back to article McKinnon lawyers push for UK trial

Lawyers for alleged Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon have written to UK prosecutors seeking a trial in Britain, in a move designed to frustrate attempts to extradite the UFO enthusiast for trial in the US. The Crown Prosecution Service is evaluating a request from McKinnon's solicitors offering a guilty plea in a UK trial for …


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  1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: rejected comment - this thread is officially a Bubba-free zone

    One more time, boys'n'girls, I'm not accepting any comments suggesting McKinnon or indeed any other Satan-born kitten-killing hacker type or other evildoer deserves to be raped in prison, however bursting with gleeful and self-righteous loathing you may be. It wasn't funny the first time someone said it on the internet, it's not funny now, it's never going to be funny, and I'm never going to add it to the heap of online human nastiness. 'Kay? 'Kay.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Try him in the USA

    He committed the crime there, he should face their justice. This is the NatWest 3 all over again and the British hand-wringers are all in a lather because it's a white collar crime. He even admits the hacking!

    At least the USA will prosecute white collar criminals, not protect them like the UK does.

  3. darkmooink

    i see where the damage was

    the damage was that they had to install new security because the managers found out that one person could get through and was therefore not good enough for the job and needed an upgrade.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    @ Sarah Bee

    How about snuggled?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I thought....

    ......this country had a treaty allowing trial in the US but serving of the sentence in the UK?

    If so what are they afraid of...... the US suddenly breaking the treaty so they can keep him?

    If I were being honest I'd say his lawyers are pouring on the sympathy for no good reason. Let him be tried in the US as long as there is a written agreement to a fast process of trial and him serving his sentence in the UK.

  6. Mark

    And I never understood

    how it came to be used as a positive in *any* sense.

    Heck, given the quite justified explosion of damnation of people saying women who dress provocatively are "asking for it" when they are raped, I always found it decidedly odd that it was OK if a bloke was on the receiving end.

    And as pertains to it happening in prison, this should have been used as an example of how badly run prisons are and how they are used for retribution not for justice in far too many cases (one would be too many, but zero would likely have to remain a goal to attempt forever, rather than an expectation).

    It's repulsive that it isn't though.

  7. Joskyn Jones
    Thumb Down

    Second attempt minus censored comments...

    ...But I still think the dick deserves all he gets for dicking around with something he shouldn't have dicked around with, US .mil systems.

    Open you f**king eyes Gary, you have landed this one all by yourself so don't go crying back to the CPS now.

  8. Paul Murphy

    Not me - I have a different tack.

    So how exactly does the claims for damages hold up then?

    The US military had to spend X amount on 'fixing' what exactly?

    Sounds to me as though the US military weren't doing their jobs in the first place, if they were then he would not have been able to get access to their servers.

    Maybe he should be charging them for consulting time in identifying weaknesses in their systems, and presumably others that he didn't touch, since they would also be suffering from the same access issues.

    Obviously the Yanks won't see it that way and will insist that he will be getting a fair trial before he's hung, drawn and quartered.

    Maybe he could plead insanity since only insane people believe in UFO's right?



  9. AC

    bubba free!

    well I wasn't exactly going to suggest he was raped in prison but i was certainly going to say that he can fuck off to t'other side of pond and face his comeuppance for his crime.

    its not exactly as though he named his teddy mohammed at home and is now going to be deported to $muslimNation where he's going to get a public flogging (no offence to muslims but that was the quickest example i could come up with :P).

    he committed a real crime and as such can be thrown to the dogs.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    we pick up the bill for 10's of thousands of pounds per year, when the US gov is offering to do it for us...

    Ship him out....

  11. M


    Well I hope he does his time in a british gaol not an american one. They might force him to eat 'grits' over there. Please note I don't know what a 'grit' is.

  12. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Second attempt minus censored comments...

    Mmm. I do find it astonishing how personally people are taking this. Do you work in US military IT, or something?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmmm, ok Sarah....

    How about pointing out that it wont have been a mystery to him or to other members of the "hacking" community what happens to those that embarass US government agencies ? Or that he decided initially to decline the kind offer of plod to keep him out of the US system, electing to hang tough (maybe in the hope of the US giving up on extraditing him - not going to happen) and apparently conduct much of the case by megaphone, heavily publicising every move, playing the system like a violin at every turn ?

    It's hard not to characterise him as someone desperate for publicity and a certain celebrity, who honestly believes that laws apply to others, not him personally. After all the misuse of computers act has applied here for some time, and as a sysadmin he will have had a full appreciation of this,

    Of course, now the position is looking decidedly uncomfortable, so he's interested in the offer left with him from 6 bleedin' years ago. This rather makes the assumption that the boys in blue/CPS are still interested and consider the deal still open, and that Wackie Jackie et al don't decide to intervene. The attraction of extradition for some political and policing types is simple, it exports him and the cost of a fair trial, his fair defense counsel (let's face it he was a sysadmin, he was never going to afford OJ's defense team) then fairly locking him up.

    He has after all 'fessed up, so outside of the mind of one G. McKinnon some kind of detention was always on the cards. It's just a question of where, how much and how nasty a state sponsored holiday resort was going to be involved.

    If the decision is taken to prosecute him here, perhaps he'll actually shut up in the interests of not enraging the beak/cops/ home sec further, then again.......

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no title

    at the US peeps who claim we do no prosecute white collar crims....

    At least we do not make them president :) cough BUSH cough

    Gary is obviously a bit of a numpty but does not deserve what teh US will do to him.

  15. Dave

    Good Luck

    @Comment 1 - I was under the impression that McKinnon was resident in the UK when this occurred?

    Either way, when the US makes all of its laws reciprocal, then I will start giving them the benefit of the doubt on such dubious claims regarding the financial costs/damage caused. Most large companies regularly pay large sums of money for professional IT people to point out the holes in their security, especially if those professionals have a well documented history in the field, so to speak.

    I doubt that this little trick will work, but good luck anyway.

  16. radian
    Paris Hilton


    Am I the only one who doesn't understand the Bubba reference?

    I'm too scared to look it up at work in case the search brings up 'undesirable' web pages.

  17. Tony


    "Please note I don't know what a 'grit' is."

    Think of a cross between porage oats and semolina - and it tastes as good as it sounds; Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmmmmmmm.

    @ Sarah Bee

    I'm a bit surprised at the comments as well - is the US legal system now so all pervasive that no-one else's legal system has any value? This is a bad precedent boys and girls.

  18. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Let's get Real ....... and put this nonsense to bed....

    ..... or give it a thoroughly Good AIRing in CyberSpace, where it came from and rightly belongs. And no one owns that Space, although there is a whole Host of Fools who should Really know Better and Beta before embarking on Stealth Missions with a View to making such Ignorant Arrogant Plans a Reality Virtually. Too Little, Too Late, the Space and ITs Positions have been already, long ago fulfilled. See the Current Owners for Details of Openings

    Err, I have only only question. Is there any doubt, beyond a reasonable shadow of any doubt, that Mr McKinnon was looking for UFO evidence. That would surely herald that care medication at home rather than punishing incarceration in a foreign and alien environment in a strange land, would be both the logical and humane outcome, with anything else probably being merely for the benefit of malicious parasitic "ambulance chasing" litigators ....... who may have opened up a can of worms they would now rather not have been opened, in the first place, [given the Controlling Power of Imagination in Free Flow AIdDynamIQs and CyberIntelAIgents.*]

    * A SP00Key Optional XXXXtra for the PreCogniscenti/Post Modern Illuminati? :-)

    And Paris because ..... well, she would alien territory to explore thoroughly to familiarise and edutain an alien force

  19. Paul Murphy


    From so maybe copyrighted, or something..

    'Grits is a Native American corn-based food common in the Southern United States, consisting of coarsely ground corn*. It was traditionally served during war.'

    *I have put this asterix in so the text is not a direct copy, but a modified one, or some such legal scheme to avoid me being strung up.

    Anyway, that's what grits is/are.


    what no grits icon??

  20. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: hmmm, ok Sarah....

    Why was that directed at me? I haven't said anything about what I think regards this case, only that I'm not going to tolerate idiots being offensive about it.

  21. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @bubba free!

    >he committed a real crime and as such can be thrown to the dogs.

    If you say so, I personally think this case is just the US employing bullying tactics and using propaganda to stop people even thinking of connecting to their firewall-less unsecured servers.

