back to article McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, says Home Secretary

The Home Secretary has blocked Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US. In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Theresa May said that long-running extradition proceedings against the 46 year-old Asperger's Syndrome sufferer would be withdrawn on medical and human rights grounds. Psychiatrists warned that the Scot was likely to …

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  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hoorah!

    Some sense at last.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hoorah!

      Excellent news.

      Although I would suggest that Gary doesn't celebrate with a holiday in Florida. In fact, he might even be subject to rendition if he visits Disneyland Paris.

      1. Lord Lien

        Re: Hoorah!

        Or any other country that has an extradition treaty with the US.........

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or any other country

          particularly Sweden ........

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          Re: Hoorah!

          Rendition treaty?

          What ever happened to the USA continuing with their practice of the Keitel Decree:

          Night and Fog Decree, German Nacht-und-Nebel-Erlass, secret order issued by US Corporate government person on December 7, 1941, under which “persons endangering American security” in the whole world occupied territories of the whole world were to be arrested and either shot or spirited away under cover of “night and fog” (that is, clandestinely) to concentration camps. Also known as the Keitel Order, the decree was signed by Secretary of Defence, chief of staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wehrmacht), and was issued in response to the increased activity of the Resistance in the whole world. The American minister of justice established special courts to deal with these cases. Some 7,000 persons are known to have been sent to concentration camps as a result of this decree.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hoorah!

        He doesn't actually need to leave this country to undergo rendition. Our USian 'friends' show little respect for borders. Everything they can see in any sovereign state is fair game. Just ask all those countries the colonials have 'assisted' in recent years. How do you think Guantanamo Bay became populated with all those other nationals apart from Afgans?

      3. Daggersedge

        Re: Hoorah!

        As far as I know, France doesn't have an extradition treaty with the US.

        1. John R. Macdonald
          FAIL

          Re: Hoorah!

          Actually France and the US signed an extradition treaty (in Paris) on 23/04/1996. Ask Ira Einhorn.

    2. Psyx
      Alert

      Re: Hoorah!

      "Hoorah!

      Some sense at last."

      Yes and no.

      On one hand: Good, the poor bastard isn't going to be hurled into prison by the US justice system for an inappropriate period of time, for a crime that happened a decade ago, at enormous expense to tax-payers on both sides of the pond.

      On the other hand, is being very depressed about the possibility of going to jail after breaking the law a good reason to avoid said jail sentence? Is "He might kill himself if he gets stressed out by the trial or jail" a reason to not prosecute people, and what kind of precedent does that set, as regards human rights*. Should it be possible to deploy such tactics as criminal defence? Does and should having Asperger's Syndrome in any way diminish criminal responsibility; especially as it's not something that blurs one's perception of what is and is not legal. Does painting Asperger's as a factor damage the image of the Syndrome and make it harder for people with it to be accepted, and is that not a negative thing?

      *I might kill myself because of stress and depression because I don't own a Ferrari. Can I haz one plz?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hoorah!

        I am in two minds about this too. However, I think the suicide threat is less relevant than the impossibility of having a fair trial in the US - *THAT* is the real humane consideration.

        I'm not considering the entire US Justice system unfit for purpose, it's more about the vast amount of political pressure and press reporting of this case which makes it unlikely a conviction would be safe. To me, that in itself is a valid ground to stop deportation on humane grounds.

        However, I fear we will have plenty of copycats for a while..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hoorah!

          It is easy to get a fair trial in the US - don't be accused of anything "Anti-American" and have very deep pockets indeed.

          I'm sorry, but the root cause of this case is the attempted cover-up by US officials who apparently thought that a really secure password for sensitive servers was "password". Under these conditions, a fair trial is about as likely as Salman Rushdie getting one in Iran, and for much the same reason (Rushdie was very critical of the Ayatollah Khomeini in his book.)

          1. auburnman

            Cover up?

            That's one thing that always puzzled me about this whole affair - how it has failed to be covered up.

