Menu
Extradition appeal for British hacker dismissed

Extradition appeal for British hacker dismissed

A British hacker who broke into U.S. military computers looks set to be extradited to the U.S. after the highest British court dismissed his appeal Wednesday.

A British hacker who admitted breaking into U.S. military computers hoping to uncover evidence of UFOs looks set to be extradited to the U.S. after the highest British court dismissed his appeal against the extradition on Wednesday.

Gary McKinnon, of London, will be the first person to be extradited to the U.S. for computer-related crimes. He could face up to 60 years in prison.

McKinnon, aged 42, said he plans to appeal the decision to the the European Court of Human Rights, the last appeal he can file.

In his appeal McKinnon argued that when U.S. prosecutors offered him a shorter sentence in return for a guilty plea, that offer put disproportionate pressure on him to surrender his legal rights and particularly his right to contest extradition¨. Pressure of that kind, he argued, runs counter to English law.

But in their judgement, the Lords of Appeal said "The difference between the American system and our own is not perhaps as stark so stark as the appelant's argument suggests. In this country too, there is a clearly recognised discount for a plea of guilty."

U.S. prosecutors had said that in return for pleading guilty to two counts of fraud and related activity in connection with computers, McKinnon could be sentenced to as little as three years in prison, of which he would likely serve only 6 to 12 months in a U.S. prison before returning to the U.K. to serve the rest of the sentence.

An equivalent offence committed against a target in the U.K. could have got him life imprisonment, the Lords of Appeal said. "The gravity of the offences alleged against the appelant should not be understated."

McKinnon had admitted to using a program called "RemotelyAnywhere" to hack into PCs in the U.S. late at night when employees were gone. His hacking exploits started to unravel after McKinnon miscalculated the time difference between the U.S. and the U.K., and one employee noticed a PC acting oddly.

The U.S. pursued extradition for the offenses, which McKinnon sought to block. Then-U.K. Home Secretary John Reid approved the extradition order, but McKinnon appealed. He lost that appeal in London's High Court in April 2007.

McKinnon then turned to the House of Lords, the final court of appeal for points of law in the U.K., which dismissed his appeal Wednesday.

McKinnon maintains that his hacking never caused any harm, and that he only probed the computers looking for evidence that the U.S. government has knowledge of UFOs.

However, the U.S. said that the intrusions disrupted computer networks used by the military that were critical to operations conducted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The U.S. estimates the damage caused by McKinnon at US$700,000.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments