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back to article McKinnon loses Lords appeal

Accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon has lost his appeal in the House of Lords against extradition to the USA, but his lawyers have vowed to take the fight on to the European Court of Human Rights. Gary McKinnon at Infosec In a ruling this morning, Five Law Lords rejected arguments that the strong-arm tactics adopted by US …

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Alien

So where in the UK is he from?

I've got a vague suspicion he could be a Scot, seeing as you outlined it several times.

Question: In cases such as this, you mentioned the "Highest Court in England and Wales", but does that mean he can also go to a court in Scotland for an appeal?? I would have thought that the Scottish system would be less in favour of kowtowing to the US (tho far for guaranteed)

Alien, because they're out there... if only someone could get proof!

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"the former intelligence services commissioner"

Hmmm.

Now, you wouldn't want to accuse his lordship of possibly having even a teensy little bit of "Professional interest" in this case. Would you?

Nah.

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For once the British police got it right

When it comes to "national security", the British police (for once) seem to have judged this case well. The same can not be said of the US authorities who should be thanking McKinnon.

By a strange coincidence all 96 computers had exactly $1,000 worth of "damage", which is the threshold for prosecution.

Did McKinnon actually alter any data or just gain access, retrieve data and leave messages?

If the machines were insecure, it wasn't McKinnon's fault.

Anyway, how hard is it to find blocks of IP address assigned to .mil domains and then run a few scripts against them?

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Ash
Unhappy

bumbling fool

A perl script and some windows software, an idiot yes... a master hacker hahaha no. This is bloody ridiculous and the poodle of British justice should be ashamed.

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Military or Civilian trial in the US?

Disgust resistered as a matter of course, since the UK is now in full 'bend over, drop your trousers and take it like a man' mode with America.

My biggest fear is that it still seems unclear if the w^Hyanks want to try him in a military court (in which case he'll die in prison) or give him a civilian trial. Has anybody been able to get them to confirm which it will be? would the law lords have willingly sent him to face possible military 'justice'?

A civilian trial in the states would probably be OK, especially since he is high-profile enough to get a decent defence, which will be able to demolish this smokescreen about how much he 'cost' them (*) how much damage he caused, and important he is vs. all the other dark actors who were hacking these systems at the same time.

Basically he has already been punished more than enough for his 'crime'. And a civilian trial could probably prove this; the US government is not the only organisation with slick lawyers.

(*) To anybody foolish enough to believe the Americans claims on this; if you fit a mickey-mouse lock to your house and someone breaks in to use the toilet and steal a newspaper, the cost of fitting a proper lock is not their responsibility. They can only be done for trespass, emitting noxious substances, and theft of goods worth 50p.

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Anonymous Coward

It doesn't matter where he's from...

Whether he is a Scot or not is irrelevant. The alleged offence was committed on English soil. The request for extradition was lodged with the authorities in England.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For once the British police got it right

He did delete files and "render some computers unusable" - which probably means he took solitaire off them.

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Anonymous Coward

The US legal system

Whilst the foundation maybe English , there are a lot of differences.

http://www.tuccille.com/blog/2008/07/eight-reasons-even-innocent-shouldnt.html

Is an interesting look into the American legal system, it appears the cops are just allowed to lie to secure a prosecution. The English system is not really like that.

Though we have some odd laws, they could just whisk him to York, wait till dark then pop a bow and arrow in his hands and take aim.

Isn't there some Yankee cracker we could all get hot and bothered about for unauthorized accessing of some information over here, and start playing tit for tat.

He was on UK soil, our justice should deal with it, and the US should appear as the alleged victim (plaintiff) in our courts, bit of squeeze getting you all in though :)

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Tom
Joke

@ MarkW

All those insecure servers worrying about their bloated partitions ;)

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Torture

I was thinking about this recently when Parliment was told to ensure that the US were not illegally torturing prisoners, our government seems to think that they are. Now we are not allowed to extradite people, even terrorist scumbags who deserve to be removed from the country - and tortured, and killed, painfully, bloody terrorist scum -, if they are being sent to a country that will torture their prisoners.

Now, as the UK gov seems to believe the US are torturing prisoners, and there are doubts if this fella is going to get a military hearing, then couldn't he appeal on the grounds that there are no guarantees he will not be tortured?

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Flame

@ Owen Carter

I agree - Brown & Co (inc bought Lords) have their heads so far up Bush & Co's arses that they can see their intestines.

I hope the European Court of Human Rights doesn't get influenced by the US or UK and has guts and conscience enough to defy them.

Fat chance if the Lords are the ones appointed by the European Court to handle this case.

Damn - Meatloaf was right (when he played The Lizard in '51st State' when he said the UK "ain't nuthin but the 51st state".

Airstrip One.

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Stop

Dodgy security or not...

didn't the idiot think he might get into a teensy weensy bit of trouble if he hacked US military computers? He may not be a master criminal but he is a bloody fool. He also had plenty of time to plead an open and honest case rather than wasting time and pissing off everybody.

Recently the British public were up in arms about data being lost by various government bodies, what do you think they would have thought is they found that someone had hacked into the sytstem for this information?

Hacking doesn't happen by accident or by chance, it's a concious action that is done with intent. Bollocks to him.

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Thumb Down

I have to disagree......

He knowingly looked for a way to hack into the US military computer systems.

He knowingly installed software to further compromise US military computer systems.

The "mickey-mouse lock" analogy - If you break into MY home that's fitted with a "mickey-mouse lock" (trespass*) I WILL use reasonable force to restrain you. Reasonable force can now include - Lamp to the head, thrown bodily down the stairs or baseball bat to the knackers (several times of course to be sure you are not a threat anymore!).

So along those lines I believe that he SHOULD stand trial and as it is a military system that he purposefully decided to "trespass" inside then I don't see why it shouldn't be a military court.

Hello Dr Falken. Would you like to play a game?

* Move things around in a property or adding new items, without the owners express permission, and trespass becomes criminal damage

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ben
Alien

How can we fight

The extraterrestrial overlords this guy found the truth and now he's going to a secret US facility to be probed where the sun don't shine by greyliens.

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IT Angle

Bush leaving office ...

Bush could always pardon him on leaving office - as a change from former presidents who seem to pardon a crook each time instead.

(Oink, flap ...)

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Re:Military or Civilian trial in the US?

Who cares if the System Security was |_|b3r 31337 or noobish crap, he hacked it, he accessed systems without permission, he made unauthorised changes,he did it, he admitted it, he acknowledges it, he's now crapping his pants because American bubba's are bigger, meaner and fatter than their UK counterparts and he knows his 'lil white English ass' is going to be abused for years to come

Send him to the Military courts, let them deal with the attack on their systems, the way they want to in their courts.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

No sympathy for an English 'version' of Mitnik, only not such a clever or talented dick head, but like Mitnik, a dick head.

Ahh fuck it, in for a penny in for a pound, send the loser to the chair... :o)

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Silver badge

97 military computers with blank passwords!

If McKinnon is punished for reading secret document published by soldiers then I would like to see 97 soldiers punished more severely for publishing secrets.

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Pirate

The British Government should be ashamed...

I think that if you commit a crime IN the UK then you should be dealt with in the UK.

Has anyone else tried to get business insurance and mention that they _may_ do business with US companies? Mine shot right up in the air, the very notion that US law can apply to UK business is absurd.

I hope that the European Court has plenty of French judges who have the balls to stand up to the Yanks.

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Silver badge

Old Duffers just don't know what the Internet hides and what IT can do, Nowadays?

Presumably any trial would allow for the Defence to reveal everything that Gary did, or is it going to be one of those "secret" trials held in camera, so that no one knows what injustices are done?

After all, it is not as if he was discovering anything secret, is it? After all, $96,000 of virtual damage is practically nothing.

Them Yanks is 'avin' a larf and five Law Lords have been made to look like Fools for their amusement. Shame on you,

I wonder if they received anything embarrassing in the post?

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Anonymous Coward

Hillarious

I'm still laughing at how the US just walks in and says to the UK "GIMME" and the uk... well.. gimme's to them.

Unitl the world learns that the US is not their owner, we'll keep having these problems. Just the other month we had the RIAA in the US pushing the Ozzie government around (and that's not even a government institution).

Interesting story from a few years back, hosted here on El Reg: Back when the US started fingerprinting people entering their borders, Brazil fought back by fingerprinting - you guessed it - ONLY US citizens. I happened to be behind one such citizen while they were being treated like the US treats the world.

"You can't do that to me, buddy, I am an AMERICAN."

Makes me chuckle still to this day..

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Silver badge

The Real Deal is a Raw Deal and Rigged Show....... Payola

This story gives you a flavour of the Justice one can expect Stateside ....... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/30/dmca_suit_blocked/

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Highest Court

I believe, although I could be wrong, that the House of Lords is the highest court in Scotland too, above the High Court of Justiciary, and Court of Session.

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hm

I thought it was against human rights laws to extradite a person to a country where they could face torture and even death..

It also doesn't help his case when the BBC keep trotting out that pic of him where he looks like paedo lurking in the shadows!