            If I were after the culprits for hacking into several of the biggest and highest profile defence and research organisations in my country, and that turned out to be one lone guy with a home PC and some mental issues, I would sweep that under the carpet faster than you can say 'Highly embarrassing security incident.'

            None of this dragging extradition out for years mince.

            1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

              Re: Cover under

              You forget the seriously brain damaged regime under which the cack all got started. A bunch of crooks and liars got together to have a mental retard son of an ex president made commander in chief of everything unholy because a bunch of retards would vote for it.

              And they did.

              Everybody sensible refrained from voting.

              By the second round it was too late.

            2. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Cover up?

              "None of this dragging extradition out for years mince."

              I guess they expected to tell the Brits to airmail him over, which they would do immediately and without question, upon which time they would tear him a new one as a warning for any other wannabe hackers. The cover-up wouldn't be who got their asses handed to them, the cover-up would be that it was a guy with a medical condition that may or may not have been a factor, plus a regular home PC. That's the part that would have been glossed over.

              But... didn't quite work out that way.

        2. Charles Manning

          Why give Aspergers a free pass?

          Devil's advocate here... Why should those with Aspergers be given a free pass for their actions and other criminals not?

          At some level every thief has a distorted sense of entitlement that makes them feel they are entitled too take someone else's stuff.

          And some people feel they are doing good for society by beating up gays and blacks.

          According to http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/prisons/, 70% of the prison population in UK has 2 or more mental health disorders.

          Where the hell do you draw the line?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why give Aspergers a free pass?

            @Charles "Devil's advocate here... Why should those with Aspergers be given a free pass for their actions and other criminals not?"

            I don't think he's being given a free pass. He'll be tried in the UK, if I read things correctly. I also think that the aspergers is a bit of a red herring here ...

            For me, however, a major contributor to my opinion in this is what was coming out of the US; their talk suggested that they wanted a sheep to hang not only for the fact that the sheep walked through the gate in to a field and took a nibble at some grass and gave a bit of a shock to some of the other sleeping animals that were in there, but they also wanted said sheep to hang for the fact that they left the gate open and caused them to get caught with their pants around their ankles on the job.

            I believe that there was no chance that he would have had a fair trial in the US on these grounds and, if I was in his shoes, aspergers or not, I'd be shit scared of being hung for someone elses cock ups; sleepless nights, suicidal thoughts and all the rest of it.

            ... but to be honest, going to the home secretary and ask for extradition to be halted on the grounds that the US were blowing things out of proportion, might not have resulted in a favourable outcome.

        3. Michael Dunn
          Alert

          Re: Hoorah!

          " I think the suicide threat is less relevant than the impossibility of having a fair trial in the US "

          Yes, but Mrs May could not really say that in public, now could she?

        4. Jaybus

          Re: Hoorah!

          Fair trial? He has already admitted to doing it. I think a trial anywhere would be a forgone conclusion. I can see stopping the extradtition, but surely it is a crime to engage in these activities, whether against foreign or domestic computer systems. Why just let him go? Doesn't that tell everyone, particularly the US, that London is the chief safe haven for computer espionage?

      2. Echowitch

        Re: Hoorah!

        Clearly you don't understand autism. This isn't just "Ooh I might be a bit unhappy". He has aspergers. His entire view of the world is skewed and different from everyone elses.

        My son is autistic so I'm very aware of how autism affects those who suffer from it.

        1. Steve Knox
          Stop

          Re: Hoorah!

          Clearly you don't understand autism. This isn't just "Ooh I might be a bit unhappy". He has aspergers. His entire view of the world is skewed and different from everyone elses.

          Clearly you don't understand humanity. EVERYONE'S view of the world is different from everyone else's. We're all somewhere on the autism spectrum.

          Your experience with your son has exposed you to one autism spectrum condition, and I sincerely hope you have and continue to handle it well. But don't deceive yourself into thinking that in-depth exposure to an individual case grants you expertise on the entire range.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: Hoorah!

