A convicted hacker with Asperger’s Syndrome has been given a slightly reduced sentence of 55 months imprisonment over his involvement in a multi-million dollar trucking scam. The judges' scant degree of leniency in dealing with an Asperger's sufferer will be closely watched by supporters of Pentagon hacker, Gary McKinnon. …
So if I can convince a doctor I have something with wishy-washy symptoms like Aspergers, I can get off lightly too? Cool! What's the FBI's IP address again?
What do you expect?
USA is a country that kills the mentally ill in the name of justice and tortures in the name of law.
Hopefuly, we will see it recover its place as a civilised nation, but better not to hold the breath.
The line "was led into a life of crime" is a much more relevant defence with regard to Aspergers.
As I have been diagnosed with it I can speak with some authority - someone with Aspergers is perfectly able to determine whether what they are doing in this sort of sphere is right or wrong. It is with dealing with people that we have trouble. I am aware that I can be described as naive and am easily led - I do not always understand that someone may be using me to their own gain. I also have to be careful what I do for others.
Due to the social issues Aspergers causes people who have it usually struggle to make friends (yet we want them). Therefore if someone is willing to be a friend for what appears to be a minor cost that cost is usually likely to be met so the sufferer is able to keep that "friend" - even people without Asperger's will do things for their friends which they know are wrong.
The issue with Gary McKinnon is that he didn't do it to keep friends (well, the reporting doesn't mention doing it for others).
In summary: People with Aspergers are perfectly able to tell right from wrong (and are usually strongly moral), it's just that due to social difficulties we can screw up priorities when other people are involved as sometimes the only way we can feel that we have a "friend" is when they are using us - but we're unlikely to realise they are.
this seems different...
...to the McKinnon case - this seems more a case of wanton fraud rather than the McKinnon case which was more of a obsession of which the hacking was a byproduct.
I have far less sympathy for these guys than I do McKinnon (particularly given that he's been pretty let down by our country's crap extradition policy!).
fraudsters and conspiracy theorists
Why are we comparing the outcome of this case to what could happen in McKinnon's? One involves hacking in order to defraud people to the tune of millions. The other involves hacking during a futile search for information about UFOs. That's a huge difference that should have more effect on the outcome than the mental state of the accused has.
What now for Gary?
I suspect that the point of this article was to make all increase our sympathy for Gary. To be honest I am not sure that that is how I feel. Sure I feel sorry that the UK government is prepared to have an extradition treaty in place with a government that still executes people and I feel sorry that Gary will probably have to serve his sentence in a US jail well away from his family and friends.
But is mental illness a defence? I mean surely if Gary is unable to tell right from wrong he should not get a shorter sentence he should get medical help and if no help is available then he should be kept away from society so that he cannot do it again.
But then again what kind of sane person really commits any crime. What is sane anyway? I believe that Gary's illness makes him less likely to consider the impact of his actions on other people. Surely no sane person would ever take the life of another if they considered the results of their actions. No sane person would get behind the wheel of a car when drunk if they thought about the people they could hurt. No sane person would actually steal from someone else not knowing the impact that may have on the victim.
So perhaps we can empty the prisons quite quickly but then start filling up the mental institutions at the same rate.
If the person does not understand right from wrong then they should not be allowed on the internet.
If ever there was...
...proof that the press pick out stories about the absolute minority cases as if they were relevant to society as a whole, along with totally irrelevant nonsense, this is it.
I quote Wikipedia Asergers Syndrome article -
"A 2003 review of epidemiological studies of children found prevalence rates ranging from 0.03 to 4.84 per 1,000, with the ratio of autism to Asperger syndrome ranging from 1.5:1 to 16:1"
Extremely rare! I would never have expected to hear another story about Aspergers since Gary McKinnon, but lo and behold...
It happens all the time, same goes for those pissant burning laptop battery stories too!
Ooohhh run and hide, Lithium Ion batteries will kill us all!!!
I demand my right to rant. Shouty shouty.
Show me a case in the 30 years were the US has executed a some one who was mentally ill .
Aspergers... the new cannabis
it was it what made me done it, guv
Stop making the rest of us look bad
Having Asperger's Syndrome is probably an advantage when it comes to dealing with hard sciences and particularly computer software and networks, so expect to find more aspie stories with an IT angle than without.
I am now having to deal with people who hear I have Asperger's Syndrome and think I'm some kind of bumbling fool that spends my evenings trying to crack the pentagon* and cant grasp simple concepts like don't lie, cheat, steal or harm people, when in reality my world falls apart if the rules, procedures and drills aren't followed.
If the rest of your Shadowrun game decide it's time to put your skills to the test IRL, FIND A NEW GAME...
*of course anyone who doesn't cover their tracks properly deserves everything to be caught.
@Tough # By Anonymous Coward
Your dubious grasp of morality and legal responsibility make me wonder if you should ban yourself.
If I understand correctly, they took money to deliver goods (admittedly under false pretenses) and then had those goods delivered by someone else for less. That sounds like a pretty standard business plan. Why did they need to hack a website to do that?
off topic, but you could try http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=16777?
@ northern monkey
Obsession with what? "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" Hacking government computers to disrupt at the highest levesl, may be an obsession, but it's not one I'm willing to ignore. Stealing some money isn't as dangerous as trying to disrupt the U.S. military.
@ Baying Lynch Mob
See the quote above. I think you're wrong if you think he was just curious about UFO's. If that was the case, he woulnd't be leaving threatening notes about 9/11 on computers. I'm not sold yet that he's a 'terrorist,' but he's not some innoncent guy who didn't know messing with military computers was a bad thing. If all other details were the same, but this guy was in/from Pakistan imagine how things would be different.
Oh, boo hoo
I have a'holer's syndrome so i'm not responsible for anything i do...not ever at any time or in any place.
I'm the Meat Safe Murderer, only I never done it 'cause of DNA.
@ Stu and other commentard KCMG's
*sigh* - When I was finally diagnosed with my condition 4 years ago the statistics said I was 1:30,000 live births. The latest statistics are now somewhere around 1:160.... why? because more people are realising and coming forward for treatment - and also the condition is I think becoming more prevalent. Not to mention statistics are bull.. 4:100 is great and rare and unimportant - if you arent one of the 4 poor sods with that condition...
For all those who dont have what I have - or Aspergers - dont quote tabloid crap back at the people who do because trust me a sufferer of a condition such as Aspergers knows a helluva lot more about it than you do... its insulting and offensive that some of you arm-chair a$$holes seem to believe otherwise...
Oh, and on the McKinnon front - its more that the British Govt is being rodgered silly by ObamaCo (formerly BushCo) for a crime that was virtually non existant and more importantly virtual... than what illness he may have.
They should add ten years to McKinnon's sentence
They should add ten years on to McKinnon's sentence for his extradition charades. No court that I have ever heard of accepts lying, denial or stupidity as an acceptable defense.