Feeds

Home Secretary to decide on McKinnon extradition by October

Scots sysadmin waits to hear if he'll face NASA hacking charges in the US

Security for virtualized datacentres

The UK Home Secretary is due to decide by mid-October whether or not to order Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US, a hearing at the High Court heard on Tuesday.

The hearing followed a decision by McKinnon and his legal team to decline to undergo a Home Office medical test by a doctor, Professor Thomas Fahy, whom McKinnon's legal team said lacked specialist skill in assessing the mental state of people with Asperger's. Experts in autism, including Doctor Jan Vermeulen who carried out a face-to-face assessment of McKinnon, have warned that McKinnon is at severe risk of committing suicide if faced with the prospect of a US trial on computer hacking charges.

An assessment of his suicide risk will be a key factor in the deliberations of Home Secretary Theresa May.

McKinnon, 46, admits hacking into US military and NASA computers during 2001 and 2002 with the aim of hunting for suppressed evidence about UFOs. But he denies causing damage and has consistently sought a trial in the UK since extradition proceeding began in late 2005, three years after his arrest by UK police.

His case was the topic of unsuccessful appeals that went all the way up to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights before McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, in August 2008. Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson allowed McKinnon’s extradition despite medical evidence but extradition was later blocked pending a judicial review. This review was adjourned after the UK's incoming Home Secretary, Theresa May, decided to re-examine the medical evidence back in May 2010.

Last week a Home Office spokesman said May was close to making a decision. "The Home Secretary will make a decision as soon as possible: this is a complex case, in a complex area of the law, and a large amount of material has been submitted, some of it relatively recently," he said.

McKinnon's case for trial in the UK has been supported by numerous public figures including Sting, David Gilmour, Stephen Fry, Terry Waite, Tony Benn, and numerous politicians of all hues. The issue has spawned debate in Parliament and reviews of the extradition laws between the US and UK, which critics argue are one-sided and unfair. Efforts to come to a diplomatic agreement about the case have been fruitless.

May's decision in October is unlikely to be the last word on the case, if past form is any guide. And a further judicial review is more than likely if this review goes against McKinnon. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist
Storage locker's transparency report shows rise in government data gobble attempts
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.