            Er... no, we're not all on the autism spectrum. That's a stupid thing to say.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hoorah!

              Logically, I don't think it is. Not having autism is, nevertheless, on the spectrum, even if it is only at one end of it.

              Personally, I think that parents describing their spoiled brats bullying, destrictive, selfish behaviour to other parents as, "Oh, he's on the spectrum," and not being a proper parent, is not only hacking other people off but it is robbing true autism sufferers and their carers the understanding that they deserve from society.

              Things are really mixed up these days.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hoorah!

                Thank god a sane person. I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (before it was cool) and honestly I can't stand the amount I see things on TV "blah blah blah did such as such, his defense is he has aspergers"

                Where I used to work, a small child stole some food, when my supervisor caught him and told the parent to keep a closer eye on him (which was nice of him, considering we're meant to report any and all theft, even kids) her response was "It's not his fault, he has aspergers"

                If my job wouldn't have been at risk, I would have ripped her a new one then and there. So many people use it as an excuse for every little thing they do, when half the time it has no affect on those aspects whatsoever. Unfortunately I've moved to the opposite approach because of this, even in situations where Aspergers is the reason I cock something up, normally social things, poorly worded responses etc I absolutely refuse to use Aspergers as a reason for it.

                Aspergers makes you a social retard, not a complete one.

              2. Falcon
                Flame

                Re: Hoorah!

                Oh, so you'd describe yourself as being 'on the paedophile spectrum' would you? Autistic people have to deal with issues that do not apply to most others, so it's hardly fair to dismiss the condition like that. Mckinnon may well have considered the moral implications of looking into these systems and found no good reason why he shouldn't. Many would agree that his behaviour was not 'criminal', but motivated by childlike curiosity. Perhaps he thought that if he really was gaining access to top secret material, it woud be well protected, which it wasn't. Elements of the US have decided to treat him like a terrorist, and that is clearly innapropriate. He deserves protection. As for bemoaning parents of autistic children, that's quite a generalisation, to say the least.

              3. heyrick Silver badge

                Re: Hoorah!

                "Personally, I think that parents describing their spoiled brats bullying, destrictive, selfish behaviour to other parents as, "Oh, he's on the spectrum," and not being a proper parent,"

                Once upon a time, saying "Oh, he's on the spectrum" meant something completely different.

                1. John H Woods Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: Hoorah!

                  "Personally, I think that parents describing their spoiled brats bullying, destrictive, selfish behaviour to other parents as, "Oh, he's on the spectrum," and not being a proper parent,"

                  heyrick: "Once upon a time, saying "Oh, he's on the spectrum" meant something completely different."

                  Not necessarily completely different :-)

              4. Jim Bob

                Re: Hoorah!

                "Logically, I don't think it is. Not having autism is, nevertheless, on the spectrum, even if it is only at one end of it."

                What a load of crap! That is like saying that micro or radio waves are part of the visible spectrum - utter bollocks!

                Taking the first line from the Wikipedia entry for "Autism Spectrum" (with the usual pinch of salt...)

                "The autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)."

                So if you do not demostrate "pervasive developmental disorders" you are not on the spectrum.

                As for the McKinnon case, sounds like the UK govenrment is finally starting to grow a pair regarding the apparent asymmetry of the US-UK extradition process.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hoorah!

          Clearly you don't understand autism. This isn't just "Ooh I might be a bit unhappy". He has aspergers. His entire view of the world is skewed and different from everyone elses.

          I actually *have* Aspergers. Mild, but I have it, and I agree that it skews my world view - but not to a degree that stops me from knowing what is right or wrong. If anything, I have a tendency to be more rigid in following the rules because I cannot rely on the social triggers others depend on. This is *exactly* why I do not accept Aspergers *itself* as a viable excuse, because that would mean half of Silicon Valley suddenly would become exempt from following the law (well, OK, maybe they do. It would explain a great deal, but I digress).

