get his WEP key and change my MAC address to one of the allowed ones".

As much as I hate to say this, there needs to be SOME standard of security to apply to something before breaking it can be considered a crime. We run into this with the DMCA where ROT13 is a perfectly legit encryption algorithm in the eyes of the law. Maybe NIST approved cyphers or something like that should be the standard. It is just silly to leave something wide open then act all surprised and litigious when someone checks it out.

And before anyone makes a brain dead "leaving my house open does not give you the right to come in and snoop around" analogy, let's be clear that by virtue of having something published on the internet, you are inviting people to take a look. There is no accurate and meaningful real world analogy for computer network security so keep your unlocked cars, unattended briefcases, and snail mail stories to yourself. There are many services you can log into without a password (think anon FTP, demo systems, or even some telnet/ssh BBSes), so if you don't want people thinking they can log in and look around, try setting a password. Sheesh

Finkployd

Is it legal to look at a naked lady in the park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302833)

The internet is not like your yard or your house or your car--it is a public space, like a shopping mall or a public park. If it ain't protected at all, it is public (just like slashdot.org is a public forum). If you wander into a public website, you aren't trespassing--unless you do something like vandalizing or going around checking doors to see if they are locked. If you go through a door that says authorized personnel only, you are trespassing, and you ought to know it, but if the site was as naked as he claims it was probably a public site. The fact that the site went down for a week says nothing--the fact that some incompetent left things naked and they had to clean up after him (check if anything had been messed with) i smeaningless. In fact, this may have been a honeypot, and there are legal entrapment issues too. Severe humor failure on the Air Force's part.

We'll find out at the trial!

Re:Well, ok maybe (1)

nsanders (208050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302834)

There needs to probably be some middle ground legally regarding what is and is not secure. It makes no sense that, say, accessing a windows share drive (or AFS cell if you like real network filesystems) out there on the internet with no passwords, no encryption, no attempt at all at security should be legally considered breaking and entering or whatever non-applicable metaphor the courts have wedged into computer case law. Nor should accessing an unprotected wireless connection be considered this, since many OSes will do that without asking.


I usually would say that the reply is "if I leave my front door unlocked and open, is it legal for you to come into my house and look through my property?"

But, I have to agree with the foundation of what you are saying. He DID break the law.. He "trespassed", he did not commit a crime like "breaking and entering".

His punishment should be based on the actual crime committed.

Re:Well, ok maybe (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302932)

I usually would say that the reply is "if I leave my front door unlocked and open, is it legal for you to come into my house and look through my property?"

But, I have to agree with the foundation of what you are saying. He DID break the law.. He "trespassed", he did not commit a crime like "breaking and entering".


I don't know, did he? The social norm of the current time is that we all know it is wrong to enter a house without permission. It is private property and it makes sense. Computer networks have no such social norms, nor does the concept of private property really carry over well into (I hate using this word) cyberspace. In fact the opposite is the norm if anything. It is generally accepted that on the internet, anything published without protection is fair game for viewing (although not necessarily republishing since copyright still applies in a logical way).

To put it another way, do you feel viewing slashdot is trespassing? At a technical level is connecting to port 80 and requesting unprotected information really that much than going to any other port and requesting unprotected information?

Finkployd

Re:Well, ok maybe (1)

Bob(TM) (104510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302875)

There is no accurate and meaningful real world analogy for computer network security

"The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48"
Analogy A*nal"o*gy, n.; pl. Analogies. L. analogia, Gr. ?,
      fr. ?: cf. F. analogie. See Analogous.
      1. A resemblance of relations; an agreement or likeness
            between things in some circumstances or effects, when the
            things are otherwise entirely different
[emphasis added].
            Thus, learning enlightens the mind, because it is to the mind what
            light is to the eye, enabling it to discover things before
            hidden.
            1913 Webster

If there is similarity, there is analogy. It is a very narrow mind that dismisses an analogy just because the nouns are different.

McKinnon didn't hack anything (4, Insightful)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302675)

I've said this on digg and i'll say it here again, he didn't hack anything. In his interviews it was said that the systems were already compromised and were being used by people from eastern european countries. I commend him for seeking the truth but not for going about it idiotically. In any case he doesn't deserve anything more than a few months in jail (if that even, better in a halfway house if there are such things in the UK), probation, and community service.

This has gotten way out of proportion. He didn't even do anything to damage US operations nor was this even his intent, he's not a terrorist and had no malicious intent. I would rather make sure those idiotic sysadmins never worked in IT for the rest of their lives since they left administrator passwords open! Freakin morons.