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Joke

BOHICA...

...Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

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RE: It doesn't matter where he's from...

However, they weren't crimes in the UK.

Page 3 on the internet is showing pictures that are illegal in Saudi Arabia.

So will the Reg staff get deported for posting lewd and irreligious pictures?

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Anonymous Coward

Special Operations Manual

Anybody knows if this could be authentic?

http://www.mininova.org/tor/1643083

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Bronze badge

Dull

you got to be a weirdo to care for twatty aliens, and not have the mental power to keep walking with your bottle of whisky and toepunt 1 in the chin.

theres always defcon .org state side

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Boffin

@ Steve Hill

High Court of the Justiciary for criminal cases

Lords is only available for Scottish civil cases

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Military vs. Civillian

OK, listen up dipshits.

The reason he should be tried in a civilian court and not a military court is that military courts are for *members* of the military. The only place you find civilians in military courts are dictatorships.

It doesn't matter how much Daily Mail indignance you want to shovel into your comment, you are wrong.

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Dead Vulture

It's only fair to extradite him.

After all, when US soldiers bombed the crap out of British soldiers in friendly fire incidents, the US military were only too happy to make all the relevant documentation and video footage available, and to extradite the US soldiers involved to stand trial in a UK court.

Right?

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Black Helicopters

I feel sorry for him...

If the US government cannot be bothered to make sure their systems are secure then they deserve to be broken. Idiots allowing weak or no passwords... they should be glad that it was him that "hacked" into their systems and not someone else who might have used the information for something else.

Like they said they only caught him because he was an idiot and left his name and address on their computer (by using registered pay for software).

I think hackers are a good bunch, they test peoples security for free, the only charge for the service is "all your data are belong to us". Fair in my opinion unless they use the info to hurt someone.

What's the cost of fixing the mess, reformatting the insecure machines and reinstalling a more secure OS and patched software? that should be maintenance... idiots.

You just wait a few years for the billions of Chinese hackers to start, that will be fun.

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Alert

RE: coward...

I'm sorry about your violent fantasies, I guess someone stupid enough to fit mickey mouse locks is someone stupid enough to attack without thinking.

I'f I'd attacked the guilty looking youth I found in my parents house many years ago, (by pushing him down the stairs, I considered it..), I'd have maimed or killed my sisters new boyfriend, who was sneaking out. Not that he wasn't a total twat.. and definitely not supposed to be there, but it would have been disproportionate all the same.

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Silver badge

Fools!

He can't use the "noble hacker" defense (the one where the victims should be grateful because their security weaknesses were exposed) because he did it with the stated intent of removing classified documents (the ones about all the aliens that have been secretly hidden away while their UFOs are deconstructed for the good of democracy - are you sure you want this bloke walking around your neighbourhood at night?).

He's a common thief, albeit a mind-numbingly stupid one with a weird UFO fetish. Stupidity is not, even in the UK, an excuse for breaking the law, though it might result in a lighter sentence for cheering up the arresting officers.

House-breaking metaphor. It's like someone conducted an illegal search of your house. It doesn't matter whether he stole anything really, the fact that he got a good look at your pr0n and can tell anyone who asks what you like to watch when no-one is looking should make you want to bust him right in the nose.

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Question

If I hire some in the US to kill some in the UK, do I get tried in the US or the UK??? My part of the crime was done on US soil I never step foot over seas .

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Anonymous Coward

I have decided

to start replacing select words in titles to read "Your Mum"

So McKinnon loses your mum

Gmail certificate expiry snafu follows your mum

Driving some value into Your Mum

Only 'unlawful threats' would invalidate Your Mum

it provides mild amusement on days where news is to boring.

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A moron

He can't go free, or the moron will become some kind of hero to UFO nuts and hackers. He doesn't deserve that kind of honor. I would not assume that he will get a bad trial in the US, and all this talk about him being tortured or executed is ridiculous. In fact, it is likely that the US civil liberties groups like EFF will be a powerful resource for his defense. But if he is convicted, the prison system is certainly more harsh than Britain's.

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@Stevie

So if someone puts their head through your (open) front door and says "Your front door's open!" you feel justified in blowing their head off with a shotgun, eh?

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Dead Vulture

Big boys' games...

Big boys' rules - no sympathy here whatsoever. Bend over and take it, McKinnon.

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Stop

He did it here, he should be tried here.

So what's next... the USA going after the Chinese hackers? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/02/chinese_blamed_us_power_outage/

Oh.. China looks after it's own (in it's way) and doesn't send it's own citizens overseas for a kicking.

Here's an example.

You live next door to a loud neighbour who's constantly beating up other people in your street, but he's fairly nice to you so you don't say anything and anyway, the people he duffs up annoy you too... even though he's very violent, for some reason, the police do nothing..

Then one afternoon your boy throws a brick over the fence and breaks a pane of glass in their green house, and because he likes the noise, the breaks a few more too. Damage is done and the boy needs to be punished.

Now, you tell him off and he promises not to do it again. You ground him and tell him that he's not getting any pocket money for a month.

Next thing you know, the violent neighbour is banging on your door demanding that you send your boy next door for some punishment...

... what would you do?

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Silver badge

Busted metaphor

"House-breaking metaphor. It's like someone conducted an illegal search of your house. It doesn't matter whether he stole anything really, the fact that he got a good look at your pr0n and can tell anyone who asks what you like to watch when no-one is looking should make you want to bust him right in the nose." .... By Stevie

Posted Wednesday 30th July 2008 15:26 GMT

Stevie,

Can we then reasonably expect Phorm to be prosecuted ..... following your logic?

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Alien

Waste of Time AND Money.

What about "The Public Interest"?

None.

Utter crap.

Viva French Judges.

The alien 'cos thats how much in touch with reality these "Lords" are.

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@ MichaelG

'I agree - Brown & Co (inc bought Lords) have their heads so far up Bush & Co's arses that they can see their intestines.'

That's a very foolish and incorrect statement..

...Brown & Co. have their heads so far up Bush & Co's arses they could be their dentists.

As for the Lords; they are not passing judgement on the rights or wrongs of the case but on the legality of the extradition request.

Ever since Blunkett passed the cack-handed extradition treaty with the United States, there has been almost no way of blocking a request from US authorities. If you were kidnapped from the streets with a bag over your head, the current treaty would probably blame you for kicking and screaming so hard.

The decision of the ECHR whether or not to hear the case will be an interesting one.

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Strange...

It's strange how the folks on the other side of the pond feel they can generalize about the US and US citizens. Apparently we are entirely too much like wild animals to be allowed in your part of the world for a visit.

I personally take offense every time I hear someone assume the fact that I am an American means that I'm any one of the following:

1. Uncivilized - In the US Civil and Criminal system Prisoners are not tortured at all according to what I've seen. (I've had to visit several institutions where we keep those folks who insist on breaking our laws in the course of setting up, configuring, or fixing both networks and computer equipment.) With the exception of the atrocities that happened with military prisoners from the latest Iraq war, I'm not aware of ANY torture taking place. Even those, once they were found out, were taken care of. The officers in charge of that situation were severely punished (Although I don't think they were punished enough)

2. Stupid - Just because a few of the tourists that we send over there act like poorly trained baboons with a sense of 'you can't do that to me because I'm an American' doesn't mean all of us are like that. Quite frankly the one time I had the privilege of visiting Europe, I followed the old adage of 'when in Rome do as the romans do'. In general, the only time I had a problem was when someone found out that I was an American. Otherwise, no one knew the difference aside from my poor command of the French and Italian languages.

That aside, I honestly don't really think it matters much on where he is tried as long as he pays for his crime(s). I really do tend to think that he's going to get a fair trial on either side of the pond. I really don't feel like paying for his 'rehabilitation'. I have to say that if you folks want to try him, then keep him over there and YOU pay for it.

And the locked door analogy doesn't really apply to hacking. Even on an unsecured machine he would have had to defeat several barriers to get to the point where he could grab the documents that he wanted. Granted, whoever didn't set group policy for strong passwords that change every once in a while and such is a MORON.

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Happy

By bye McKinnon

McKinnon's a nasty little runt who among other crimes, in the days after 9/11 thought it amusing to post his own moronic theories on who was behind the attacks on Pentagon staff's computers. How did he think they'd react when their colleagues had just been murdered?

There's some pretty dumb posts about the legal system here especially regards international law. If you asked some of the above posters to comprehend how UK police arrested Pinochet in England on a Spanish warrant for crimes committed in Chile their heads would probably explode.

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This is ridiculous

Ok, he's a hacker. We've had our fair share of (black hat) hackers, virus writers and spammers already. Some of them should burn in hell.

However, from the coverage I had, I understood he was curious. He did not use his power to cause damage and I never read that he sold security information to "bad guys". Readers are free to prove me wrong.

So the UK is playing a political game here. Knowing that he could get up to 70 years of prison in the US, knowing what his crimes were, it would be just horrible just to deliver him to the US, a country known for wanting to "set examples". Can't he be judged in the UK? Why does the UK wants to be the puppy of a US president that claims he would never extradite US soldiers even if proven they committed war crimes?

But then again, I might be misinformed on what exactly he did to the US defense systems. As far as I know, he's a bloke with a little less developped sense of what you can and cannot do, but he did not harm the US. Well except for some BOFH's that had to go out and actually patch and secure their systems becauses of a bloke that was looking for information about UFO's on Defense and Nasa systems and probably a sick sense of "I do it because I can do it" kind of childless pride.

And don't get me wrong... I hate hackers etc... but I think that guys that make botnets to infect millions of computers so they can rob the bank accounts of your average "Joe" or "Darren" should face far more severe punishments than this guy.

All I say here, is of course under the assumption that I am well informed about what he did and why he did it. If he's not the child-minded but gifted hacker that I think he is, I would erase my post. But well... We've seen such "I can do it because I can hackers" before and as long as they do not severely damage things, I think punishment is good, but long-life sentence in prison is a bit too hard.

PS: not a native English speaker here, so forgive me if some of my texts are not up to decent English standards ;-)

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Unhappy

He might be a twat, but

I find it difficult to believe that we are going to hand one of our citizens over to the US under a treaty that THEY haven't even ratified.

It's a disgrace. I could almost understand it under a Tory government, if not agree with it, but Labour?!!!

I never thought a Labour government could persuade me not to vote for them (I've voted for them for 24 years). They have betrayed their most loyal supporters. They're going to get caned in the next election and it will serve the wankers right.

I despair of their stupidity.

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Take it like a man----

I hope that the European Court has plenty of French judges who have the balls to stand up to the Yanks.

The only reason the Eurotossers will let this toerag off is cos it will piss off us and the Americans. Justice is not in it, and balls sure as shit aint!They are still sulking about Waterloo. And strange how many of the "judges" seem to hail from "Former Balkan/Eastern Bloc" nations. They are not our no1 fans either. Two fingers to the lot!

If the crime/action affects another country,why should he not be tried in that country. Would we expect Bin Bag Laben to be tried in Afghanistan? And having heard this guy speak today he sounds like a resident of the south of England to me. Not a CU Jimmy in sight! Another thing I fail to grasp is that the quality of security has some bearing on the justification of a crime. Now I see the wisdom of always having a very large nasty German Shepherd. (Thats a dog, not a guy called Hans who tends sheep!) He bites any unwanted entrants to my homestead,but knows all my family! Beats any droid I ever met! And the baseball bat finale is a legal response to the carving knife with which he assaulted me. (Is that wound serious, sir--Oh no officer) writes a final closing chapter!

Gary

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Coat

His mum on the radio...

... sounded like, "he's not a hacker, he's just a very naughty boy!"

Mine has a Life of Brian DVD in the pocket.

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Flame

Extradition treaty

I thought this was a bi-lateral extradition treaty, if so then the Americans have no legal standing in requesting extradition of a UK citizen as they have not ratified their side of the treaty, even head up arse legal professionals should be able to work this out. McKinnon needs to get a solicitor who can actually understand law.

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Anonymous Coward

He's a stupid git. And @Blinkstr

If I was him, when I 'discovered' a way into a supposedly secure govenment server or servers, regardless of which county it belonged to. I'd do one of two things:

Bottle it and hope they never noticed me. 99.7% probability.

Try to sell or give it away to my countries espionage agencies. 0.3 probability.

I would not decide to try and hunt for proof of aliens. I'd be very much aware that I'm doing stuff that will land me in very hot water if I'm found out.

Nor would I try and be nice and contact the government and inform them of the breach I found. That just opens up a can of worms. Even if your viewing a website and then change the url a bit to find other stuff, that can be considered hacking.

Poster Blinkstr, although I'm not from the U.S.A., I totally agree with you, if the US was populated with nothing more than red neck xenophobic freaks then industrial innovation would be a little hard to come by. The last time I looked, Intel and AMD are US companies. Since I own a PC that relies on an Intel processor and an AMD/ATI graphics card, I think it's safe to assume that intelligent and creative people can be US citizens too. Perhaps in McKinnon's case, the judge will see that, although he was "very naughty" (must be read in a Futurama Santa style), there are/were gaping holes in secure servers that should not have been there in the first place.

What I find most offensive though is that the UK can't deport (yes I know it's not the same as extradite) a tosser like Abu Qatada (Interestingly, a long pause while looking up his name, I'll have to go for a new tin foil hat fitting), because his "human rights" may be threatened. Jordan, (where the arsehole belongs) MAY torture or kill him.

I leave you, dear readers to decide on what the bigger injustice is.

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