          Aspergers may have indeed contributed to McKinnon arrived at a point where specialists thought he would consider suicide a viable option, but I think having to fight an uphill battle for a solid 10 years may have something more to do with it.

          Incidentally, you only know from the outside what it's like. That's not the same as having to live with it yourself.

          1. Psyx
            Pint

            Re: Hoorah!

            "This is *exactly* why I do not accept Aspergers *itself* as a viable excuse, because that would mean half of Silicon Valley suddenly would become exempt from following the law"

            /applause.

        3. Psyx
          Alert

          Re: Hoorah!

          "Clearly you don't understand autism. This isn't just "Ooh I might be a bit unhappy". He has aspergers. His entire view of the world is skewed and different from everyone elses."

          Actually, I do. I have several friends with Aspergers. It doesn't prevent them from knowing right from wrong, or functioning in society. They're sometimes awkward, sometimes unwittingly obnoxious, often lose their keys, and sometimes talk about Transformers far too much, but they understand the difference between right and wrong and the technicalities of the law. Some are particularly handy at IT partly because of their understanding and obsession with technicalities. Aspergers is a far cry from full-blown Autism, and in every case that I'm familiar with, it doesn't skew their world view to the point that they should stand outside the legal system.

          I am genuinely pleased that Gary isn't going to be hauled through US courts, but the law cannot and should never start making exceptions for those who are in some way a little different from the norm, or even suffering from depression, and yet live normally and partly or fully independently within our society.

          If someone is so far outside the norm that they cannot understand the law, operate within it, or be held accountable for their actions, then they deserve to be catered to, looked after, and cared for so that they are not put in the position where they might break those laws and be called to account.

          *I* would be depressed if I had been dragged through courts for years or was facing 60 years in prison. I imagine a vast number of us would slip into clinical depression at the possibility. But that alone isn't really a defence clause in the eyes of the justice system. The more mentally resilient amongst us should not face relatively heavier punishment than those who are prone to depression.

      3. Camilla Smythe

        Re: Hoorah!

        "Does and should having Asperger's Syndrome in any way diminish criminal responsibility; especially as it's not something that blurs one's perception of what is and is not legal."

        Speaking as someone who has Asperger Syndrome, self diagnosed, I assume you are a have not and therefore are in a position to make for shit statements.

        For myself I have a heightened awareness of what should and what should not be legal. I get slightly confused when your world model as apparently imposed by people such as yourself fails to join up at the edges.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hoorah!

          (a) - it is very unwise to self-diagnose any mental condition. Even depression, which can be confused with the effects of straightforward medical conditions.

          (b) - having said that, if by "I have a heightened awareness of what should and what should not be legal" you mean that you tend to see things in black and white terms and believe that this makes your judgement superior - then yes, you are demonstrating a trait present in some people who have Aspergers. It is also, however, present in many other people who do not. And it can lead to everything from awkward social situations to quite destructive behaviour.

          If you really think you have it you should seek a diagnosis from a qualified person.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hoorah!

            I was anon 14:47 so continuing on from that in response to Ribs post.

            This is another point that coincides with what I was saying, because its become 'the' mental condition in the spotlight, most probably because so many of the possible symptoms are so general anyone could claim they have it (seriously, read through the traits of somebody with aspergers, if you just take one or two traits without context 99% of the population have it). This is the other problem, so many people don'[t bother with a professional diagnosis and just diagnose themselves and suddenly they have an opinion on the matter.

            Here's an opinion unless you have seen a qualified specialist to be diagnosed you don't have it. The same way sticking a ferrari sticker on a kit car doesn't make it a ferrari and saying you make the best curry in the world doesn't mean your curry is the best.

            If anything people who automatically decide they have aspergers are probably the people I'd say are least likely to have it.

        2. Psyx
          Stop

          Re: Hoorah!

          "For myself I have a heightened awareness of what should and what should not be legal. I get slightly confused when your world model as apparently imposed by people such as yourself fails to join up at the edges."

          You appear to have misunderstood my point. I hindsight I didn't communicate it particularly well.

          To clear it up: In my experience with them, people who have Aspergers know full well what is and what is not legal, and understand the legal repercussions of their actions. They also have a functioning moral compass. It does not impede on their ability to operate as a citizen within the law.

          Gary knew that breaking into computer systems owned by the US Government was illegal. He might not have understood *why*, but that's not a valid legal defence, just as I don't really understand why punching Rupert Murdoch in the face should be illegal, but wouldn't rely on that to get me off an assault charge. Ergo, Aspergers Syndrome is not a suitable legal defence.

          As to not understanding *why* the world doesn't join up at the edges particularly neatly, I don't believe that is in any way unique to those with Aspergers.

          I'm also not too sure why the world model was imposed by people such as myself, in your eyes. It wasn't. You appear to have put up a wall and divided humanity into 'have'(Aspergers) and 'have-nots'. Just because I don't have the same specific spectral condition than you, it doesn't mean that I fall into the same category as everyone else lacking it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hoorah!

      I don't often have anything good to say about any HS, especially Ms May, but she has risen slightly in my estimation due to this decision.

      Now can we just get the UK trial over with, give him his community service and take into account the last few years and let the bloke get on with his life?

    4. miknik
      Thumb Up

      Poor guy

      I applaud this decision, but still can't help thinking having this hang over him for a decade must have taken it's toll on him regardless. Hope he can get on with his life now.

  2. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Go

    Goody

    A Home Secretary speaks some sense. They must have forgotten to give her the medication this morning.

    1. HMB

      Re: Goody

      Let me ask you this question; do you think she'd have made this much sense if so many eyes weren't on her decision?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Goody

      dried frog pills?

  3. Reue

    Right decision for the wrong reason

    Finally the right decision is made, however for the wrong reason.

    It ought to have been blocked long ago as the crime was committed from in the UK and so should have been tried in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      Spot on.

      The cost of having lopsided bully boy extradition laws is not worth it. Even if it means we lose some cooperation or whatever. Lets hope this is the start of the UK finally telling the US that hey - you do not control the world outside of your borders. They will cotton on eventually.

      Oh and change your default administrator passwords.

      1. Rob
        Go

        Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

        Lose some cooperation, since when did our government get any cooperation from the US government that didn't have self-serving motives for them.

        (please be aware that I always consider a government to be separate from the citizens of that country and generally don't tarnish them with the same brush).

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

          The "special relationship" seems more about us going off to help the US fight wars than anything genuinely useful. We will always have a 'special relationship' with the US regardless of politicians, shared history and language will always encourage business, we don't need to kow tow to these jarheads.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

            I don't know... If I left my door in such a way someone could poke a stick through the letter box and unlatch it, and then I found someone had wandered in off the street and ruffled through my bookshelves, I would be pissed off. But after reflection I would consider myself lucky that a thief hadn't come in, smashed the place up, stolen my valuables and taken a dump on the carpet.

            After I had calmed down, I would then consider upgrading my locks and then go to the pub.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

              which is of course what the US gov did, this is the $800,000 damage that he is said to have done.

              Well it cost 800K to fix our systems (change passwords/certs etc) and to do a review that we should have done ages ago into our security practices.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

              Ahh -- But how would you feel about someone else making that judgement for you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      > Finally the right decision is made, however for the wrong reason.

      Totally agree. Unfortunately these days you have to win on technicalities or other means rather than pure common sense.

      Richard O'Dwyer should be put in front of this new forum bar as his website was not breaking any laws in the UK.

      Overall its nice to see a UK politician say NO to the US, even if it was some agreement based on hook hand hamza.

      This also sets a nice precedence for if I ever get caught ;-)

    3. g e
      Go

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      Perhaps more the correct pretext found for handing out the correct decision.

      UK.gov needs to be seen to have a justifiable reason to the yank administration for an outbreak of comon sense , however thinly veiled.

      Now perhaps we can continue secession from our colonial government-level overlords. Or at least have cock removed from arse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

        The last thing won't happen - Tony is too deeply wedged.

    4. teebie

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      Agreed for the most part.

      Bu tth eright decision would gave been to refuse extradition when it was asked for, not many years later.

    5. itzman

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      Curious.

      So if I press a button in the UK that sends a missile to a target in - say - Iran, that kills a hundred..Iranians...I am committing no crime on Iranian soil?

      What a field day for remote assassination this raises the prospect of...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

        No, because you are committing a number of crimes in this country. Murder, setting off a dangerous firework, interfering with aircraft movements, and various offences under the various terrorism acts. We might decide to try you here, we might extradite you to Iran, but I think more likely that for reasons of State when the police caught up with you you'd be found to be pointing a pistol at one of them, and you'd be shot.

        1. Reue

          Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

          How about the people that dress up in nazi costume fancy dress? Ought they all be extridited to Germany where such actions are illegal?

          How about me currently living in sin by sharing a bed with my unmarried partner? Better pack us off to Dubai.

          If a crime is commited in this country, then it should be charged, tried and punished in this country. If someone does something which is not a crime in this country then they should be safe from extradition.

          In your example, would you rather such a person be extradited to a country where they would then be tortured and killed? I wouldnt.

          1. Psyx

            Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

            "How about the people that dress up in nazi costume fancy dress? Ought they all be extridited to Germany where such actions are illegal?"

            If you flew to Germany and did it on their soil and flew back home, then yes.

            Which is the proverbial case both with Gary (hacking systems in the US, and hence committing the crime there) and in the example given (murdering people in Iran, hence committing the crime there).

            Your examples are logical fallacies.

            1. Uffish

              Re: logical fallacies

              No they're not.

            2. Stu J
              Go

              Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

              Just because the "victim" is in the US, doesn't mean that the perpetrator is. It's the location of the perpetrator that matters. If Gary wasn't in the US when he committed the crime, and likewise hasn't set foot in the US since, then I'm sorry, they have fuck-all business with him.

              Sure, the US should hand over the evidence to the UK and ask us to prosecute him if he's broken any of our laws. But he should never have been considered to be under US Jurisdiction.

              In the same way that if I tried to start a reasoned debate on an Austrian website about whether or not the Holocaust actually happened (for the record, I'm pretty damn sure it did), I would not expect to be extradited to Austria under their Holocaust denial laws, to spend years rotting in prison there, because I've never been to Austria. On the other hand, if the UK CPS deemed me to be grossly offensive, and that it was in the public interest, then they could prosecute me under whatever UK law I happened to fall under.

              Or, say there's a server hosted in a devoutly Muslim country that's hosting porn. If I access that porn, should they be able to extradite me to their country and inflict whatever punishment they see fit?

              Top and bottom of it is, you don't always know what the nationality of the server is that you're accessing. And enough people don't know the laws of their own country, let alone the laws of countries hosting websites and servers they may end up accessing, maybe without even realising it.

              On a slightly related note, there was talk of the UK government making it illegal for British citizens to have sex with under-16s in foreign countries where it would not normally be illegal. Now, although I thoroughly accept and condone the good intent of this, in my eyes, the same principles apply: the law applies to physical location of perpetrator, not to nationalities of perpetrator or victim, nor to location of victim. It's a slippery slope. Jurisdictional creep has already gone too far - it needs to be pushed back on by all civilised society.

              1. Psyx
                Stop

                Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

                "It's the location of the perpetrator that matters. If Gary wasn't in the US when he committed the crime, and likewise hasn't set foot in the US since, then I'm sorry, they have fuck-all business with him."

                The law doesn't agree with you.

