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Hacker to be extradited to America Answered

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.

Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon could face life in jail if convicted of accessing 97 US military and Nasa computers.

He has admitted breaking into the computers from his London home but said he was seeking information on UFOs.

Link to BBC website.

According to McKinnon (in the video included in the article), he used a simple password hack ("blank password scanning") to look for UFO-related technology. In response, the US are using (abusing?) anti-terrorism laws to extradite McKinnon for trial.

If found guilty, McKinnon could face life in jail. American officials involved in this case have stated that they want to see him "fry".

Controversy abounds in this case:

  • Britain has no choice regarding the extradition, because they have signed a treaty with America regarding the extradition of terrorist suspects. America, however, has yet to sign the treaty they are exploiting in this case.
  • If an American citizen committed the same offenses against UK military computers, the US would prevent the extradition of their citizen anyway, because they are protected by the constitution.
  • The case is being prosecuted retrospectively - when McKinnin hacked the military computers, there was no treaty, and his actions were not considered an offense.
  • The US is (allegedly) using the same anti-terrorism treaty (the one they haven't signed) to force the extradition of around 200 UK citizens, mostly for non-terrorist offenses (such as financial crimes).


Didn't know this story... wow. life in jail just for hacking...looks like they are hideing something about UFOs... He didn't kill any one, hes a smart man who saw what he shouldn't... 20 years in jail is also to much for hackers, not life... keep us posted Kiteman, I want to see how this end! Thanks!

He's just a guy looking for UFOs. He thought how you did. You may be right, though. As a hacker in training ( just to learn more, maybe become a programmer ) , the law is 10 years in jail and some fine, I think $10,000. Bob Phil McMooow, He might have, but I think that Britain hired him. Crackers are the ones who do it for evil intent. I am 12, becoming 13 in a month.

Happy birthday! A little sooner but what the hack.... :D

Thanks. Being exported to America is the fate of most non-American hackers. There is a case I know of, but don't know where from. Big Brother is definitely cracking about hackers.

Bob Phil McMooow: The state of the world may be worse now, but look at Kevin Mitnick. Five years without trial, not being allowed to touch a phone, or even use a computer at a gift shop! The state of the world has always been depressing for hackers.

They aren't chasing him under hacking laws, but under anti-terrorism laws, which can lead to a life-sentence.

And who knows how long in Gitmo before the trial?

Yea, that makes sence, everybody was in shock after what happened to those buses and 9/11..and now this. But still, I don't thinks he is a terrorist, no way! Is he? :/

He's not a terrorist - it's an abuse of the law.

I second that. But since when has the law been not abused against hackers. The Secret Service breaks up meetings of hackers, violating the First Amendment! Not an abuse of law, a lack of bounds for a law.

Define terrorist. Then see why he is innocent.

P.S. I am a British citizen, and can legally become president, unlike the non-American-born one in office . . . . .

I didn't say the above, I'm just a bit angry.

I believe that his lawyer "autism expert Prof Simon Baron-Cohen" is related to Sacha baron-Cohen aka "Borat"? One of the more interesting points about this guy's activity was that he was only using a 56k dial-up, and as other comments having severely embarrassed the US military they're after his blood... (so to speak) L

non-terrorist offences

actually, under the patriot act, any crime "that endangers human life" (Any crime) is considered terrorism and is punishable by death

How did he endanger a persons life, other than his own, of course.

i think they more mean that any crime that endangers many human lives and probably that causes fear in large or small scale not sure how good of an explination i did there, thinking of the definition of terrorism/terrorist

building a nice hv project and calling your friends to see it fits this definition instructables should be filtered by the us webmasters and all providers except aol be banned

you guys are making bombs out of liter fluid and it's really annoying your looking at it like somebody without a way to realize the human eaning of it

So... jaywalking could generate a federal response?

Good grief.

Haha, I think the law refers to other people's lives. Jaywalking won't generate a federal response.

So if there is four old ladies going to church on a Sunday morning, and they are all in the car together, and the car is speeding, which is very well documented to endanger ones own life and the lives of others.... Would this generate a federal response ?? While it may not of yet, is it possible under the wording of the law ?? Remember several criminals have been nailed with laws most people don't even know could be used in that way, while yes several are tax laws, but the patriot act is a very powerful and very poorly worded piece of legislation..... (( I know where I live they could process it under the anti-gang laws since there is more then one person in the car and they all could get up to 25 years imprisonment, and fines not exceeding one millions dollars EACH.... And no they haven't used that law yet for people speeding to church...but they could ...... )) And in the USA do you actually have to show any sign of guilt, for them to hold you in there custody forever with out even charging you under the patriot act ??? And this is some thing as a US tax payer you might want to ask.. Is how much is this going to cost you, because it will cost more to keep him in a prison, then it would cost to send an American kid through university... (( And in the end which would have the greater benefit to the average American tax payer ?? )) Oh and they get free health care some thing lots of Americans don't get, and lots could use ......... )) Kitman, if you don't want to get into trouble, before you step foot on the other curb look around for the coppers and if there is one around, turn around and head back to the other side of the street, because that is not jaywalking under the eyes of the law, it might be stupid but it's not jaywalking until you step foot on the other curb....


The old ladies would probably get pulled over and ticketed, and maybe arrested if they were belligerent towards the officer. No federal response. I don't think it is possible under the wording of the law. Maybe it is though. But the feds never, to my knowledge, deal with speeders and jaywalkers. They leave that up to the states and local governments.

Mmm, well, normally, yes, but as the people in Guantanamo Bay will attest, it is suspended in some cases. Sometimes suspected terrorists are detained indefinitely without being charged and without a confession.

I agree, but the health care for prisoners is being cut in many places as of late.

Capital punishment in the United States is only meted out for the taking of human life, not the endangering of it. It's not even used on rapists or child molesters. Jaywalkers can jaywalk with peace of mind, knowing they won't get the chair for it.

<> Chair .. nope but a LT245/75-16 at 55 MPH will do the trick for the jaywalker... And if they cut health care to prisoners, are they just going to let them die ?? because they can't be gainfully employed while imprisoned, to pay for medical treatment... Would that not be Cruel and unusual punishment, and punishable under several signed treaties ?? ((( Even though the US likes to ignore them, even act in defiance of he world courts in Hague, just look at Jose Medellin whom Texas just executed, Do you think as an American, other governments are going to act and offer protection under signed treaties if the USA doesn't ?? This will put several Americans at risk who might be traveling abroad ))) And the people in Guantanamo bay just had there first verdict on Wednesday, and this person was caught in November 2001 and taken to Guantanamo Bay on May 2002, and it's now August 2008 and the Pentagon only expect to prosecute 80 of the roughly 265 people being held there, but won't comment on what they plan on doing with the rest of them... ((( And the US supreme court has declared the military tribunals both illegal and in violation of American and International laws ))) So just because they haven't charged those ladies, doesn't mean they can't, or won't.. If they can't arrest people they want to, they will use the laws to there fullest ability, just sitting and waiting for some one to screw up..... (( and those other special criminals you mentioned could also get the LT 245/75-16 at 55MPH and the latter one could also be .........................))

Chair? Eh?

Yes, but at least the government won't kill them! :D

No, no, just cutting some of the extraneous benefits-for example, elective surgeries (including even plastic surgery!), hormone treatments, stuff like that.

Even though the US likes to ignore them, even act in defiance of he world courts in Hague, just look at Jose Medellin whom Texas just executed, Do you think as an American, other governments are going to act and offer protection under signed treaties if the USA doesn't ?? This will put several Americans at risk who might be traveling abroad

I'm a little confused at what you mean there-do you mean, do I think other governments will offer protection to Americans who break the law overseas? If that is what you are asking, I think it depends. Switzerland, yes, Germany, probably not.

Guantanamo bay-there's a mess.

But the feds don't control the speed limits. They handed over complete control, authority and juristiction to the states in 1995. The federal government has no officers who would charge the little old ladies anyhow.

I think we're dealing with a bad definition here-the only reference I could find to endangerment in the whole document says "...is engaged in any other activity that endangers the national security of the United States." -Sec. 236A ''Link to full act''' Not human life. And this applies to Alien terrorists to boot! It wouldn't apply to regular Americans (though they can be held if they are determined to be "persons of interest").
Little old ladies speeding to church hardly threaten national security.

Those criminals definitely deserve it.

Ok about the US citizens traveling abroad and the execution of Jose Medellin, while his crimes fit the punishment under Texas laws, he was a Mexican, and the USA did sign the Vienna Convention, which gives detained foreigners the right to consular help from there government.. Some thing he was not afforded, according to the International Court of Justice, (( World Court in Hague )) And President Bush, asked the states to review the case, but the Supreme court ruled early this year that neither the President or the International Court could make Texas wait to execute him.... So If the USA is not willing to act with in the boundaries set out in a signed treaty, Why should any other government, when they are arresting and executing Americans that have violated there laws ?? And the US foreign services should be able to tell you the number of consular help requests they have had, ( I know it's a big number )) And now Americans traveling abroad may not be afforded this request in the future, and some countries carry the death penalty for DUI, and while this is overlooked, how long will it take before the USA is watching on CNN one of there citizens being stoned to death for some minor crime or what would be a minor crime in the USA, they stepped up when Singapore was going to cane Michael P Fay and the USA got leniency, he took four whacks not the six the judge ordered, but now will they ever find out, or will it be after the punishment has already been handed down ?? (( And once you commit a death penalty it is an irreversible condition )) (( And don't take this as saying he should of got away with what he did, it's just me pointing out they could of afforded him the rights that both governments have granted him in a signed document, and maybe it might of been the smart thing to do for all US citizens both now and in the future ))

You make some interesting points. I'm not familiar enough with those cases to really say anything intelligent about them though. The death penalty for DUI?! Really? What countries??

DUI, well firstly your not able to drive on a public road in Saudi Arabia if you are a female, so you might be in double trouble if your caught <> (( I don't know the DUI penalty but I'm sure it's not good since legally you can't drink there )) and theres Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, and few others ....)) El Salvador well your first offense is your last---execution by firing squad Bulgaria a second conviction results in execution Malaysia the Driver is jailed and if married, his wife is jailed too. (( So this effectively might be worse then the death penalty ?? ROLMAO they should try this in the rest of the world )) And there is hundreds of sites wanting to bring the death penalty for DUI in the USA ....

"DUI, well firstly your not able to drive on a public road in Saudi Arabia if you are a female" Grrrr. That makes me mad just to hear it. Whoa. I had no idea-I guess other countries are way tougher than I thought!

Yea I had a feeling that might make you a wee bit mad... but they are planning on lifting that regulation, as it is the only country in the world to enforce it.. (( And in some areas being a female and having to walking behind a man is not a bad thing, at least you'll know where the PMN-2 landmines are buried in a hurry <> See there is some positive points to every negative situation )) And ya lots of places actually punish people for being stupid, in Singapore if you are on your third dui offense , you'll more then likely get a caning ( up to 6 times this will typical leave permanent scaring ) And those are for people that are punished under the laws of the land they are in. In some third world countries, if you commit acts you shouldn't, you better hope the officials catch you and not the locals, I have seen first hand the forming of and the beating a small lynch type mob can do, they even break branches off trees as they go, they pick up rocks, what ever is handy, it took several officers firing AK-47's just over there heads to break it up and they never did say if the guy lived or died..... (( and it was all over a theft of a $10 shortwave radio, but when you have nothing, a radio is considered a major possession ))

"And in some areas being a female and having to walking behind a man is not a bad thing, at least you'll know where the PMN-2 landmines are buried in a hurry " AHAHA! :'D We really have it good in the US then!

So you're not US?

*Slaps forehead* That's right, you're in Africa, aren't you...

Nope, right now I'm north of you in the land of the polar bears and metric ... oh wait not that far north, ( ok I lived in the Yukon for a while to, but I never seen a polar bear there, but I did watch the thermometer go below it's -40 that is F oh wait C it doesn't really matter ..<> ) right now it's Alberta for me....

Close.... lol, not to many guys wearing dresses here, Oh, Kilts , Kilts that is what I mean...

I think the problem is that humans make the law, and humans enforce it. Not only humans, but different humans take the different parts of it into their own reasoning. Everyone has such a different reasoning process that this system cannot be counted on as stable, like some well-oiled machine. A lot of the rules stipulated are residual and accidental, simply because some paranoid politician didn't stop and think about the big picture.
In addition, the enforcement of the rules are left to the opinions and reasoning of individual officers. Even if the Patriot Act stipulates that any endangerment of human life is an act of terrorism, most law enforcement officers are not going to apply that stipulation to the speeding grannies. Why? Because the law makes a loophole for senile women? No. Because in the officer's mind, there is no possible way that these women could be terrorists. Although the outcome makes sense, the reasoning is a leap of logic that has no legal basis.
Now let's look at a less lethal act - hacking the US military's intarweb system. Has anyone's lives been endangered? Pfft, no. Apparently, insulting the military is a bigger crime than reckless driving. The officials' chests puff out and they grab at their every opportunity to punish those who make them look bad. Like Adrian said, if the old ladies had insulted the police officer, the crime of speeding would have been forgotten, and the officer would suddenly have a personal agenda. Basically this hacker guy cut out the middle man by showing the military their vulnerabilities, and now they're trying to throw the book at him to make an example.

That's why the law is such a complex, unweildy thing. For those very reasons, the attempt is made to cover every possible definition and scenario.

I'm not condoning what the hacker (or should I say cracker!) did though, or saying he should get off easy. Hacking a military computer is stupid. They don't take kindly to that. Plus, they have to make an example out of him, so people don't just waltz on through the security and into their files.

Make an example of him ?? if they are going to this level, then this tells me he got into there systems and seen info he more then likely shouldn't of seen ..... Now if they offered him a nice well paying job, not only would he fix other exploits they don't know about yet (( rest assured he probably knows more then the few they know of )) And what / how much media coverage would this get, more then likely none, and I'd go about my day knowing the systems are safe........ But now the whole world knows they can hack the US military computers if they want to........ And now your border guards want to copy all the information off my laptop hard drive every time I goto the USA.... how am I to know it's going to be safe if they can't even protect there own military secrets from a small time hacker ((( Oh thats right use non USA origin encryption and have nothing of value on the laptop to start with )))

If the prosecute him and go tough on him, it shows all would-be hackers they better stay away from their system, because they don't mess around with people who do hack them. Yeah, I agree, he probably should have been hired. Well, it's not exactly new, the military has been hacked for years. Every few months it's on the news. A few months ago it was some Chinese guy. Before that, I think it was a Filipino. Uh, they want to copy all your info? Really? That's dumb...

Like someone else said earlier... They ought to be paying him for having shown them their weak points. Now they have an opportunity to fill in the gaps and prevent future hackings. He didn't cause any harm or even loss of money, he was just curious and wanted some info. Who was it that came up with the saying... "No damage, no crime." Very nice that he had their vulnerabilities at his fingertips and did not exploit them unethically by selling secrets to enemies or something like that. He sounds like an honest hacker, why the knee-jerk reaction? oh yeah, this is a knee-jerk country...

If the guy driving next to the ladies decides to sue, and his lawyer cites the patriot act, yes.

Ya but they could have him arrested under the digital millennium act for altering the memory on the cell phone he used to call the layer, because you alter the memory just buy turning the phone one (( Yes there is some stupid laws out there )) And while they are at it they might want to sue GOD, like some other guy in the USA is doing right now.....

Christ almighty. Did he just do it out of boredom? And a life sentence. Good grief. i am only 13 yrs old but the state of the world at the moment is severely depressing.

the state of the world at the moment is severely depressing

so true

I must say that he has just proved to be smarter than some of the best security freaks in the world, and just helped them discover a problem with their system. hiring him to attempt to hack their system would be a wonderful help to them. Besides, it's their fault he looked at that stuff.


Reply 9 years ago


They send in the Justice League?

Dammit, Jim, I'm a Scientist, not a lawyer!

You'd probably either rot in jail in the country you were convicted in, or, less likely, be sent home.

who do you know here that would know about this stuff?

I'm really not sure. I don't think many keen Makers are also international lawyers...

I was one for three days... They kicked me out when they realized I just found a suit in the Oxfam...