  22. gareth

    where did he commit the crime

    i would like to point out that he did not commit his crimes in the USA he was in Britain when he gained unauthorized access to US military and NASA computers which means he committed a crime in Britain against a USA organization. he didn't commit a crime in the USA as he was never there to commit one.

  23. Joskyn Jones

    @Sarah Bee

    No I don't have the appropriate qualifications to work in US .Mil IT; Propeller Hat, Nipple High Trouser Waistband, White Socks, Sandals and Frontal Lobotomy !

  24. JimC

    > how personally people are taking this

    I guess its because for a lot of us computer criminals are lowlives who make our jobs less fun and our lives more difficult. If there were no computer criminals we'd all be able to spend a lot more time making computer systems usable and helpful for the right people. instead we have to spend an unreal percentage of our effort making them unusable and unhelpful for the wrong people and I for one resent it. Its not fun and its not what I want to spend my time doing.

  25. N1AK


    The same $MuslimNation(s) that the US sends people to when they haven't got the answer they want using methods they are allowed to within US custody. Yes, I'm sure he should feel blessed that it is the rootin' tootin' US that wants his blood.

    The McKinnon case is another example of bad laws being used on bad people. He did do something extremely stupid, and illegal and he has no decent excuse for it. However the extradition treaty we have with America is the issue:

    1/ If McKinnon had been an American and hacked into the UK MoDs sentence he could not be extradited.

    2/ If McKinnon is extradited there is very little control over what America can do with him (they have to give assurance he will not be executed).

    3/ As has been shown with issues such as Guantanamo and wiretapping what the US goverment is legally allowed to do means very little in stopping them doing the illegal.

    4/ Sufficient evidence exists of mistreatment of prisoners and 'detainees' within US custody that we cannot be sure he will be treated humanely.

    5/ The crime he has commited, although serious, does not appear to be anywhere near as big as the US goverment has made out. It is highly likely they intend to use him as a scapegoat for poor security and as an example, something they can get away with without much political backlash as he is not a US citizen.

    Sending ANYONE to the US without checking evidence, having more information on what they will do with him and frankly without massive improvements in Americas behaviour regarding prisoner and detainee treatment is something we should not do.

  26. Mike Groombridge

    @Sarah Bee

    Sarah ,Some people are just bat shit crazy and take things really personally in this case i think they all work in IT security

    I do think he should be sent to the US though put in a nice minimum security prison where they will put him to work hacking russia, china, etc etc.

    would love to see the reciept for the $700'00 that what 7000 copies of symantec end point security :-) if that's all they spend on security for all there systems then i'm surprised people aren't in and out all day

    Happy smilie as i'm in a good mood depite or maybe because i only got 4 hours sleep

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not USAian

    I'm a British "peep" and we DO NOT prosecute white-collar crime at anything like the level we should.

    And as for slighting the USAians over GWB, our own Blair, Mandelson, Kinnock (to name but three) are all "suspect" for one thing or another. So before we sling mud , we should make sure our own house is in order.

    Send McKinnon to the USA, let him stand trial there (and see how the damages argument sholds up, one of the Bells got caught out by claiming a cost of quillions for stolen [copied] files from a hacked system - when they sold said docs for a few bucks [Hacker Crackdown, Bruce Sterling]). If he is guilty, let him serve his sentence there; that way we don't need to pick up the bill.

    @Dave - he hacked USA servers on USA soil and broke USA laws (probably a few UK ones too), and the treaty is reciprocal. It was ratified by Congress years ago. Do keep up.

  28. Anonymous John

    @ Title

    Sort of porridge made from coarsely ground corn.

    @ Re: Second attempt minus censored comments..

    He's probably on legal aid.. We begrudge our taxes being spent on him.

    BTW, is "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" still off limits?

  29. John Colman

    Keep him here

    And while he's inside, put his skills to use teaching other inmates some basic IT skills as part of their rehabilitation... Then, once he's released, give him a job as a consultant hacking into UK systems for naff all money... Recovered costs much???

  30. Anonymous Coward

    sorry sarah

    only meant to be taken as an idication I was taking the warning seriously.


  31. Adrian Jackson

    @Sarah Bee

    Quoth the Sarah: "Do you work in US military IT, or something?"

    Don't be silly. If this story has shown us anything, it's that *nobody* works in US military IT, or they'd have thought about complex security measures like 'passwords'.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    McKinnon should get done in the UK- he was in the UK, his computer was in the UK and technically the hacking signals that went to the computers came from some local router- he just instructed them to send it via a string of other routers- not a single electron from his PC- potentially not a single electron from the UK- would have reached those computers that he hacked.

    It was a simple hack- looking for blank passwords on administrator accounts- that any half decent sysadmin should have secured. The "damage" caused was re-securing the network and saving face. Re-securing the network against his attack would have taken all of 10 minutes (disallowing blank passwords on any account) and malware-checking wouldn't have been that hard either- just take a closer look at the logs from the firewall (assuming they have one) and see if there's anything "odd". Pretty much anything further was unnecessary for securing against McKinnon.

    I'm not saying let him off- he committed a crime. But he committed it over here and should be tried and jailed over here as well. Not for too long- he's not a threat to society. His punishment should be on-going (no use of computers, docked salary until the proveable/useful damages are paid off, lots of work in-the-community, etc etc.) for a good long time too. That way he helps society rather than just being locked up.

  33. FreeTard

    The military are just embarrassed....

    ... by their utter incompetence. Quite surprised at NASA though, although they are obviousy too busy with scientific boffenry to bother securing their own network with crazy stuff like passwords for admin users etc.

    There is no way he caused all that damage though, any idiot can tell that. It's just to cover up their own incompentence and a way of deterring others.

    He did find alien pics and stuff though didn't he, job done.

  34. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Proportionality is missing

    That's the first issue. If was going to get deported to the US and get a sentence of a couple of years, no-one would give a damn.

    But he's going to be tried under terrorism laws by the most paranoid US administration(*) since MacCarthur's time. If he gets less than 20 years I'll eat my hat. What he did was wrong, but not 20 years wrong.

    Second, had this happened the other way round the US wouldn't extradite to the UK, period. The treaty is lop-sided(**), and if that doesn't piss you off it should - today it's Mckinnon, tomorrow it's someone who sells gambling services to US citizens, thursday it's some poor sod with "Bush is a Cock" on a banner.

    (*) Technically true for the next week

    (**) Fuck you very much David Blunkett, you should have felt the small print.

  35. Robb Dunphy

    Let's be honest

    He broke into another countries military computer system. It's a crime. Now the fact that he is an absolute idiot (apparently he really didn't even "hack" per say) has nothing to do with it. The US military computer system may be a leaky ship, and I doubt he caused as much damage as they claim, but he did break the law.

    Send him over, trial happens in US, and due to the treaty the UK has he can serve it in the UK.

    I don't get what the big deal over all of it is really.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Extradition - simple innit?

    What if he had accessed Russian military computer systems in an unauthorised manner, and it were the Russians demanding extradition?

    Now, the Russians have a simple approach to extradition requests. Nyet. If you a Russian citizen, in Russia, you cannot be extradited.

    Funnily enough, with the European arrest warrant, and a treaty regarded by many as one-sided with the USA, that isn't true here in the UK.

    If you don't like the Russians being used an example, how about the Chinese, or even the Israelis? Or to be slightly less controversial, somewhere like New Zealand.

    An if, instead of being military computers, he had accessed computers belonging to the Church of Scientology, or the Ku Klux Klan, causing an alleged large cost? How would you feel about extradition then.

    It's not so simple, is it?


    (Paris, contemplating the complexities of international law)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Ernest Saunders defence strategy

    "The Scot, who was *recently* diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome"

    From Wikipedia

    "Saunders claimed he was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, a common form of dementia; if so, he made a recovery unique in medical history. Alzheimer's, like all dementias, is usually incurable being a progressive degenerative disease of the brain. Saunders has since maintained he must have been depressed."

    Stand by for a miraculous recovery from Asperger's post-trial.

  38. Geeks and Lies

    But no one has said.....

    What he found (if anything0?? :-( are they comming? Is it time for Tin Foil hats? Has anybody thought of the children?

    Plus with UK prisons being bursting at the seams, then surely it would be better to ship him overthere.

    Mines the one with the SETI Edition roll of tinfoil in the pocket...

  39. Scott K

    Blame the Scot

    That's it, the US military network has security holes, lets make an example of this guy looking for things they have buried and kept quiet. Stick it to the man McKinnon :)

  40. Tam Lin

    I need some clarification

    After hacking into Army, Navy, NASA and Pentagon computers, Israeli Ehud Tenenbaum was allowed to be tried in Israel instead of the U.S. (... where he received a hand slap, and is now in Canadian prison for stealing $2 million).

    Therefore, I need some help figuring out which one of these is true: Israel == U.S., Israel is a state of the U.S., or the U.S. is a colony of Israel.

  41. Mark

    re: Try him in the USA

    How? The crime he is being extradited for was no crime at the time in the US. He breeched UK law but the CPS didn't think it worth the expense for the "damage" done.

    Also, do you think that the UK residents who are wanted for crimes against Islam will be extradited to Iran? Why not? Maybe because they wouldn't get a fair trial in Iran.

    Same here.

    so the problem with "try him in the US" is that it wasn't a crime in the US at the time, he isn't a US citizen, he never went on US soil and the crimes he DID commit are not worthy of extradition.

    The US didn't send their soldiers to the UK courts to give testimony.

    The US removed US soldiers from Iraq when they committed a crime in Iraq and refuse to accede to the UN and international war crimes tribunal.

    So why try McKinnon in the US?


  42. Random Noise

    @ All the people saying he will be given a fair trial across the pond

    Seriously, do you believe the US system will give him a fair trial? And if they do he will be allowed back to the UK to serve his time?

    His plane won't even land in the states, just a few 'friendly countries' as stop-overs on the extreme rendition service to Gitmo.

    With Patriot act V2 in place they can do what ever they want to him.

    Oh I forgot, if you actually try to point out how horrendous the Patriot act is you're not an proud brave American citizen are you?

  43. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Derivation of "Bubba"

    In the UK prisons, inmates trade in the non-monetary currency "snout" (tobacco) which is all right and proper and adult.

    However, americans ALL chew chewing gum and bubble gum. Or, as they recraft it for slang, "Bubba". Which is a childish sweetie and demeans the adults incarcerated. Especially since most bubble gum in the US is over-sugared (losing all your teeth) and pink. A girly colour.

    Now stop trolling for bypassing the reasonable restriction about talking about this subject and take this as true if you don't want to check it up yourself you cowardly girly-man.

    (We *really* need a dipshit male picture here, El Reg).

  44. Peyton

    oh geez, now I'm confused

    The suggestion that if he was looking for ET evidence, it means that he may not be "all there" - from our resident ET!?? Actually, that may be sort of apropos ;p

    Of course there is a doubt - even if the judge agrees with that defense at his trial and declares he's nutters, there will still be doubt. Without doubt, where would all the lovely conspiracy theorists be?? On that note, these comments have rehashed everything that has already been said a million times over *except* that it's some sort of US government conspiracy. I must say, I'm disappointed.

  45. Gulfie
    Thumb Up

    Punishment proportionate to crime

    I have no sympathy for Mr McKinnon as the architect of his own situation but I do believe that the likely punishment he will receive from a US court is extremely disproportionate to the crime commited, which as others have said was in part to show just how pitiful the protection on these servers was.

    If US IT staff had done their job properly these crimes would never have occurred. Shame on the US authorities for picking a soft target. The words 'sledgehammer' and 'nut' come to mind.

    I for one hope the offer of a guilty plea in a UK court is successful.

  46. Oliver Mayes

    Just send him over there already

    OK the US military were at fault for not securing their systems properly, but if you accidentally leave your front door unlocked and I wander in and go through all your stuff and potentially help myself to anything I like the look of you wouldn't just say "Oh sorry, my mistake. Off you go then". You'd expect me to be prosecuted for entering your premises illegally.

    Forget what he claims he was doing, he broke the law. The moment he made the decision to access someone else's' systems, for whatever reason, he was choosing to break the law and deserves to be punished. Why are we wasting so much time trying to stop him being sent over there to face up to his crime?

  47. David Webb

    The problem is

    The problem is that the US never ratified the treaty they are trying to use to extradite the chap. Whilst the UK did sign it and bend over for the US every time they say "yeah, send us some prisoner cause our human rights with Guantanamo are like, irrelivant" the US refuse to do the same.

    Anyone remember how they refused to send over the video from the bomber that blew up the British tank? Or refused to send over the pilots to face trial? That was someong *killing* people and they said no, yet kick up a stink over something as trivial as an idiot with too much time on his hands.

    Yes the guy should be punished, he should be sent to prison, but in the UK because until the US sign the treaty, the treaty should not be in effect, and for no other reason.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Before and After arrest

    Before: "I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels"

    After: "I'm just a mentally-challenged seeker-of-truth - I'm not even a skilled hacker, honest, guv"


  49. Andus McCoatover

    @Moderatrix. Holiday due? When?

    Do tell...

    Bubba-free site, indeed!

    Then we can all resurrect the Bubba jokes. Yee Haa! Plus, I can practice playing my banjo on a bridge again. Having big ears and looking like a retard sometimes has its advantages...for example Prince Charles, who ended up shagging someone even better than Paris - and I AINT taking about Camilla.

    (Squeal like a Piggie spring to mind?)

  50. Anonymous Coward


    There are some really unpleasant people reading the Register these days.

  51. Random Noise

    @ Oliver Mayes

    <quote>OK the US military were at fault for not securing their systems properly, but if you accidentally leave your front door unlocked and I wander in and go through all your stuff and potentially help myself to anything I like the look of you wouldn't just say "Oh sorry, my mistake. Off you go then". You'd expect me to be prosecuted for entering your premises illegally.</quote>

    Slight problem with your analogy. this was a MILITARY system. You don't expect the 'most advanced' nation in the world would leave the door to all their armories unlocked so anyone could walk in & pick up a gun do you? These systems should have been secure. There is no excuse for the piss poor security they had in place.

    He freely admits he broke the law as he has pleaded guilty. He is not trying to get off with the crime, what he is protesting about is being taken over to the US and tried over there (where most likely he will disappear).

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    He committed a Cyber crime, let him have a Cyber trial

    So if he could hack in from the UK to their systems, then they can try him from the USA without physically moving him. let him log into the court proceedings etc. Once it is all done and sentence is pronouced - if it is - the UK can then decide if they want to send him to their jail or do it here.

    If that does not seem sensible - it simply highlights the fact that while he is in the UK he is not under USA jusridiction - and the extradition is a crock - it legally should be used to RETURN people who comitted a crime on USA jurisdiction and then left, or who physically attacked USA territory.

    So if people outside the USA - even a friend like the UK commit what the USA considers a crime - they should be tried under the jurisdiction he is under. If the USA cannot protect it's security then it needs to sharpen up it's act.

    I fundamentally consider there are two forms of hacking - simply accessing data - no matter how secret - is a failure of security on the custodian of the data, it is only when the hacker does something active such as planting, changing or damaging that there should be repercussions.

    Next thing we are going to get any Islamic state able to extradite people to face Islamic law on adultery because they think they have international jurisdiction.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    It's all a bit lame

    Let's say you stood in front of a tank out of protest, and the tank run you over, and whilst running you over the tank tracks broke. Should you be charged for the tank tracks being too weak? He does deserve to be charged for his transgression (a script kiddie attack at best). He doesn't deserve to be hung out to dry because US mil security was so completely lame that he was able to get into too much with his script kiddie attack.

    It kind of fits into the same category as the Chinese system whereby if you want the body of your family member back after the death penalty has been applied, you have to pay for the bullet.

  54. radian

    @ Derivation of "Bubba"

    Thanks for the explanation Mark. The sarcasm was a bit unnecessary though.

  55. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Look on the Bright Side

    "i'm surprised people aren't in and out all day" .... By Mike Groombridge Posted Monday 12th January 2009 13:20 GMT

    Who's to say that they aren't, Mike Groombridge, leaving a Trail and AI Trails and Trials/Virtual Turing BetaTests 42 Follow if One would Aspire to an Assumption and Presumption with Immaculate Leads and Perfectly Phormed Ideas/Seeds to Sow and Tend Grow with an QuITe Biblical Colossal OverSight Virtual OS System.

    "(Paris, contemplating the complexities of international law)" ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 12th January 2009 14:04 GMT

    Simple innit? Isn't it just made up as we go along with the prevailing popular view accepted as a right and virtuous law, fit at that time for its purpose.

  56. David Simpson

    Legal aid ? how much ahve we paid for this ass already ?

    Asperger's syndrome does not stop people telling right from wrong, it is therefore no excuse for what Gary did.

    The crime was commited in the states, thats where the damaged computers reside.

    If i used a remote control plane to blow something up in America while i controlled it in the UK i could certainly see why America would want me to stand trial there.

    For all the "stick it the man" idiots, America cannot just have you sent to stand trial for nothing, HE ADMITTED IT, IF HE HAD HACKED YOUR COMPUTER I'M SURE YOU WOULD FEEL DIFFERENTLY, or if he hacked your bank's computers, hacking is illegal for good reason, leaving a back door open does not mean people who enter your house through it are not commiting a crime, can you imagine a burglar saying "the door was open so i just went to see if there was anything worth stealing like pieces of a crashed alien space craft"

    The real question is how much this joker has cost in legal aid, he is a total idiot as are all the idiots defending him.

  57. Mark

    re: It's all a bit lame

    But should you be charged with the cost of putting the tank out of commission?


  58. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Its only......

    the face of USA that was damaged I bet. This is not about any damage ,which I bet is made up by US Authorities to make it look good. They are embarrassed and want to take it out on him. Sure he was wrong to do it, but it is time we stopped "bending over to pick up the soap" in front of the American dictators.

  59. Andus McCoatover

    Re:re: It's all a bit lame

    Yep. Get executed by firing squad the in US, and they used to charge the family for the price of the bullet.

    Taking the piss. Dignity of law? Fuc*k off, if they make someone's death a joke.

  60. Peyton


    I, too, was confused by the bubba references... probably because I live in "The South" - harder to see the whole forest if you're actually in the middle of it. Maybe a sort of synecdoche? Bubba being an old, old word that started 'down south' to refer to an individual, eventually reused as slang to refer to rednecks, then (outside the States) extrapolated out to apply to the country as a whole? I'm just guessing, since it's not used here much anymore, but I googled "brit slang bubba" and didn't get any leads lol.

    Also, grits = polenta - just available more coarsely ground. Both are gross when plain, good when prepared well.

  61. Mark

    @David Simpson

    I wouldn't want to put him away for potentially 50 years for breaking the security of "no password" on my computer.

    Which is what he did on THEIR computer.

  62. James

    Sufficient punishment

    His guilt is already admitted, the only real question is what punishment should result. Firstly, as someone who secures computers, I want to see him doing a decade of hard time - I don't care whether it's in America or Antarctica, as long as he gets an actual punishment not six months of sitting on his backside watching TV at our expense. Secondly, I think he should face trial and sentencing in the country where his target resided, not the country he was in at the time; if one of my systems in the UK were compromised, I'd want the offender punished here not let off because he happened to be in some country with no laws against computer crime at the time - except in the UK he'd just receive some joke sentence, or be let off because the government is too dumb to build enough prison cells.

    Yes, his punishment will be presumably be harsher in the US than it would be here - but that's a failing of the UK system, not the US one. We shouldn't let people off with pathetic sentences, Russia shouldn't refuse to extradite criminals, .mil systems should be better secured - and McKinnon should do serious hard time to make the next scumbag think before breaking the law. Even if we can't get the first three, we should still do everything possible to achieve the fourth!

  63. Ian Rowe
    Black Helicopters

    re: Legal aid ? how much ahve we paid for this ass already ?

    My response to the explosive force of irony about you bitching about someone for being an idiot is being limited to this one sentence in the interest of saving kittens from the radioactive effects of sarcasm.

    Now, the issues.. firstly legal aid. Legal aid is an integral part of our legal system, it is not there just to help people who are innocent it is there to try and ensure we have a legal process for everyone. It would appear that you are using legal aid merely as a tool to kick someone while they are down. If you're going to be so hateful to a complete stranger I would rather you called him names than pointed out how much he might be costing in legal aid. If you have a problem with legal aid I think perhaps you should speak out against legal aid not against someone who might be making use of it.

    Secondly, his crime and punishment. You seem to equate hacking with thieving when actually it is more akin to trespassing. The US seem to have made clear their intent to try him in light of 'damages' which, in continuing the real-world analogy, would be comparable to a trespasser breaking a lock and/or the expense in pursuing him. So, hypothetically we have someone who broke a lock and trespassed into a military base. Would it be reasonable to charge that person for the expenditure resulting from tracking him down and upgrading the security system as well as the lock he broke? I would challenge you to find a precedent in trespassing case law where a a prosecutor has managed to claim such damages back from the defendant.