                At the extreme end of the scale, war criminals are routinely tried in countries where they committed no crime. Hell: Some German citizens have been hung in Israel, after being snatched from Argentina for crimes committed in the Ukraine. And bloody good job, too!

                Likewise, should a criminal that commits electronic fraud based in a country that has no laws against it be completely immune to prosecution of any kind, should the money be taken from another country?

                Many 'kingpins' behind organised crimes or terrorist acts have never committed crimes in their own country, so should they be immune to prosecution in the country where the acts were perpetrated?

                Your position of 'it's none of their business' stance just doesn't stand up to reasonable scrutiny when it comes down to actual justice. Sometimes Extradition is the only way to ensure justice is done. Sure: A lot of times recently it's been horribly misused, and generally I believe crimes should be tried in the country the person was in where it is reasonable and a fair trial is viable (remember that often extradition can result in a FAIRER trial, rather than a jury-less hatchet-job with confessions gained by beatings). However, in a global environment, people should not be allowed to dodge the repercussions from crimes committed just because they're the 'right' side of a line on a map.

    6. Arctic fox
      Flame

      Re: Right decision for the wrong reason

      "W" and his Prince of Darkness (Veep) wanted a sacrifice, a demonstration of commitment from the UK. The present regime has decided that the gain is not worth the noise - and of course, as usual the British government falls in with it's masters wishes. If this decision had not already been cleared with Washington it would not have happened regardless fo how deserving this guy's case might be. I wish him of course the best of luck and hope for his sake and his family that this business may finally be over.

  4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Curiouser and curiouser

    I thought both coalition parties had indicated they were opposed to this extradition, so why do I have a faint feeling of surprise that they've done just that?

    1. g e
      Holmes

      Re: Curiouser and curiouser

      Perhaps they think if Romney gets in then what may subsequently happen to McK under that swivel-eyed lunatic would reflect badly on their agreeing the extradition down the road.

  5. ColonelClaw
    Pint

    Oh for goodness sake

    Please let this be a one-off, as I wouldn't want to start thinking of our government as decent people.

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Oh for goodness sake

      Ditto - add the Daily Mail to that list also!

    2. Jason Bloomberg
      Stop

      Re: Our government as decent people

      I suspect May came to the decision more to protect the government from the consequences of extradition should Gary have topped himself rather than to protect his own human rights. None the less, no matter how self-serving, it was the right decision to make.

      Her other moves, which appear aimed to reduce rather than extend the right to challenge extradition, would seem to suggest it's far too soon to start thinking of government as decent people.

  6. Maverick
    Pint

    excellent news

    <-- I'd like to buy him one of these

    now we just need to fix the system that allowed this to get so far (& explain to our cousins that their legal system stops when it reaches the Atlantic)

    1. Brent Longborough
      WTF?

      Re: excellent news

      Atlantic? Isn't that somewhere in Georgia?

  7. Dave the Cat
    Thumb Up

    Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

    I'm glad that some sense has finally been seen, however I don't think there's a reason to say he shouldn't still be tried for his alleged crimes here.

    Having Aspergers doesn't give one carte blanche to do whatever one pleases and then claim he didn't know any better, having Aspergers doesn't mean he doesn't know right from wrong. He should stand trial for his alleged crimes in the country in which he allegedly committed them....

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

      He should be tried here, as he should have been long ago. But the years of misery inflicted on him so far already need to be taken into account in any sentencing.

      I also seem to recall that we have different criteria and sentencing for what he did than the USA? Anyone?

      1. Oliver Mayes

        @h4rm0ny

        The 'misery' was entirely self inflicted. It was only his constant appeals that kept it going on this long.

        I don't care where he goes as long as he gets properly prosecuted for breaking the law.

        1. g e
          Holmes

          Re: @h4rm0ny

          That self-inflicted misery certainly kept him from further much more miserable US-based misery.

          I call that a win.

      2. g e
        Thumb Up

        Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

        I should hope a suspended sentence mostly marked as time-served bar 10 months, perhaps.

