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Activists Urge UK Not to Extradite Military Hacker to the US

Yesterday peaceful demonstrators protested the US extradition of Gary McKinnon (aka Solo), a Brit accused of hacking military and NASA computers. McKinnon, who lost his appeal to stay in the UK, could spend the rest of his life in an American prison if convicted.

The US alleges that unemployed computer systems administrator McKinnon completed the biggest military computer hack ever. McKinnon says he only wanted information on UFOs. But he did allegedly leave a note on one hacked system that might not help his defense. It said:

US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.

McKinnon's lawyers say that before he is extradited, the US must assure the UK that he would serve his sentence in the UK after he's convicted abroad.


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To see why they say McKinnon's human rights are at stake,

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McKinnon's advocates also note that he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, and that extraditing him would violate his human rights because the sentence in the UK would only be a few years compared to a potential for life in the US. Should Americans take note when citizens of another country say that punishment in the US justice system would be disproportionate to the crime, or is the US in the unique position of judging what punishment McKinnon deserves?

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lexichloe lexichloe 7 years
Geez, whatever. If this is news, it's to distract us from the real stuff.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
I'm sorry, but if you've "completed the biggest military computer hack ever", you're gonna be in a great big heap of trouble when you get caught. You got caught, serve the time. And I don't think that having Asperger's Syndrome should lessen his sentence either.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
I'm sorry, but if you've "completed the biggest military computer hack ever", you're gonna be in a great big heap of trouble when you get caught. You got caught, serve the time. And I don't think that having Asperger's Syndrome should lessen his sentence either.
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
rac: i know, it was bad. :)
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
rac: i know, it was bad. :)
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Should Americans take note when citizens of another country say that punishment in the US justice system would be disproportionate to the crime, or is the US in the unique position of judging what punishment McKinnon deserves?
The UK's punishment seems disproportionately light. And, as Jill and UD pointed out, he knew what he was doing. He should be extradited and judged according to the laws of the country whose laws he knowingly violated.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
<blockquote>Should Americans take note when citizens of another country say that punishment in the US justice system would be disproportionate to the crime, or is the US in the unique position of judging what punishment McKinnon deserves?</blockquote>The UK's punishment seems disproportionately <b>light</b>. And, as Jill and UD pointed out, he knew what he was doing. He should be extradited and judged according to the laws of the country whose laws he knowingly violated.
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
I hope he gets the maximum penalty. He knew what he was doing, but was too arrogant to think he would get caught. Most hackers who get caught exude that same arrogance. It's bad enough when you disrupt your own country's government, but it's twice as bad when you do it to another country.
raciccarone raciccarone 7 years
Cabaker, you're terrible.
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
Gitmo is beautiful this time of year.
raciccarone raciccarone 7 years
I agree with you, Jilli. We're in the middle of a terrorist crackdown and you hack NASA? That's just asking for a free ticket to Gitmo.
Jillness Jillness 7 years
I think that if he knowingly violated our laws, which the message he left proves that he knew he was causing a disruption, then he should be punished accordingly. It isn't as if his disability prevents him from knowing right from wrong. I am sure the prison system in the UK is better than the US, but then he should have hacked in the UKs system. He admitted he was intentionally causing trouble, he just thought he was too smart to get caught. Big risks result in big punishment if you get caught.
Jillness Jillness 7 years
I think that if he knowingly violated our laws, which the message he left proves that he knew he was causing a disruption, then he should be punished accordingly. It isn't as if his disability prevents him from knowing right from wrong. I am sure the prison system in the UK is better than the US, but then he should have hacked in the UKs system. He admitted he was intentionally causing trouble, he just thought he was too smart to get caught. Big risks result in big punishment if you get caught.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
well - i think that it's always a complicated thing when you are discussing where to send someome to serve their time and compare it to the severity of the crime. i can understand his side, but from what i know about Aspergers, it's not an illness that needs significant medical attention - it's a form of autism right? that makes socializing a bit tricky and things like that. it does explain his success at hacking into a system though since they do say that sometimes people with autism are highly intelligent. i don't know - it's a tricky thing - since it's a very significant thing that he hacked the system, and he really does deserve to serve the time for a federal offense. i guess we'll have to see how this pans out.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
well - i think that it's always a complicated thing when you are discussing where to send someome to serve their time and compare it to the severity of the crime. i can understand his side, but from what i know about Aspergers, it's not an illness that needs significant medical attention - it's a form of autism right? that makes socializing a bit tricky and things like that. it does explain his success at hacking into a system though since they do say that sometimes people with autism are highly intelligent.i don't know - it's a tricky thing - since it's a very significant thing that he hacked the system, and he really does deserve to serve the time for a federal offense. i guess we'll have to see how this pans out.
karlotta karlotta 7 years
He deserves a holiday named after him.
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