    All that is without going into the issue of the 'terrorism' laws he is to be tried under, which are a huge pile of excrement in the nicest light anyway and a waste of time to shovel through in search of a solution.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope Gary gets what he deserves...

    ...and his scumbag lawyers and sympathy hoes get theirs too.

  65. Azrael

    If the crime happens "where the computers are"

    ... does that mean that I can watch pirated music and videos if they are hosted in a country with no copyright laws?

    Does it mean I can (disgusting as I find the thought) watch child pornography if the computer is in a country with no pedophilia laws?

    Or does the country where I'm sitting still matter?

    What if there is a forum which you know is in a middle eastern country, and some Brit or American posts some anti-religious message on it? Should they be extradited to be executed (or whatever)

    What if I criticize the Chinese government in this post, and don't realize that the Reg hosts their server in China? Have I committed a crime in China? Should I be extradited?

    What if I hack into the microsoft webserver? I'm in Australia. I *assume* the webserver is in the US, but it's pretty likely that there is some sort of mirror server here in Oz. So if I pull down confidential information... if I get it from some cache, or mirror site here in Oz, did the crime happen here? If I get it from the US server the crime happened there? What if I tried to get it from the US server, but due to load-balancing trickery I got it from the Aus server? What if there was no Aus server, and due to load-balancing trickery I got it from the Azerbijan server without realizing? And what if the Azerbijanis just happen to have the death sentence for unauthorized access to information?

    Hey, here's a fun one. One of the laws the Americans want to charge McKinnon with is something along the lines of "accessing confidential information that was protected" (regardless of how shoddily it was protected) and one of the pieces of information he discovered (and they want to charge him with) is discovering the IPs of various military computers. I downloaded the court documents, which has the IPs listed - but they are blacked out. I did "select all" "copy" "paste into notepad" - and there were the IPs, clear as day. I'd bypassed their military security. I could potentially be tried as a terrorist. Where should I be tried? I'd downloaded the pdf files, so... did that crime happen in Australia? But I downloaded them from a US webserver. So did the crime happen in the US? (It was legal to download. Just not to copy/paste) - what if I was viewing it through a web browser rather than downloading first? The file was still downloaded to my computer. So where did that crime happen?

    The *ONLY* sensible way to judge where a crime happened is to use the location of the person doing the crime. Everything else is too ethereal, and the user doesn't always know what country the servers are in. Things are crimes in some countries and not others.

    McKinnon broke the law. He broke a British law while in Britain, and should be charged in Britain. Especially when it's very clear that the US govt. intends to make a scapegoat of him.

    Or would you Brits be happy with America's RIAA extraditing you to face trials for mp3 downloads?

  66. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    Does anyone think

    That the US criminal justice system is one iota less incompetent than their military IT infrastructure?

    People should not be extradited to hostile powers, full stop.

  67. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: If the crime happens "where the computers are"

    Yes. This is how RIAA et al consider "making available" a copyright offense, despite no copy being made by the one with the file available.

    After all, the Page 3 stuff is illegal in Saudi Arabia and, despite being available on the internet, these pictures have not seen the Sun Editorial staff extradited to Saudi for beheading, has it.

  68. Mark

    re: re: Legal aid ? how much ahve we paid for this ass already ?

    Ian, it's not even that. It's like there being no lock and walking in. This is trespassing. But then accusing him of damages equating to you installing a security system (including locks, which should have been there in the first place) so that you can change it from a minor crime into a serious one.

  69. alan

    Re Sarah Bee

    I wasnt aware that he had killed kittens but now i know he has i will be writing to my friendly daily mail editor post haste and we will be round his house sharpish, right after we have finished with gary


    Down with kitten killers!!!

  70. Anonymous Coward


    Azreal, I will immediately report your post to the moderator for it's inappropriate content of reasoned argument. This comment board is provided only for poorly constructed, bitter, knee-jerk reactions, which must be fully formed without an understanding or knowledge of all facts involved.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    By Andus McCoatover Posted Monday 12th January 2009 18:56 GMT - "Yep. Get executed by firing squad the in US, and they used to charge the family for the price of the bullet."

    Um - that would be China, unless I'm very much mistaken.

  72. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    Is there a difference?

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