Hacker loses extradition appeal

A Briton accused of hacking into top secret military computers has lost a Law Lords appeal against being extradited to stand trial in the US.

Gary McKinnon, 42, could face a life sentence if found guilty of gaining access to 97 American military and Nasa computers from his London home.

Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon admits breaking into the computers but says he was trying to find information on UFOs.

He lost his case at the High Court in 2006 before taking it to the Lords.

The US government says he committed a malicious crime - the biggest military computer hack ever.

He is accused of hacking into the computers with the intention of intimidating the US government.

Prosecutors say he altered and deleted files at a naval air station not long after the 11 September attacks in 2001, rendering critical systems inoperable.

View: BBC News

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

KDE 4.1 Final

Next Story

Graphics card makers launch new Nvidia-based cards

63 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

OK, not interested in his excuses, of if he gets sent to the US for trial, all I want to know is...

Did he find the UFO info or not?

Sad that he lost the trial at UK. I have always thought that one's country must protect you against others. Even when you committed a crime because you can always be prosecuted in your homeland.

He committed a crime, and must face the consequences, but not that ridiculous time.

On the other side, i'm with you: Where's the UFO info (If there is any)?

well for a country that didnt even give one of its own a fair trial its making a big fuss over our guy. he might have got in but those servers should have been protected. the only person who should be getting slaped here is the stupid ass idiot whos job it was to secure the system.

Mind telling us what you're talking about in regards to "well for a country that didnt even give one of its own a fair trial its making a big fuss over our guy." ???

"Oooh! He's a hacker (well, a pathetic little script-kiddie but still!) and *I* like to pretend that *I'm* a hacker, so I'm going to rally behind him! Rabble rabble rabble! Yay, now I'm a hacker, too!" --majority of the twats in these threads.

This guy was an idiot. Period. He knowingly and willingly broke into government systems. Not just government systems, but *military* systems. It doesn't matter how he did it. It doesn't matter if it took true genius and skill or a sad little script he found on the web. He broke laws -- international laws -- and knew what he was doing was against the law. It doesn't matter if it was the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, or Zimbabwe.

He deserves to be punished and punished hard. Not just for breaking international laws that even the simpliest person on the planet knows is wrong, but also for just being such a complete and utter fool for even thinking about doing it.

"Whaa! The US sucks! Whaa! The UK was too stupid to get their own extradition treaty! Whaa! WHAA!"

If I could digitally slap some of you people I so would.

Exactly. If you hack into US military or government computers you are compromising the whole nations national security. That is a very big deal to me. If higher security came out of the ordeal, then that is good. But the government's message needs to be: "don't even think about trying it, or face the consequences."

He should have thought about the consequences of his actions now he might have to spend a life sentence shacked up with "AssTaker".

The guy is still "alive" because he didn't get into real "top secret" files like info on current/past operations and the like.

That said, regardless of what he gained access to or not, its true he's being used as a guinea pig. But, a military is above all, an organization that uses force and kills people when diplomacy fails or when another nation attacks.

Whatever the system he got into, there could be personnel files, some info on operations or other data that's a no-no to get access to. Whether he saw it or not doesn't matter. Perhaps they can prove he did or perhaps he was good enough to really cover his tracks. Leave that to the courts to decide.

As far as extradition goes, anything that's deemed a federal crime - the kind that will get the FBI and special agents after you - has generally always had extradition agreements. Likewise, if an American broke into UK military records, they would be extradited.

Funny how the US gets other countries to give up their citizens. Almost communist like even.

the government is the worst at network protection. I could leave my sliding glass door open and have better security then the government. this guy could be smart and do a deal whereby he shows them where the weak points are and work for them..but then again..

this feels like typical US propaganda.. big bad Brit hacks federal network whose doors were wide open. you don't enter where you don't belong even if the door is open.

just like you don't walk down a street screaming racial slurs just because you have the 1st ammendment...

It's almost as if people aren't aware how the criminal justice system works. You charge people with everything you can, knowing that not everything can / will stick when it comes to trial as well as to keep as many chips in your court when it comes down to pleas. It happens in every single possible criminal case ever. Pay any sort of attention to the real world and you'd understand that.

*Gasp* he's being tried with the possible penalty of life imprisonment probably because he'll likely be able to walk away with 5 years minus time served because the jury will be completely ignorant of how networks function, and not believe how someone half a world away could hurt national security.

The case hasn't even really started for this guy, once he's state side the cards will come out to play and he'll likely be able to walk away with a temporary insanity plea if he shows exactly how / what he did as well as help recover the data destoryed (It's very unlikely he didn't take it for himself).

"Prosecutors say he altered and deleted files at a naval air station not long after the 11 September attacks in 2001, rendering critical systems inoperable."

yea, the altered and deleted files would be the security logs therefore rendering their tracing software inoperable since there wasn't anything to trace

gotta love the spin they put on this ****. life in jail is ridiculous and it's even more ridiculous that the UK is handing him over when he didn't do anything major. if he killed someone, i could understand. but looking at some files? give me a break

Its not a scam or some government conspiracy. The dude was a moron in the sense that he hacked in to a countrys network and didnt expect to get caught or suffer the consequences. I highly doubt he was searching for UFOs and it seems to me that is just his excuse. Yea, hes a smart person for hacking in to the network...but he is a complete moron for getting caught. But dont worry, after the US gets him, pressures him, breaks him, they will give him a good job with lots of $$$.

Its all a scam, is pretty easy (but take some time) to be untraceable, in fact is one of the first rules of hacking, even a script kiddie can do it hacking anonymous in some cybercafe or hanging in a free wifi spot.

I think that the CIA is involved on it just for create a international precedent and it is not the first case.

I thought about that possibility as well, because this whole thing just seems too ridiculous , I mean come on! He gets caught because he miscalculated the time? And he didn't download anything to his computer because he was using a modem connection? Wouldn't a "uber"-computer geek at least have broadband?
This could lead to a future where you could get accused of "hacking" American computers and then get picked up by the CIA at your home (even if you're not a US citizen/slave).

I think it's very out of order that we would fight to keep that russian guy protected here in the UK against deportation to russia, but we won't protect one of our own people against the USA... Hypocritical much. I seriously doubt the yank's would deport an american to the UK if some yank hacked the UK Military.

Yes, he committed a crime, but it was committed on English Soil and as such he should be charged, tried and punished in England.

(Cheshire Cat said @ #20)
I think it's very out of order that we would fight to keep that russian guy protected here in the UK against deportation to russia, but we won't protect one of our own people against the USA... Hypocritical much. I seriously doubt the yank's would deport an american to the UK if some yank hacked the UK Military.

Do you have any facts to back up the assertion that the American government would not "deport" a criminal from America to the UK? Seems to be idle speculation on your part

(Cheshire Cat said @ #20)
Yes, he committed a crime, but it was committed on English Soil and as such he should be charged, tried and punished in England.

Correction the computers that were attacked are clearly on US soil and owned by the US government, making this a crime ( and punishment) well within American Sovereignty.

(Lt-DavidW said @ #18)
Okay... I contributed this exact article at 10:43 this morning - the exact same news clipping and source.
I posted it at the exact same time I updated the BPN forum article at http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...view=getnewpost

I also did not get credited for my contributed article on Windows Mojave. It's not nice having user-contributed news go uncredited.

Say, do you post news for the sake of posting news, or just to get your ego stroked on the Internet?

(GEIST said @ #18.1)

Say, do you post news for the sake of posting news, or just to get your ego stroked on the Internet?

Neither. I post what I feel is newsworthy to Neowin, especially on weeks and weekends when the news flows slowly here.

It doesn't annoy me that I wasn't credited per se. What annoys me is that some of my submitted news gets passed off as being submitted by someone else.
It also annoys me that there are two sets of comments for each news article when an article is posted in 'Breaking News'. I have raised this problem on several occasions already.

This long sentence isn't for the crime really. They just wanna lock him away for life-time because he's obviously a threat. If they could legally kill him (death sentence) over this, they would go for it.

