Gary McKinnon: should he be extradited?

  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Not overly sure what kind of media coverage this story has been getting in the United States, however it's something that over the last 5 years has progressivly become big and important for a number of reasons. The story has added an unecessary strain on the UK-US relations due to the difference of opinion on what Gary McKinnon was doing when he hacked the Pentagon.

Just to give you a background, Gary McKinnon hacked the Pentagon back in 2002 in what the US says was the biggest security breach of the time. Gary McKinnon, who was recently diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, claims he was searching for proof of a UFO cover up. The US Government however doesn't buy that claim and has requested for him to be extradited to the United states.

His case has attracted interest from a number of celebrities such as Sting, Dave Gilmour (lead guitarist of Pink Floyd) and English novelist Nick Honby who have all backed him. His case has also been backed by one of the UK's biggest tabloid news papers.

Right now i am going to do a bit of reading on American based news website to see what the opinion is, in the mean time though I'd love to hear what you all think of this story.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8181100.stm
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Kind of a complex issue; on the one hand, if you are going to prosecute server hackers at all, you kind of have to do it internationally.

On the other hand, 60 years is a little beyond Draconian. There should be reasonable limits -- if Saudi Arabi demanded we extradite someone to have their hand chopped off for theft, a government should be able to say "Even if the crime is not in question, there needs to be some kind of equivalence to our own system of punishment for us to regard extradition as serving justice."

The US criminal justice system is, of course, much nastier than that of it's western allies. What kind of charge would he have been facing if he were prosecuted in England? (Maybe that is the best solution, an international agreement on server hacking where you are punished in your country of residence, not in the country you've offended.)
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Drop the case and offer him a job as a security specialist with a salary he can't pass up. When he comes here voluntarily swoop on him.
  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert needs to be on my counterstrike team! lol.

Hacking is Hacking is Hacking is ...

While mitigating circumstance is fundamentally and biblicaly sound, often this is played out by defenses to make the actual crime not anger people, but the reasons this poor individual had to do the crime.

There are some who believe the end justifies or doesn't justify the means. Think of justice when justify is mentioned.

If someone is really that drawn to making their end, then they should be dealt justice for their means.
  • Viet Bet
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I too do agree, that justice should be meeted out to this guy. Hacking is dangerous especially when it pose a threat to any country's national security.
  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sure, but I could walk into a bank with a shotgun, take everything, rape one of the tellers, brake a few arms, and still no one would threaten me with 60 years.

And it is the pentagon that should be held responsible for the "national security threat" aspect. Like, maybe a head or two should roll to set an example for the rest of them: you did not do a good enough job with the security!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Viet Bet wrote:
I too do agree, that justice should be meeted out to this guy. Hacking is dangerous especially when it pose a threat to any country's national security.


How would you have known the exploit was there if he didn't hack it? I think someone as talented as this should be taken under wing and his expertise used. Look I am not saying breeching machines is not a good thing BUT I am saying that someone talented to this degree that hacked quiet possibly one of the tightest networks should be given some credit. If something is that important do not put it on a public network!

Really talented hackers are hard to come by now a days as we all let our OS do the work :) I believe it is an art form and well it is like a gun. The gun doesn't kill people the application of the weapon kills people. If I were the pentagon I would be too embarresed to make a public issue of the matter.

Again I am not condoning it but did he do anything malicious to the network? Did he plant any malicious software? If yes to those questions then throw the book at him. If not, use his talents, he just illustrated an exploit that someone else might have taken far nastier advantage of.

If we are going to start black and white with laws then we are all guilty of something. Somone kills another person, is he a murderer or does the context of the situation that led to the death need to be considered as well to make a fair judgement? Nothing in the article tells anyone what was done to the network only that he penetrated the network and in my opinion that is insufficient grounds to make any judgement. This again is my humble opinion.

Everyone was moaning when that UK guy got shot because he didn't stop for the police. Then the police were the bad guys. We need to be fair but most importantly we need to be consistent. If we going to take the hard line then it applies to all cases without exception. If we attempt to guess a users name and password we are effectively hacking and should be tried and convicted and spend time in jail. Prosecuting a UK national for breaking into a US Defence network is acceptable but torturing people to get information that will save lives is not? Lets think back to the whole Iraq thing. People dying but the armed forces not allowed to use certain means to extract information from people to save the lives of their fellow officers? Man hacks network now he is a security risk.

I say stop moaning, ask the UK government to prosecute him according to the laws there and then quietly thank him for showing you the exploit and tighten up your network. Everyone wins then. Right now the US tax payer is paying for a case based in the UK which effectively should have been resolved and finished already. All this mess just to make an example of someone. You have egg on your face because he got in. Imagine how much egg you gonna have when the extradition doesn't happen. 7 years? me thinks there are far more important things to worry about. As for the opinion of heads rolling at the pentagon? I agree, if I was told to secure a system and it was breeched I would be the one held accountable but as we all know, in government there is a great deal of finger pointing and no acceptance of responsibilty. I liked the comparison about the shotgun, robbery and rape, illustrated the point beautifully about how inconsistent we are at times.

Again, this is my humble South African opinion :) Ah heck, I stepped out of the programming forum, time to get flamed :(
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I agree with you Rabid Dog. I actually wonder if he would be sentanced to 60 years if he was an American.
  • Zwirko
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Post 3+ Months Ago

In other news: Bill Clinton negotiates the release of two US citizens from North Korea that were busted for criminal activities against the state. Go figure.
  • Rabid Dog
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Post 3+ Months Ago

enough said huh :)
  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well, according to The Telegraph UK it looks like the ACLU and "a host of Hollywood" celebrities are now taking up the cause in addition to all those English celebrities.

I can't place a link here due to the new ozzu rules, but the article at telegraph dot co dot uk is titled "American Civil Liberties Union attacks David Miliband over UK/US extradition treaty"; I also couldn't find the names of the "celebrities" altho apparently Al Pacino and Martin Sheen are possible candidates. If scarface can't make them back down, no one can...
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Wait a minute! You mean the Film Actors Guild in the movie Team America is real!?!?

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