British Hacker Loses Extradition Appeal - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Government // Cybersecurity
News
7/30/2008
02:31 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

British Hacker Loses Extradition Appeal

UFO fanatic Gary McKinnon is accused of hacking into 97 U.S. military computer systems in 2001 and 2002 and may face as many as 70 years in a U.S. prison.

Gary McKinnon, a 42-year-old British citizen accused of hacking into 97 U.S. military computer systems in 2001 and 2002, has lost his appeal to prevent extradition to the United States.

In its ruling, the U.K. House of Lords dismissed McKinnon's claim that the disparity in possible penalties for cooperating (three to four years) with U.S. prosecutors and contesting U.S. charges (at least eight to 10 years) subjects him illegal pressure to surrender his legal rights under U.K. law.

If the extradition goes forward, McKinnon will be tried in the United States. It's not clear what sentence U.S. prosecutors would seek if McKinnon is convicted. A BBC report suggests McKinnon faces up to 60 years if U.S. authorities try McKinnon as a terrorist. Other reports cite a figure of 70 years.

But in the House of Lords Judgment, Lord Brown of Eaton-Under-Heywood said, "He might serve a total of only some 18 months to two years."

McKinnon's attorneys have asked the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. A decision in the matter is expected in 10 to 20 days.

McKinnon was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2002, but the country's Crown Prosecution Service declined to charge him. He was charged later that year by the United States.

McKinnon is alleged to have deleted data from U.S. military systems and disrupted military operations. His activities are estimated to have cost $700,000 in damage.

McKinnon claims that he was motivated by the desire to uncover information about UFOs.

In an interview with the BBC conducted after the ruling, McKinnon described his actions as a moral crusade. "[UFOs] have been reverse-engineered," he said. "Rogue elements of Western intelligence and governments have reverse engineered them to gain free energy, which I thought was very important, in these days of the energy crisis."

Other sources suggest a motive more political than altruistic. According to the House of Lords Judgment, McKinnon admitted leaving a note on one Army computer that said, "U.S. foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days ..."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll