Judges define scope of McKinnon appeal
Arguing a legal point again
Accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon's final appeal against extradition edged forward on Tuesday after judges defined the two points that might merit consideration by the Law Lords.
The Administrative Court (one of the High Courts) certified two questions of being of public importance in the McKinnon case. The first point ise the status of a diplomatic note confirming that Mr McKinnon will not be treated as a terrorist under military jurisdiction and the conduct of the US government in plea bargaining negotiations.
The second is the claim that the US tried to twist McKinnon's arm by saying if he failed to cop a plea and submit to voluntary extradition he would lose the opportunity to be repatriated and serve part of his sentence in the UK.
The House of Lords is not bound to consider McKinnon's final appeal - for example it declined to hear the appeal of the NatWest Three bankers. Tuesday's development clarifies the topics to be explored if the Lords decide to hear McKinnon's case.
After losing an appeal in the High Court last month, only the Law Lords now stand between McKinnon and a US trial for allegedly breaking into and damaging 97 US government computers between 2001 and 2002. McKinnon caused an estimated $700,000 worth of damage, in what US authorities have described as the "biggest military" computer hack ever.
The former sys admin, who lives in London, admits he infiltrated computer systems without permission but disputes the seriousness US authorities attach to his attacks. The 41-year-old said he gained access to military networks - using a Perl script to search for default passwords - but describes himself as a bumbling amateur motivated by curiosity about evidence of UFOs rather than a cyberterrorist. ®
McKinnon's Honey Pot
Was this really hacking into the US military secrests? Reading an article about McKinnon's exploits some months back - pictures of UFOs and non-military interenet connections from around the world - it seemed more likely that he didn't realise that he'd stumbled into a honey pot.
re : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/26/mckinnon_infosec/
Exactly the point. By an absolutely extraordinary coincidence, the damages figures happen to be exactly the amount they need to be to justify an extradition attempt.
Nothing suspicious there then...
As for "Yet the UK would seek the same of a US citizen accused of hacking MoD computers."
They might do (though I doubt it), but I guarantee the US Govt. would simply give the UK the finger. The extradition treaty between the two is completely one-sided. The US Govt. has not even ratified it, yet the UK is abiding by it.
That's the only criminal thing going on here.
Don't forget Joseph Popp was extradited from the US to the UK after distributing the AIDS Trojan.
Of course, since this was before the Computer Misuse Act 1990 he was extradited on a charge of blackmail. Nevertheless, it was an attack on computer systems here in the UK. And he was extradited. Irritatingly he pulled a "Saunders" and avoided trial by virtue of his apparent mental illness.