back to article McKinnon UK trial decision delayed

A decision on whether or not to prosecute Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon in the UK may come later than expected. As part of his fight against extradition to the US on hacking charges, McKinnon offered a signed confession to UK prosecutors through his lawyers in December. A UK prosecution would at least suspend, and possibly …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought a hacker was someone that put some effort into gaining access to computer systems using their skill, their expert technical knowledge.

    Didn't McKinnon simply log in as a user but without using a password because there wasn't one set? Does that really constitute hacking, does it really qualify him being branded the biggest hacker of all time?

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Actually, for the DoD, it does

    Because he made the admins in the US military look like the idiots they are, and for that reason he has to be put away and made to break rocks to atone for the horrible, terrible deed. That is 99% of the damages cited. The rest is just the time it took to slap one of those admins until proper passwords got set.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    He got into their systems, period - his skill, or even lack thereof, is irrelevant. Let's imagine a burglar in your house who got in because you have shitty locks on the door (or even none) - I seriously doubt that you would say "Oh, righto, he's just a total amateur - better let him off the hook, then".

  4. Steve Cragg

    @AC 15:47

    Here's another analogy since you like them so much.

    Person X was placed as head of security for the main national security of a countries Main Intelligence base. Head of security says to his superiors (which would most likely include the head of national security and head of state) that the security he has put in place is top notch, no-one can get in or break in (as it's guarding such an important asset to said country).

    Monday morning, people arrive at the base to work, only to find that there's been a break in. Nothing appears to be stolen, but all files have been accessed.

    They later find out, that the new head of security's measures consisted of nothing more than placing a sign on the main gates which read the following:

    "All staff and personnel gone home for the weekend, doors are open and alarms disabled, but please don't enter".

    - I.E. where's your thirst for blood for the IT security person who allowed McKinnon in?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    If I have understood correctly it would be more like someone wandering into your garden through your open gate and just looking around. You come in and catch them, but although you feel mighty stupid and angry with yourself for not locking the gate when you left, you turn your rage on the person and insist they are locked up. It's not right to just walk in but no harm was done, he didn't steal anything.

    Paris, because she sometimes leaves things open I understand.

  6. Shane Mussell

    But it wasn't ..

    However if he was to walk into a Bank and nick everything because it was unlocked or fitted with no locks at all.. Well.. Would you still feel the same way?

    Not sure if it would ever come to court in the US because frankly it would be highly embarrassing to admit that no security was setup on the effected systems.

    I think he should be hailed a plonker and let off with a slap on the wrist, I mean that's what happened to the sysadmins of the effected systems after all.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC, Tarquin

    I'd suggest you read my post again literally and not try to interpret it in the what you think I might have meant.

    My post said nothing about about whether I thought what he did should constitute a crime or not. Both of you are claiming that I was implying that he did nothing wrong, that he should not be prosecuted for his actions. I made no such claim at all.

    My remark "does it really qualify him being branded the biggest hacker of all time?" is exactly what is says, he's been branded by the prosecutors in the USA and the media as one of the greatest hackers of all time. Given the level of skill used, is it reasonable to brand him so?

    And I'm still not going to comment on the gravity of his crime and what my views are on what his punishment should or should not be. It's not relevant to my post.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Firstly the guy cracked the American systems out of there country and if they want to extradite him over they should allow there own people who crack foreign systems to be extradited as well even if they where given permission and its an "official" crack they still do not have the legal authority to crack foreign systems which they routinely do.

    Also Americas extradition treaty is not ratified on the americans side so I'm lead to believe as such it should be classed as null and void as a treaty needs both ratified by all members signed it before its legal and valid, America has a habit of getting treaties made not ratifying them on there side but holding everyone else to the treaty.

    Simply put the crime was not done in America if they want justice they should prosecute him in the UK and have there prosecutors side by side with the UK ones but they won't do that.

    Sigh we'll see how it goes but i bet if he leaves the country in Americas custody we wont see him again..ever...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Location of the crime is important when it comes to extradition. You say the crime wasn't done in America.

    When it comes to IT, IT crimes are different to most other crimes in that there are two elements: the actor and the effected system, and as we know they can be in different countries.

    I suspect, the extradition law and other relevant laws are written such that extradition can be granted if the target of the crime is in the USA, irrespective of where the person actually was when the crime was committed. (of course, the person conducting the crime would have to be in a country with whom the American's have an extradition treaty).

    There's no question the guy is being made a scapegoat. And I think that alone should justify him being tried in the UK under our own legislation.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Sorry, my post was replying to AC 15:47, not yours, which I largely agree with. It was a long day.


    Paris, because even she would not have got the title wrong - d'oh.

  11. Lee T.


    I agree.

    The "costs" associated with the case, that the US is claiming he caused X dollars of damage, is the cost of actually securing their systems. He didn't cause x dollars of damage, he caused the US military etc to notice that their systems were wide open. To return the systems to the state they were in before mckinnon gained access to them would cost them almost nothing.

    Also, what happened to not allowing laws to be applied retroactively?

    Aliens, cos thats what he claims to have been looking for.

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