back to article Lauri Love judgment: Extradition would be 'oppressive' and breach forum bar

Accused hacker Lauri Love will not be extradited from the UK to America to stand trial on accusations that he hacked into a number of American government agencies, the High Court ruled this morning. In their full judgment, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, and Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley, sitting as the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The argument makes me sick

    He is supposed to have committed an offense in the UK. I am saying supposed to because it is "supposed to" until it is proven in a court of law.

    We should not be discussing is he a suicide risk or not and is he sick or not in the context of extradition.

    He should stand trial IN THE UK. End of story. The Americans can ask for something ONLY if he has been found guilty and only after he has served his sentence if he is found guilty. By the way, if he is not found guilty, they can go get lost.

    All in all UK should really take some lessons from the French. Their treatment of the Jackal has been exemplary in that respect. All USA requests for extradition have met ONLY ONE ANSWER. The one a sovereign nation (not Airstrip One) is supposed to give: "Sure, after we are done with him first".

    1. a_a

      Re: The argument makes me sick

      <quote>He is supposed to have committed an offense in the UK.</quote>

      He may have been in the UK but the computers he broke in to were not.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: The argument makes me sick

        He may have been in the UK but the computers he broke in to were not.

        This again...

        It is a basic principle of jurisprudence that ignorance of the law is no defence. That principle collapses into absurdity if it hinges on the expectation that an individual must know and adhere to the legal code of every country with an internet connection. That's without even considering the vast abridgement of democracy implicit in being held liable according to laws passed by a body that is totally undemocratic from the perspective of the accused (EU citizens can't vote in congressional elections).

        To engage in a little reductio ad absurdum:

        "I think the Holocaust didn't happen and here is a photo of a swastika."

        Someone reads that in Berlin or Vienna. You are suggesting that the Germans have grounds for extradition? The computer screen my comment appeared on was in Germany after all?

        It is absurd. A British citizen, acting in the UK commits an offence under British law or he doesn't. Nothing else should be relevant. The electorates and legislatures of foreign countries can enact whatever laws they like for whatever reasons they like and there should be no expectation that a British Citizen, in Britain should pay the slightest attention or even be aware of what those laws are.

        Simply writing disrespectfully about 'lil Kim is probably a capital offence in Pyongyang. I don't know, I don't care and there should be no expectation to the contrary.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          @lysenko

          " and there should be no expectation that a British Citizen, in Britain should pay the slightest attention or even be aware of what those laws are."

          I agree with all your points bar the one above - I think its somewhat absurd to pretend that someone who is obviously as au fait with computers as this guy wouldn't have the first clue that hacking is illegal. Aspergers is no excuse - that affects social behaviour, not intelligence and clearly he's not dumb so he must have known that when he hacked in he risking being nicked.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: @Boltar

            I think the point stands as a general principle. That he knew he was breaking the law in the US would also mean he knew he was breaking the law *here*.

            It is a crime in Thailand to criticize their King, but if were to denigrate him in this post, would he have grounds to request my extradition?

            After all, if I've hurt his feelings the crime took place in Thailand, right?

            1. boltar Silver badge

              Re: @Boltar

              " That he knew he was breaking the law in the US would also mean he knew he was breaking the law *here*."

              Exactly. As I said, he's not dumb so he must have known he was breaking the law here yet he did it anyway.

              "After all, if I've hurt his feelings the crime took place in Thailand, right?"

              I think you and all the downmods misunderstood my post (or they're just kids who downvote anyone who doesn't agree that every hacker is a 100% bona fida hero sticking it to Da Man and should be treated as such).

              What I'm saying is I don't believe he didn't realise what he was doing was a crime in the UK and he's not the innocent all his cheerleaders make hjim out to be.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: @Boltar

                What I'm saying is I don't believe he didn't realise what he was doing was a crime in the UK and he's not the innocent all his cheerleaders make hjim out to be.

                That's fair enough, and to be honest I agree with that statement, but it isn't really relevant to where he is judged to have allegedly committed the crime. That a crime was involved, sans a trial, does seem fairly obvious considering what is being reported, but he should definitely stand trial here, in the UK.

                I spend most of my waking days designing environments to protect data from numb-nuts like this, so I have little sympathy in that regard, but right is right and wrong is wrong, and extraditing him to the US seems very wrong to me.

                All discussions around guilt/punishment/mediating factors (such as medical conditions) are entirely separate in my view.

          2. shaunhw

            Re: @lysenko

            @boltar

            Aspergers or not, I think he should have a reasonable expectation NOT to have to be unwillingly carted off to a foreign land, (perhaps NEVER to return) for ANYTHING he does wrong, whilst residing on this sovereign island. Where in the computer misuse act does it state that might be a possible punishment ?