(GEIST said @ #17)
This long sentence isn't for the crime really. They just wanna lock him away for life-time because he's obviously a threat. If they could legally kill him (death sentence) over this, they would go for it.

Don;t be so stupid. If he was a real threat he would have gone to the Chinese or Koreans or even Russians and told them how he did it.

He is no more of a threat than my left toe.

The Yanks are p155ed cus he showed them up for what they are with thier security. Idiots.

(artnada said @ #17.1)

Don;t be so stupid. If he was a real threat he would have gone to the Chinese or Koreans or even Russians and told them how he did it.

He is no more of a threat than my left toe.

The Yanks are p155ed cus he showed them up for what they are with thier security. Idiots.

So the fact that he didn't go to any of these other governments renders him a non-threat? Yeah right, nice "logic". :rolleyes:
Somebody watched too much 24...

(GEIST said @ #17.2)

So the fact that he didn't go to any of these other governments renders him a non-threat? Yeah right, nice "logic". :rolleyes:
Somebody watched too much 24...

He was no threat. He showed the Yankie boys how stupid they really were. Yeeeehar.

And no, I haven't been watching "too much 24"...I've never watched an episode of it!!!11111111111ELEVENTYONE!!!1

Why are people defending the guy when he clearly commited a crime? Just because you can does not mean you have to. What people are suggesting is that every robber ever should be given a medal and a job for finding a way to by pass security...

(Dhalamar said @ #15)
Why are people defending the guy when he clearly commited a crime? Just because you can does not mean you have to. What people are suggesting is that every robber ever should be given a medal and a job for finding a way to by pass security...

Yes he's committed a crime, a bad one at that, but his sentence should, I think be working with the government to improve security that is obviously inadequate and a joke!

(sreteP said @ #15.1)

Yes he's committed a crime, a bad one at that, but his sentence should, I think be working with the government to improve security that is obviously inadequate and a joke!

What's there to work together if he did all that with a simple script? And how is it inadequate and a joke? It's not like we get news of some script kiddie h4x0ring the government everyday. Also, you don't someone who tried to rob you into your home and ask them for help to secure your home better. Nobody would do that. This gyu didn't even have good intentions as he wanted to steal information.

(GEIST said @ #15.2)

What's there to work together if he did all that with a simple script? And how is it inadequate and a joke? It's not like we get news of some script kiddie h4x0ring the government everyday. Also, you don't someone who tried to rob you into your home and ask them for help to secure your home better. Nobody would do that. This gyu didn't even have good intentions as he wanted to steal information.

True, true, true, but Their security is a joke if it got hacked by some uber geek sat at home looking for UFO's.

(sreteP said @ #15.3)
True, true, true, but Their security is a joke if it got hacked by some uber geek sat at home looking for UFO's.

Simply put you don't know that. Plenty of very capable admins who made no mistakes have been defeated by scripts (Perl or otherwise), it doesn't mean that their efforts are a joke, it could be any number of things.

Monday morning quaterbacking aside, this could have been incompetence easily as well, and a life sentence for computer hacking that didn't even bring any critical systems down (e.g. they couldn't send email outside their network, boo-hoo) screams "cruel and unusual"

What a nonsense is the law on digital burglary. As far as I know there isnt a real law for these kind of actions.
But he, its the US they can make up stuff at the spot. And come with more weird stuff the longer a prosecution is.

The US government is known to give a short sentence to hackers and allow them to work out the remainder of their sentence working for them. Some of the best hackers that were caught are now working in the government to chase down their own kind or enhance security.

From the BBC's story: "American officials involved in this case have stated that they want to see him 'fry'.

The people stating that shouldn't have their jobs, since when does ANYONE have the right to choose if/when someone dies!

As some have said on here, who ever was responsible for the security of these systems, should be removed from their job and this guy should be given a medal for hacking in before a REAL terrorist does and seriously ****s America up, complete morons in that government, and ours for butt ****ing them!

As some have said on here, who ever was responsible for the security of these systems, should be removed from their job and this guy should be given a medal for hacking in before a REAL terrorist does and seriously ****s America up, complete morons in that government, and ours for butt ****ing them!

+1

Maybe i have a stupid attitude but if he was able to hack into their system in the first place then whos to blame really?, not him in my opinion.

(digitalsoft said @ #10)
Maybe i have a stupid attitude but if he was able to hack into their system in the first place then whos to blame really?, not him in my opinion.

That follows the same logic as if your house is unlocked, its not your fault you got robbed... fact is, it is still a crime! security or not it is a crime to go into an unauthorized system even if it is not protected to find information that doesnt belong to you

Altering or deleting files after a successful hack doesn't say very good about a hacker's intent.

Of course, we've to take the prosecutors' claims with a pinch of salt

(creamhackered said @ #7.1)
Yeah indeed. Letting the Americans get their own way, not right.

The guy still committed a crime? You might not agree with the penalty, but the fact of the matter is the guy still committed an international crime

(neufuse said @ #7.2)

The guy still committed a crime? You might not agree with the penalty, but the fact of the matter is the guy still committed an international crime


So what? That was not the point of the comment. Would the USA give up one of their own so easily? No they would not. And that was the point of the comment. He is our citizen and our responsibility, so we should deal with him, not ship him off to some country with it's ****ed up laws. who want to lock him up for the rest of his life.

look at what happened to kevin mitnick ,look how his own country treated him, they should hire Gary. and who evers job it was to secure those computes should be fired for incompetance.

Yeh...hacking into an unprotected computer....and we should all sue the US government and RIAA for monitoring our computers

I love how americans blame every security issue to 9/11 or somehow relate it to that...

The US government is a joke...

(/ -Razorfold said @ #4)
I love how americans blame every security issue to 9/11 or somehow relate it to that...

Beautiful, stereotypical, blanket statement you made there. You have us all pegged. Way to go buddy.


..|..

(LipSmacker said @ #4.1)

Beautiful, stereotypical, blanket statement you made there. You have us all pegged. Way to go buddy.


..|..

Yeh because what I said was a lie isnt it...this article somehow claims that the guy accessed information shortly after 9/11...afghanistan was because of 9/11....iraq somehow related to 9/11....i can go on....

The government blames every single security **** on 9/11...and you know it.

/ -Razorfold
I love how americans blame every security issue to 9/11 or somehow relate it to that...

Have you already forgotten what you said earlier or are you already backpedaling? Next time my car gets broken into I guess I'll just blame it on 9/11. I guess you can blame your dissatisfaction of your life on the success of America, because it must be our fault.

(LipSmacker said @ #4.3)

Have you already forgotten what you said earlier or are you already backpedaling? Next time my car gets broken into I guess I'll just blame it on 9/11. I guess you can blame your dissatisfaction of your life on the success of America, because it must be our fault.

Did i forget? I said security issue NOT issue. Your car breaking down isn't a SECURITY ISSUE...

Disatisfaction at my life? No thanks...I love living in Hong Kong even though I go to university in America..I mean we have everything you have just better...

And success of America? Oh really? Lets see...a economy thats in the gutters...the worlds largest [by far...] trade defecit...a currency that is dropping...sub-prime loan crisis...the world's ****test cars...yes I can see a lot of success in that.

Don't make something I said personal just because you can't happen to read.

(/ -Razorfold said @ #4.4)

Did i forget? I said security issue NOT issue. Your car breaking down isn't a SECURITY ISSUE...

Disatisfaction at my life? No thanks...I love living in Hong Kong even though I go to university in America..I mean we have everything you have just better...

And success of America? Oh really? Lets see...a economy thats in the gutters...the worlds largest [by far...] trade defecit...a currency that is dropping...sub-prime loan crisis...the world's ****test cars...yes I can see a lot of success in that.

Don't make something I said personal just because you can't happen to read.

Geez buddy. A car breaking down and a car being broken into are two very different things. One is a security issue, one isn't. It all comes down to jealousy. Plain and simple. The haves and the have nots, that's why you come here to get an education.