Re:McKinnon didn't hack anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302742)

where's Mulder and the lone gunmen when you need them ?

Re:McKinnon didn't hack anything (3, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302799)

Yeah. What's the betting the guy gets extradited and eventually sentenced to several years in jail, and Ken Lay gets off scott free? American justice, eh?

The rest of us.. (0)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302707)

look for UFOs in pictures and on tv. Try to do that next time... look on the bright side tho.. you might actually receive some messages from outerspace while you're in the hole for the next 10 years. I bet Kevin could agree with that...

Re:The rest of us.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302769)

look for UFOs in pictures and on tv.

I actually look for UFOs in the sky. What is on TV is just government BS and Hollywood. But I have frankly never heard of an UFO inside a computer system. Using such excuse should force them to lock him up for being insane. /sarcasm

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302714)

His extradition isnt unexpected.

What I am irritated about is that if he had been Osama Bin Laden's number one hacker and was looking for military weapons information would he have encountered this same security?

We can extradite him easily, but could we extradite the other?

attractive nuisance doctrine? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302736)

* There was no security.
* I was looking for UFOs.

Could this fall under the "attractive nuisance doctrine"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractive_nuisance_d octrine [wikipedia.org]

(IANAL)

mckinnon is in kahutz with the us gov (1)

sarragorn (654091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302746)

I think this mckinnon story is just more of the "war on terror" bullshit.
it's an artificial story created by the gov to wage war on the CYBERRRRterror.
American propaganda crap.
besides i saw the guy on tv ... ssup' with the wacko'face boy .. cmon. almost lame ^_^

He's lucky (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302781)

They Greys wanted to extradite him to Zeta Reticuli.

I don't question what he did was wrong... (2, Insightful)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302795)

...But considering our (The USA's) government is trying to allow torture for "illegal combatants", who's to say he won't be considered one and shipped off to a torture camp? Here in the USA, he'd probably be tried for some asinine terrorism chagre and sentenced to life in a torture camp or to death.

Wireless security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302815)

So I have multiple unsecured wireless networks overlapping my appartment. One of them is even using the same router setup I have, only on default settings. The other day, I was looking in 'My Computer' (Windows XP) and noticed I had a computer mapped on my network. It was one of my neighbors' PCs, and since it was so wide open, Windows had felt the need to automatically list it in my network places. I know the proportions here are way different, but should it be illegal for me to click that link, and look around at all the nifty things on his computer? The intent would be the same.

Just food for thought.

and now for the real terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302828)

Back when the IRA were blowing up innocent children as part of their terror campaign, know IRA terrorists were hiding here in the US, and despite many attempts, our govt would not extradite them to face trial in the UK. So are we basically saying that gaining access to an unprotected machine is a far more serious crime than multiple accounts of murder?

the door's open - Come on in, neighbor !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302847)

The fact that I logged on and there were no passwords means that there was no security,

---This is exactly the same as a big "Welcome " sign by the door
and the door itself left ajar, inviting any of the neighbors to just
walk on in and say "howdy".

He should not be charged in those specifc cases.

signed: BuggerMe

What did he really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15302855)

I mean what did he actually do to *cause* all these supposed damages and shut down the networks? How did he "steal" all those passwords? If he logged into a system that was not password protected, then he did not in fact "hack" the system. If he installed trogens, viri, and modified system files then he did in fact hack the sytem. If the answer is that some unauthorized access happened and various sys admins ran around like headless chickens (so the cost is the salaries, etc.) then no, he did not cause this damage -- the militaries QA/QC security *caused* the problem and they should be draged before a military tribunal!

As for the judge stating that he will not be tried under anti-terorism laws, well now *he* is being nieve. The Bush administration will use him as a posterchild for international terror and probably send him to G.W.'s favorate Cuban resort. No, the judge should get that in writing before extraditing him to the US.

I am not defending the sap for poking his nose where it did not belong, but I would really like to know what he in fact did and did not do to the systems...

UFO Technology (2, Interesting)

adius (613006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302857)

Is UFO technology something to laugh about?

Yes, the subject of UFOs seems funny, but when military whistleblowers claim there is some truth behind the technology...that is a different matter.

www.disclosureproject.org

If the witnesses on the Disclosure Project site (as referenced by the hacker) are really from the government, we all must reconsider our position. According to their claims, our government has free energy technology capable of powering the world without dirty fuels.

Think about the implications and the technology. I know many here are smart enough to look beyond the "little green men".

Entering a plea of ... (1)

the real darkskye (723822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15302903)

'I was looking for UFOs.'

Well quite clearly he's going for the insanity plea.
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