            Transportation for life ended years ago, before anyone here was born. Even then such punishment was decided in a British court.

            Foreign powers have a right to be able to prosecute you, and seek to extradite you, for offences occuring on their soil whilst you were living under their law, but not otherwise. It's complete chaos otherwise.

            1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

              Re: @lysenko

              Er... Britain reserves the extra-territorial right to punish its citizens for crimes committed elsewhere in the world - Thailand, for instance...

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: @lysenko

              "Aspergers or not, I think he should have a reasonable expectation NOT to have to be unwillingly carted off to a foreign land"

              Where did I say otherwise? Can anyone on here read properly or is it national knee jerk day?

              1. shaunhw

                Re: @lysenko

                Boltar -

                I sincerely apologise if you didn't think that Mr Love should be extradited.

                I agree that he should face the consequences of violating UK law if found guilty in a BRITISH court.

                But would he have been so aware that he might instead get shipped off to a foreign country, to face trail and a FAR, FAR more severe penalty than he could ever receive under current UK law ?

                That he almost certainly would do so, IMV is one other reason why this extradition should not happen.

                As far as I can see, he was simply allegedly in violation of the "Computer Misuse Act", whilst located in the UK, and should face the consequences for that UP TO the maximum allowed by the law of this land, at the judge's discretion, if found guilty.

                Under current law It appears to be of NO relevance who actually owned the misused computer, or where it was physically located. Exactly how it was misused as far as I know, is the only issue to be considered under the Act. That the misused computer was owned by a US entity therefore seems immaterial.

                There is a maximum penalty for what he did, whilst living on BRITISH soil, and that must be the maximum extent of any punishment he receives. If our government aren't happy about this, they can always change the law to reflect their concerns, in the event of future violations of this law. Even if they did this, there doesn't seem to be a case for any extradition to a foreign country.

                He did not break any American law, because he wasn't in the USA, when he broke the law, and the USA do not have any extra territorial jurisdiction over him as he is not one of their citizens or an ex-pat US national.

                The computer misuse act (as far as I can see from looking at it) doesn't make any exceptions in the form of far greater punishment, if the computer is located outside the country, and/or if the owner of the computer is a foreign government or any other specially high profile entity.

          3. Lysenko

            Re: @lysenko

            I agree with all your points bar the one above - I think its somewhat absurd to pretend that someone who is obviously as au fait with computers as this guy wouldn't have the first clue that hacking is illegal.

            I agree in this case. I was speaking in terms of general principle. Establishing mens rea should be perfectly straightforward and I fully expect a CPS prosecution in a British court to succeed as soon as the USA stops withholding evidence (which is essentially what the Court said, minus the prejudicial assumption).

        2. post-truth

          Re: The argument makes me sick

          These jurisdictional arguments are all about angels on the heads of pins.

          In the reality that is international law, all nations can ask for extradition of anyone in any other nation to face trial, provided the metalaws associated with extradition treaties etc are satisfied.

          Sometimes this becomes absurd - such as when a foreign nation of which I am a citizen criminalized my work teaching encryption and building encryption into software to protect US/European companies from data breach. An extraditable offence for which any citizen of that nation could face ten years imprisonment regardless of where they plied their trade. Happily, they recently updated that particular law to change the citizenship element, but the point is a general one and the UK is no stranger to such calamities in its own laws.

        3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: The argument makes me sick

          ...It is a basic principle of jurisprudence that ignorance of the law is no defence. That principle collapses into absurdity if it hinges on the expectation that an individual must know and adhere to the legal code of every country with an internet connection. ...

          The principle collapses into absurdity if it hinges on the expectation that an individual must know and adhere to every aspect of the legal code in the UK. That is already too much for a single person to handle. Then add the fact that much modern law is written so that the Executive Authority are given the authority to interpret things in any way they wish (HM Revenue and Customs are masters at this, but even straightforward criminal law now depends on opinion hate crime for instance, or many terrorism offences..). Nowadays the law is simply a threat to everyday living...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The argument makes me sick

        He may have been in the UK but the computers he broke in to were not.

        That old chestnut.

        It's not relevant. The offense he has (supposedly) committed is a criminal offense in the UK. National sovereignty commands that UK legal system has first dibs on him.

        USA will simply has to wait until we are finished with him and should have gotten in the queue from the very beginning instead of claiming their Manifest Destiny and pangalactic sovereignty of their legal system.

        1. Mayday
          Headmaster

          Re: The argument makes me sick

          "Offense"

          If "we" means the UK, or indeed anywhere that is not the USA, then that would be an "offence".

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The argument makes me sick

          "USA will simply has to wait until we are finished with him"

          Careful there, you're into double jeopardy territory. It's one jurisdiction or the other for a give set of events, not both.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: The argument makes me sick

            I really don't see how this works. We've had Mexican nationals shoot across the Rio Grande and hit (kill?) US government agents. Do they stand trial in Mexico for gun possession?

            The entire point of extradition hearings is to weight the claims of the aggrieved parties against the rights of the accused. First, the nations in question have an extradition treaty whereby they agree to conditions under which a request for extradition will be entertained. No treaty, no extradition. Then, the country requesting extradition has to make its case. The entertaining nation then weighs the matter. Does your country have an extradition treaty with the Norks? Then no matter. Does your nation have a strong tradition of freedom of speech? Then a German extradition request because you are a particular type of idiot goes nowhere. If you don't like the idea of extradition, please use valid examples.

            Love stands accused of a campaign of attacking US national assets. In doing so, he would have violated English (British?) law, but the Crown is not the primarily offended party. If the countries were reversed, I would have no problem with sending someone over given that the relevant legal thresholds are met.

            Seriously, these arguments just sound anti-US. I know we're far from perfect, but try to view this as a matter of law.

            1. Lysenko

              Re: The argument makes me sick

              I really don't see how this works. We've had Mexican nationals shoot across the Rio Grande and hit (kill?) US government agents. Do they stand trial in Mexico for gun possession?

              According to US jurisprudence, they don't stand trial at all and there is controversy over whether there is even civil liability.

              This illustrates another aspect of the problem I was describing. As a British citizen, I am quite clear that if challenged by a police officer I can ignore him if I believe his orders to be unlawful, and reach into my inside pocket for my phone. The policeman in question has no right to assault me (let alone shoot me!) as a precaution just because I might theoretically be reaching for a weapon. The right to self-defence hinges on minimum force in response to actual threats, not lethal force in response to hypothetical threats.

              Obviously, I know US law is different and based on the principle of "shoot first, ask questions later". That's a decision the American people make in respect of their own country and I have an obligation to be aware of that and behave accordingly if I'm in America. The problem arises if I am expected to take American law into account when I am nowhere near the USA.

              For all I know I'm committing offences under numerous foreign laws at this very moment. I can't possibly know. Can I start a club called the "Falkirk Bowling Institute" and tell people I'm from the "FBI"? Can I mention "second amendment remedies" in respect of the US President? Can I (using the principle of reciprocity and the supremacy clause of the US constitution) strike down the 1st Amendment and extradite Americans publishing material which contravenes UK discrimination law?

              It is ridiculous to imagine anyone could even be aware of the full range of law in every country. The UK has extradition treaties with Botswana and Cuba! Personally, I oppose extradition on general principle, but insofar as extradition treaties exist, the requesting party should have to prove that the offence exists in British law, that there is sufficient evidence to convict, that the proposed penalties are comparable and that the accused's rights under the HRA/ECHR will be upheld (which is why the USA can't extradite and use the death penalty).

              There is nothing specifically anti-American about this, any more than it is anti-German to refuse to accept their Holocaust Denial laws (as the UK and the USA both do) or anti-Botswanan to point out that only a handful of UK citizens are likely to have any idea about the specifics of Botswanan law.

              1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                Re: The argument makes me sick

                I was indeed referring to the case you mentioned. Our adminstration's handling of that case is considered an outrage by many. It was unreasonable for me to assume that folks here would know that firearms possession is generally illegal in Mexico.

                Let's try this another way. Suppose I point a gun at someone & pull the trigger. At what point is the crime? If I miss, it was attempted murder when I pulled the trigger. If I hit, murder occurs when the bullet hits the body. Wherever I go in the world, US sovereignty will hold me accountable if I do something it does not like. (Including sex "tourism".) But the relationship goes two ways--the US exists because of the corporate desire that certain rights of its citizens be protected by it. If I am murdered, I expect a US government to prosecute the offender, and I really don't care who, where, or how it was done to me.

                To me, the question about extradition is first who is the victim? and second, "where did the crime occur?" Suppose I, a US citizen, while visiting Canada, contact an Italian (in Italy) to do a hit of a German in the UK via a French BBS. I'm picked up by Mexico. Would there be any outrage if each of the above mentioned countries requested my extradition? I would claim that the Germans and the UK have priority, because of the crime of murder exceeds conspiracy. (Ignore the US rule that would allow me to be charged with murder.) Indeed, I would want a long talk with a lawyer to convince me that the Germans are not the primary party (by a bit).