(LipSmacker said @ #4.5)
Geez buddy. A car breaking down and a car being broken into are two very different things. One is a security issue, one isn't. It all comes down to jealousy. Plain and simple. The haves and the have nots, that's why you come here to get an education.


Your car being broken is a security issue that affects your so called "national security" [or maybe you actually didnt understand what I meant by security issue]

And why I go to america to get a uni education? Because I don't like UK [even though I pretty much studied all my life at an international school that followed the British system] and the worlds best uni for aerospace engineering is in America.

I don't hate America has a whole, its only this constant 9/11, national security bull**** you keep hearing from your government thats just ridiculous and stupid. If you want an example why this is so ****ed up heres one for you: this guy locks his GF in the bathroom for so long that when the police broke in and found her, the toilet seat had become a part of her body. He got a 6 month probhation period [NO JAIL TIME]. This guy hacks into an unsecured network looking for alien sightings and he gets a life sentence. Very fair isn't it...great legal system.

Hence this has nothing to do with jealousy. Because the world happens to have everything you Americans have, just sometimes its better. Unless of course you don't seem to think that the rest of the world exists, or that the rest of the world still lives in the middle ages.

I've given up trying to talk sense into you...go back and live in your little hole and think the rest of the world doesn't exist and believe everything your **** government tells you.

Let’s hope they do something to help the guy, It’s a shame his own government have failed him.
I’m sure I read the Americans want to send him to Guantanamo Bay, either way if the Americans get hold of him his life is basically over.

(ricknl said @ #2.2)
And if the EU doesn't help, he should still be able to go to Human Rights court in the Hague.

And if/when that fails, he can appeal to the Universal Court on Centari Prime... There comes a time when a person needs to accept his fate and man up. He (allegedly! ) did the crime, he needs to do the time. I'm not saying he needs to get hit with 60-years or disappear to Gitmo, but he needs to get hit with more than 6 months community service. That equates to giving him a slap on the wrist and conceding that what he did was not wrong or illegal at all. It does NOT matter what he was looking for, it could have been porn, aliens, a recipe for BBQ. Fact of the matter his he (allegedly! ) "hacked" a system. Reason is irrelevant.

(ir0nw0lf said @ #2.3)

And if/when that fails, he can appeal to the Universal Court on Centari Prime... There comes a time when a person needs to accept his fate and man up. He (allegedly! ) did the crime, he needs to do the time. I'm not saying he needs to get hit with 60-years or disappear to Gitmo, but he needs to get hit with more than 6 months community service. That equates to giving him a slap on the wrist and conceding that what he did was not wrong or illegal at all. It does NOT matter what he was looking for, it could have been porn, aliens, a recipe for BBQ. Fact of the matter his he (allegedly! ) "hacked" a system. Reason is irrelevant.

Reason may be irrelevant but he didn't cause any damage :\

Well.. my concern is not that he deserved it or not, but that he is being handed over to the US. Do you think a US citizen would be handed over to the UK if the oposite had happened?

Don't forget that when they wanted to setup a regulation that all War Crime cases would be handled in the Hague, the US wanted to pass a law, which would justify 'invading' the Netherlands to 'save' the crimal if he were to be an American.

Dutch people didn't like the idea, so now there is an exception for the US citizens and they are not trialed in the Hague.

Wrong in so many ways.

As for the �350,000 worth of "damage" he supposidly did, that's probably the cost of them implementing better security on thier systems. Security that should have been there in the first place!!!

They should give McKinnon a job. Perhaps he could hack into Iranian/Chinese/Korean computer systems for them. Be they wouldn't mind his hacking skills then!

Hypocrytes.

(artnada said @ #1)
Wrong in so many ways.

As for the �350,000 worth of "damage" he supposidly did, that's probably the cost of them implementing better security on thier systems. Security that should have been there in the first place!!!

The sad part about it is someone is probably lying about the damages in order to keep their job, while the real expense was just to upgrade to proper security like you said, and this guy goes to prison for possibly life for it.

That is very unjust, and it makes me sick.