Feeds

McKinnon heads for the last chance saloon

Pentagon hacker's final appeal

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon is approaching his own D-Day, with his fate due to be sealed in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Court represents McKinnon's last chance of avoiding extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into military and NASA systems, following the rejection of his appeal by the House of Lords last month.

McKinnon's complaint to the court rests on the "conditions of detention he would face if convicted" in the US. These are slightly different grounds than his failed appeal to the House of Lords, which depended on allegations that US authorities overstepped the mark during plea-bargaining negotiations.

The seven judge chamber in Strasbourg will decide on Thursday whether to let McKinnon's appeal to go forward and whether they or a 17 Judge Grand Chamber will assess its merits. Only written submissions will be considered, at this stage at least. If the court does nothing then the temporary injunction preventing the extradition of McKinnon will expire at midnight on Friday.

McKinnon allegedly hacked into 97 US government and military systems between 2001 and 2002, creating disruption that left the network of the Naval Weapons Station, Earle, New Jersey, unavailable for a week. The 42-year-old London-based Scot admits hacking but disputes US damage assessments.

He said he broke into networks in order to search for evidence that the US was suppressing evidence of UFO technologies and encounters with extraterrestrials - US authorities saw it differently, claiming that he carried out the biggest military hack ever.

By his own account, McKinnon was obsessive in his interests and high on cannabis for much of the time, and made the mistake of engaging in conversation with a US government worker who discovered he was remotely accessing a desktop.

Lawyers for the unemployed former sysadmin have consistently argued that he ought to be tried in the UK. US authorities are having none of that, largely (one suspects) because previous attempts to prosecute alleged hackers in UK courts have failed to result in conviction.

McKinnon's long running campaign against extradition has aroused sympathy, largely because US authorities have used a rather large hammer to crack a small "nut"1 - US authorities have been seeking to extradite McKinnon since June 2005. ®

1McKinnon's eclectic interests are certainly 'out there' but similar to those of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, for example. The Scot's tragedy is that he took to exploring his interests through hacking rather than penning bombastic rock tunes such as Time Is Running Out and Hysteria.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.