                Does the situation change fundamentally if I send a robot into Canada to set a fire?

                What if I'm in the business of exporting illicit goods into a country? I never go there myself, of course.

                Times change, and the fact that we are now able to effect real events all over the world from the comfort of our own home means that the various sovereignties might well wish to exercise their own justice on us. In particular, If I seek to injure entities pertaining to some sovereign state, it is really pretty sad if I then squeal "extraterritorial sovereignty" if they request my government turn me over to them for trial. My criminal behaviour was extraterritorial--why much the redress respect territory?

                I am well aware of, even outraged at times by, the conduct of my (US) government in the area of computer security crimes. But "bad facts make bad law," and I am concerned that the problematic policies of my (US) government in this area are conflating the important question of primary sovereignty and extradition.

                --

                Now for the free speech & supremacy straw men. As I mentioned before, it is for the courts of the entertaining country to decide if the alleged crime meets the threshold for extradition. US & UK courts are going to snicker if Germany (let alone Thailand) would request an extradition for things stated by our citizens from our land. Moreover, even if we were to sign a treaty that we would extradite for such things, the courts would (should) rule the treaty unconstitutional just like they would any US statute that violated our First Amendment. The Supremacy Clause exists to put US treaties and Federal statutes above statutes of the various states, but never above the Constitution itself.

            2. rh587 Silver badge

              Re: The argument makes me sick

              I really don't see how this works. We've had Mexican nationals shoot across the Rio Grande and hit (kill?) US government agents. Do they stand trial in Mexico for gun possession?

              The issue would not lie with possession. If possessing a gun is not a crime in Mexico then it is of no interest to the US if people possess guns within sight of the border and the US has no jurisdiction over such... because it's in Mexico.

              If a bullet crosses the border then that becomes of interest. You're looking at assault, manslaughter or murder (although look how far the UK got in the Yvonne Fletcher case). But US authorities have zero jurisdiction over possession of firearms in Mexico.

            3. shaunhw

              Re: The argument makes me sick

              Surely it just depends exacty where he, (the alleged perpetrator) was physically located at the time of the crime, and whose jurisdiction he was therefore living under at that time. Any complaints by an injured party, should therefore be made to THAT jurisdiction, even when said complainant IS another jurisdiction. In such a case they are a victim.

              Extradition surely shoud be limited to crimes commited when the trangressor(s) were physically located in a foreign country and have since moved away from that country. If I went to the USA and broke one of their laws, (say I stole money from a bank there) and then came back home, then I would expect to be required to face justice there. But Love wasn't under the jursdiction the US, he was in the UK, so should be bound only by UK laws, and tried and punished only by UK law. If I'd robbed that bank over the internet (say by fraudulently transferring its funds to my UK account) then I would expect to be tried and punished here, as such a thing is an offence here. It matters not that the bank was American, or I was connected to an American computer. I was in the UK bound only by its laws.

              Why on earth should the arrogant authorities of a country you have never even set foot in, believe they should have the right to punish you themselves, rather than request that the country you were in when you committed the crime, prosecute you ?

            4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

              Re: The argument makes me sick

              ...Seriously, these arguments just sound anti-US....

              Yes, they are poor arguments, and obviously driven by something other than legal consideration. But I don't think they are anti-US for the sake of being anti-US.

              The US has a track record of treating this kind of crime very severely - much like a terrorist-type threat (particularly if it was committed by a foreigner). Do you remember the Aaron Swartz case? An activist convicted of the unauthorised downloading of academic papers on a network they gave him access to, and he committed suicide rather than risk a 35-year jail sentence. While we see malicious hacking as a serious crime, we don't see this kind of thing as life-sentence/capital punishment.

              That's why we wanted to get him off. Our politicians, of course, may have a different view...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The argument makes me sick

        He may have been in the UK but the computers he broke in to were not.

        If we say the same for the NSA (USA spy) who broke into every other countries computers, should those countries who were hacked have the right to extradite the NSA staffs (USA citizens) for trial?

        (Although NSA could be USA good staffs, it is still another countries' criminal for spying.)

        If the USA doesn't allow those countries to do it, then neither the UK or any other countries should permit the USA from doing the same.

  2. TeaLeaf

    Sympathy

    Having been diagnosed last September, at the age of 64, with Asperger's Syndrome, I believe I have some insight into Mr. Love's position.

    I had a forced, significant, life changing event several years ago. It was only the continuity of my work, which uses my special interest, and the support of my friends and family that allowed me to transition to my new reality. I can well imagine that a forced move to the U.S. for Mr. Love, could drive him to mental incapacity or suicide. I had such a bad time with a lesser change, and my Asperger's Syndrome is very mild.

    Also, remember that the 'justice' system in the U.S. is not the least bit kind. Vindictive would be a better word.

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Sympathy

      To follow your arguement - if imprisonment in the United States (or elsewhere) were to create a significant or probable risk of death [whether through suicide or physical cause] then extradition should be denied whatever the charge? That seems not unreasonable.

      I do not have your experience so can you explain to me why the risks would be significantly higher than being committed to, say Liverpool Goal? TIA for your insights.

      I have no question on the forum bar. The alleged offence was committed by a UK national on UK soil so clearly UK jurisdiction should take precedence. However, given that he has not been prosecuted here then in these globally connected times - the US surely has a call on Mr Love because of the alleged damage directed to and incurred on their soil but only if he hasn't had a fair trial here. No double jeapordy (or quadruple in this case). Only if their law in question is incompatible with the UK view of justice/civil rights should we deny it on that test. Is it?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sympathy

        "However, given that he has not been prosecuted here"

        This case was essentially about where. Without that being settled it's irrelevant to go on about him not having been prosecuted here. Follow the link to the judgement & make your way to no 126. Th paraphrase it for you the judges are telling the CPS to get their finger out with a Uk prosecution and the US to put up or shut up - all in legal language, of course.

      2. TeaLeaf

        Re: Sympathy

        Stuart22 - Thank you for your interest.

        Based on my experience, the risk would be greater in the U.S. because of the vast difference from the U.K.

        People with Asperger's tend to follow routines in order to minimize anxiety, which we all have to a greater or lesser extent. Disrupt that routine by forcefully taking a person to a different country, where the architecture, the layout of towns and cities, driving laws, language and food are different, and that person will experience anxiety. It isn't an absolute, I have travelled to the U.K. and I was okay, though I did have some challenging times. But my trips were voluntary, planned and I went to see friends.

        You will probably say that the differences between the U.K. and U.S. aren't that great. To YOU. The differences are magnified for a person with Asperger's Syndrome.

        This short and sweet video on Autism might help you understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JdCY-cdgkI

        A jail in the U.K. will have familiar food, the langauge will be familiar, ( I have to look up words that I see on the Register from time to time ) and Mr. Love's friends and family could quite possibly visit him every week. This would be tremendously helpful to his well being, since because of his Asperger's, he would have difficulty making friends and might be bullied.

        To be clear, it would appear that there is a substantial difference between my position on the Autism Spectrum and Mr. Love's. But I can tell you that the thought of being hauled off to a trial and imprisonment in the U.S. scares the bejeebers out of me.

        I don't feel that I have done that good a job of explaining, but it's the best I can do at the moment.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sympathy

        "being committed to, say Liverpool Goal?"

        Given the current record of the Liverpool defense then being committed to Liverpool goal would surely constitute cruel and unusual punishment!

      4. shaunhw

        Re: Sympathy

        Stuart22

        "

        Only if their law in question is incompatible with the UK view of justice/civil rights should we deny it on that test. Is it?

        "

        That their law is far more severe and vindictive than ours is, might be such an incompatibility.

        But the USA is the victim, in this case, nothing else. If the UK refuse to prosecute, and drop the case, then they would still have the remedy of a private prosecution in the UK, against Mr. Love under the computer misuse act, with its maximum penalties under the laws of the UK. But they still will not be free to inflict their brand of vindictive justice upon him.

        I think there might well be justified exceptions to this, in cases of murder, terrorism, war crimes, and similar crimes of such gravity.

        But right now, you don't suddenly become subject to the law of a foreign country, simply because you have connected your UK based computer to one which happens to be located within it.

        Why should America, or anyone else for that matter, reasonably expect Mr Love to face far more severe penalties than he would have, if he'd hacked a UK government's computer system doing the same level of damage ?

        They should have bullet proofed their computers, and they should take some of the blame for the damage themselves.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Justice ?

    Seems like a ridiculous judgment.

    So justice is different depending on what illnesses you have ? Surely if you commit the crime then you should face the same justice regardless of your personal circumstances ?

    Had I committed the crimes that he is alleged to have done then I would by now be serving time for them in a US jail - whilst he is instead planning on returning to University and consultancy. How is it fair that his illness, which is unrelated to his alleged crimes, totally changes the way justice is done ?

    Will Julian Assange now be diagnosed with Asbergers and use his long-standing relationship with Ecuador to demand he be tried in Quito ?

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: Justice ?

      So justice is different depending on what illnesses you have?

      Yes, where have you been these last 200 years? Suppose I killed someone because the voices in my head told me to do it, should I expect a different outcome from a perfectly healthy person who kills someone for the fun of it? Of course I won't go free, but I would expect my mental illness to be taken into consideration.

    2. Andy Mac

      Re: Justice ?

      I'm not sure many of us here think he should just "get away with" his alleged offences, just that the UK should grow a backbone and charge and try him here.

      In fact, no-one is suggesting that Asperger's is a defence - see the "trial at home" banner right next to him in one of those article photos.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Justice ?

        "UK should grow a backbone and charge and try him here."

        Charging him in the UK would require evidence which the US does not need to supply for an extradition.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Justice ?

          "Charging him in the UK would require evidence which the US does not need to supply for an extradition."

          Whether it needed to supply evidence or not, look at the judgement; link in TFA. There's a brief summary of evidence in paragraph 9. It includes the mention of the fact that some of the evidence was gathered in the UK. And look at paragraph 126 where the judges bat the whole thing back at the CPS & US to provide a full case for a prosecution.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Justice ?

          > Charging him in the UK would require evidence which the US does not need to supply for an extradition.

          That is their problem. If the victim wants justice they can supply the evidence. If they want vengeance, they can fuck right off.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Justice ?

      So justice is different depending on what illnesses you have?

      Yep. That's what makes it 'justice' rather than blind, unquestioning application of a law.

  4. 2Nick3

    Location of offense and location of damage

    I'm not sure I quite follow the whole "he was in the UK when he allegedly caused damage in the US" reasoning.

    If you are in Canada and shoot across the border into the US and kill someone, where do you get tried? Or in the UK and shoot someone in Ireland? Not for possession of a firearm, or the discharge of a firearm, but for the actual harm (death) caused.

    Just looking for the similarities and differences between a cyber-crime and a physical one.

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Location of offense and location of damage

      Shooting someone is a crime in Canada. You could be charged there first with murder.

      1. 2Nick3

        Re: Location of offense and location of damage

        Yeah, I know that. And illegal access to computer systems is, too.

        My scenario - you were in Jurisdiction A but killed someone who was in Jurisdiction B. Where does the trial for the killing happen? The precedent for international cyber-crime seems to be the accused is extradited to where the damage was done, as was attempted in this case, so I was wondering what the precedent for a physical crime is.

        Ask a question to learn something around here and geesh!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A case to wonder about

    "The CPS may also decide to restart its own prosecution of Love in the UK under English law – specifically, the Computer Misuse Act."

    With such a one-sided hands-off national policy against harming the poor dear, may I mention the seeming resemblance to "Easy Esterhazy" in France 120 years ago?

  6. Muscleguy Silver badge

    I am reminded of a hacker case from Christchurch, NZ. The NZ judge adjudicating on the extradition request was quite scathing about the supposed damages the Americans had drawn up. Basically he was being stiffed for the replacement of all the equipment he had shown was insecure by breaking into them. Something which would and should have been done anyway. A bit like the Gary Mackinnon case in fact.

    Not only was the chap not extradited he was tried in NZ and sentenced due to his youth to displacement or whatever the term is. The local plod came to the party and employed him in a poacher turned gamekeeper role to advise them on computer security issues.

    This is what should happen in all such cases, try them locally and be appropriately sceptical about American claims for damages caused.

    1. SMITCH79

      Surely that is what the Americans were planning to do. Extradite him, bang him up in a federal hellhole for a few years (or offer him a plea deal) and then offer him a job penetration testing? I thought that was all in the American Government IT Security Recruitment playbook. (or I have seen too many Hollywood films?)

      Be interesting to see if the UK Government move to prosecute and then offer a plea.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      We had some infamous cases here in the US along those lines in the '80s. Till the cases made it into court. It wasn't just "feriners". It takes time for the legal system to react to these things.

  7. arthoss
    Black Helicopters

    tin foil hat

    US is only trying to stave off other idiots (i.e. warmongers) from trying to hack into their systems so they need to make an example of each one. I wouldn't be surprised about black ops at some point against hackers.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: tin foil hat

      Maybe. But it's also an incentive for bilateral or multilateral agreements with the USA to apprehend and try hackers in their home country for attacks against partner nations. As long as you actually take care of Mr Love, you can keep him at home.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: tin foil hat

      When Gary McKinnon was searching for UFOs he was not the only one digging through US government computers. What made him special was lack of precautions to hide his identity combined with living in a country with an embarrassing extradition treaty with the US. At the time, US security was to make an example of the few people they could get at to deter the ones who were completely safe in China and Russia (or at least appeared to be there).

      Actually changing default passwords, deleting accounts of people who had left or wondering why the same person was logged in multiple times from different IP addresses was all a bit technical.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: tin foil hat

      US is only trying to stave off other idiots (i.e. warmongers) from trying to hack into their systems so they need to make an example of each one fix their piss-poor security.

      FTFY

  8. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    Hopefully, a UK court will kick it out too ....

    if they try to bring charges here now.

    Might teach them to *start* in the UK in future, rather than rolling over to the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully, a UK court will kick it out too ....

      Hopefully, a UK court will kick it out too ....

      Most likely yes, but for a different reason. The doctrine of Manifest Destiny driving the USA legal system specifies that there is no legal system but theirs. Supplying evidence to another country makes them actually admit that UK law exist, applies and has in one particular case primacy above theirs. A USA prosecutor is more likely to eat his boxer shorts than supply this evidence.

      As a result the case will collapse or proceed only on the minimal Computer Misuse act evidence already in possession by CPS.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's with all the hate for the US justice system? its not as bad as everyone on here makes it out to be. I think you all have watched The Shawshank Redemption one too many times. most criminals in the US end up with probation. very few actually get prison time for white collar offences like computer hacking. its usually 5 years probation and you can not have a computer, smartphone or internet connected device during the probation period. you have to be an unrepentant arsehole like Kevin Mitnick to actually get jail time for hacking in the US. and even that was only after he had had multiple convictions and parole violations. personally I think he should be tried in the UK, and if convicted, he should then be extradited to the US to face trial for his crimes, and if found guilty in the US he should sentenced, and then returned to the UK where he can serve both sentences concurrently. He could have the help he needs as well as the support from his family, but still pay his debt to society.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Let's just say that recent activity by the US to trample over non-US legal systems (not just Love but also the Ireland Microsoft mails, Mr DotCom and suchlike) do little to endear them to citizens of other sovereign nations. US Law does NOT rule the world despite the beliefs of certain politicians/TLSs and Hollywood and once you are within the borders of another sovereign country you have to play by their rules (diplomatic immunity excepted)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "its not as bad as everyone on here makes it out to be. I think you all have watched The Shawshank" etc.

      If you want people to read what you write do the work of starting sentences with capital letters. If you can't be arsed to take that amount of care in writing why should I be arsed to put in the extra effort to read it.

      Paragraphs are useful too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plea bargains and the fact that prosecutors are a political post are the two big ones that come to mind.

      The former mostly coming from the latter.

      It's not a justice system if the prosecutor has a huge personal stake in getting a guilty verdict, regardless of the truth.

      Miscarriages of justice happen everywhere, but the rate is a lot higher in the USA than the EU.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @AC - The most pernicious problem in the US injustice system is for prosecutors to pile on marginally related charges to the primary charges in the hopes of guilty verdict at trial. Thus, the offers for a plea bargain look very good when facing 20 or 30 mostly semi-bogus charges. Many famous cases were the conviction was not for what you think (Martha Stewart was nailed for making false statements to the ferals not insider trading; a minor add on charge they could make stick.)

      As for Love, it sounds like there are possible UK charges if the ferals are willing to share their evidence but it also depends on how solid the evidence is. With the ferals, I suspect they would tried piling on extra charges once he was over here to find one they might trap him on. If he violated UK law, I have no problem with him being tried in the UK even when the target is the ferals. But then, I distrust the ethics of the ferals.

    5. Lysenko

      What's with all the hate for the US justice system?

      Well, there's the absurd 99 year potential sentence and the fact that they want to run 5 different prosecutions in different jurisdictions (i.e. he would be on remand longer than the entire UK sentence).

      Also, UK prosecutors are civil servants with zero public profile. They are not there to launch a political career, the public doesn't know or care what their personal conviction rates are (unless they are obviously incompetent) and they can't plea bargain or usurp the Judge with sentencing. Getting cases overturned on appeal or thrown out on grounds of over-zealous prosecutorial misconduct are their primary concerns so they have no incentive to pad charge sheets and play poker, bluffing innocent people into guilty pleas with trumped-up charges and absurd sentencing threats.

      A prosecutor with a conviction rate substantially above average (80-84%) would be viewed with some suspicion because he would likely either be cherry picking cases (corruption) or bending the rules of evidence & disclosure (more corruption). In contrast, I have heard that some American prosecutors can have 100% conviction rates and instead of being criminally investigated for their (statistically obvious) perjury and corruption, they are applauded!!

    6. rh587 Silver badge

      What's with all the hate for the US justice system?

      Probably something to do with the fact it is designed to be punitive and vindictive, with revenge in mind. This is why the first year recidivism rates for released prisoners is north of 50%, rising past 75% over 5 years. It is very much a penal system, any states who brand them as a Department of "Corrections" are deluding themselves because rehab is not even on the agenda.

      This is probably not entirely unrelated to the private outsourcing of prison operations where private companies are financially incentivised to keep their cells full.

      Not that the UK is all that much better, we also have high recidivism.

      Compare this to Scandinavian approaches which are based heavily around rehabilitation. Norway don't even have a life sentence. The maximum sentence is ~21 years and if someone is especially dangerous the authorities have to make a special case to keep them locked up. There are well under 100 prisoners subject to "Preventative Detention" and their recidivism rate is <30%. They came up with their system after the previous penal system (more akin to UK or US systems) collapsed under >90% recidivism.

    7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Aaron Hillel Swartz.....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From an American

    Definitely *do not* extradite him here! If the request came from a Civilized Country like Norway, that might be different. But not here, this place is a real dritt hull.

    1. Trilkhai

      Re: From an American

      Agreed. As an American, at this point our "justice" system is so disturbingly unjust that I'm happy when just about anybody being charged for hacking, piracy, or similar crimes manages to wriggle out of its clutches.

      Then again, I tend to think we should roll our tech-related laws back to the days when curious, talented individuals could explore networks and disassemble things without getting more than a slap on the wrist. (Anyone curious might read Phil Lapsley's "Exploding The Phone" — the difference in how things were handled is truly stunning.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sovereign nations

    Do not shop their citizens.

  12. Jove Bronze badge

    It is now down to the US authorities to determine if he is of sufficient risk to the US's national security to warrant alternate actions.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Seriously, if that were the case, I'm certain that Her Majesty's finest would have taken care of the matter already.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's had enough punishment

    1. Tell him off

    2. Let him go, with some basic conditions

    3. Sack the so-called security experts who were supposed to be minding the computers.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: He's had enough punishment

      So how are you going to make sure he doesn't do it again?

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: He's had enough punishment

        So how are you going to make sure he doesn't do it again?

        You can't, but second time around you get the book thrown at you.

  14. rh587 Silver badge

    The forum bar was introduced after the Gary McKinnon case in the 2000s, when a British hacker with Asperger's was accused of hacking into various US government agencies.

    ...

    Peter Caldwell QC of Drystone Chambers, the UK Crown Prosecution Service barrister appearing for the US government, argued in court in November that the forum bar should not have been applied to Love because the harm he was said to have caused was in America, and therefore he should answer for that to the US justice system.

    I have to say, without commenting on the case itself, I'm inclined to think the Prosecution need a new barrister. The barrister is arguing that the forum bar should not apply, despite the bar being specifically created for an identical case (British national hacking US computers in the US from Britain)?

    "This test that was specifically created based on a similar case to deal with exactly this type of case should not apply because the alleged harm was caused in the US, exactly like the other case".

    Is that really the best you've got? Really?

    In commenting on the case, I am supportive of the McKinnon and Love findings - try them in the UK. The high profile that the Americans have generated for the case limit the possibility of a fair trial being obtained stateside.

  15. ForthIsNotDead

    Main difference between British and American legal systems...

    In the UK, if convicted of a crime, you are given a punishment, and (unless it's a very very serious crime indeed) that's it. After a period of time (I think it's three years) you are not even required to divulge previous convictions.

    In the USA, the state continually exacts revenge (that's the only word I can use) on you for the rest of your life.

    If you got done in the USA for stealing a car, say, 25 years ago, you will have trouble getting a job, a house, a credit card, and voting.

    For the rest of your life.

  16. RGE_Master

    Am I the only one who wants a step by step guide to HOW he did it?!?!?!?!?!?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy...

      >telnet <IP>

      username: root

      password: toor

      >ls -al

  17. Wolfclaw

    Time stop wasting money and peoples time. He did the crime now do the time in a UK prison and send the bill to the US Dept. Of Justice.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "He did the crime now do the time in a UK prison and send the bill to the US Dept. Of Justice."

      Wow, you're not even going to allow the poor bastard a trial?

  18. Toilet Duk

    Thank God for this. We should not be extraditing our citizens to oppressive regimes such as the USA where he faces draconian punishment out of all proportion to his alleged crimes. He would then find himself in the brutal for-profit US prison system along with literally millions of others, working as a slave for American corporations. Oh, you didn't know they still have slavery in the land of the free?

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