        Of course 'guilty of a minor infraction with 20 hrs community service' would be a fitting poke in the eye to the folk west of Ireland. (Or even 'not guilty, systems were insecure therefore never actually "hacked"' would be ideal)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

          USA law is just that, not English law. So, which English (or possibly EU adopted into English law) laws did he break and if he did, why not try him here? If he did, are they criminal or civll offences?

          Or, with your approach, when are you off to Saudi Arabia because of the alcohol you like to drink? Humanity: consuming or possessing cannabis is illegal in GB. How many people do you know (perhaps even yourself) have you reported to the police because you saw them with cannabis at some party? Or are laws with which you disagree fit only ot be broken with impunity?

          Some of you are just ghastly people and, I hope, never in a position of responsibility for others. Or move to USA as its style seems to appeal to you.

          1. Dave the Cat
            Facepalm

            Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

            @ AC 15.52

            I'm not sure if your post was aimed at me or the other posters but here goes; For one, I'm not sure anyone has posted anything ghastly, a crime has allegedly been committed, the prime suspect for that should face justice for his actions. Having a disability like Aspergers cannot, and should never be a means to escape justice.

            I'm not sure I fully follow your point, drinking alcohol isn't illegal in this country, on the other hand using your PC to illegally access a computer system(s) for which you are not authorised to do so, most certainly is illegal. I have to say I don't associate with people who smoke cannabis any more, at least as far as I know, heck I may have even tried it myself many moons ago, (but i didn't inhale ;-)) so should I report myself for something that last happened 20 years ago? Really?

            I do take a liberal interpretation of speed limits when road conditions allow however whilst yes, legally speaking, speeding, even when road conditions allow, is illegal and therefore "bad", it's not quite in the same league of "bad" as hacking into the military and scientific computer systems of an ally nation.

            As for what crimes he's alleged to have committed, I'm no lawyer but I'll kick off with sections one and two of the Computer Misuse Act for a start.

            Now, the question of whether he will stand trial here is another matter, it's my understanding that the processing his computer after his arrest was not in line with DPP guidelines as a result of US over eagerness (quelle suprise).

            I for one am glad that he is not being sent to the US, however I do also hope that he faces a court to account for his [alleged] actions.

          2. Psyx
            Facepalm

            Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

            "USA law is just that, not English law. So, which English (or possibly EU adopted into English law) laws did he break and if he did, why not try him here? If he did, are they criminal or civll offences?"

            Computer Misuse Act. Obviously the thing that he can't be tried for here is the US equivalent of breach of the Official Secrets Act, which is the meat of the offence. For while computer misuse carries a relatively minor penalty, breach of national security can put you in jail for life. Both sets are criminal offences.

            Obviously there is no legal recourse for prosecuting a UK citizen in the UK for American national security offences. Which is why they wanted to extradite him.

            "Or, with your approach, when are you off to Saudi Arabia because of the alcohol you like to drink? "

            About ten years ago. I thought it'd help me cut down. Turns out there's more alcoholics over there than here.

            Although it's interesting that you bring that up, seeing as BAe got their arse kicked legally in this country for dishing out bribes in the Kingdom, where it's perfectly legitimate normal business practice. So "my approach" appears to be shared by our legal system.

            "How many people do you know (perhaps even yourself) have you reported to the police because you saw them with cannabis at some party? Or are laws with which you disagree fit only ot be broken with impunity?"

            So the Stasi were a good idea?

            Look, that entire paragraph was total hypocrisy on your behalf. Unless YOU grass your friends up to the police for every offence that they commit - from littering (which is about as severe a crime as smoking weed in this country, by the way), through speeding, through pinching pens from work or paying tradesman in cash so it doesn't go through the books - then you are being a massive hypocrite for telling me "Or are laws with which you disagree fit only ot be broken with impunity?"

            "Some of you are just ghastly people and, I hope, never in a position of responsibility for others."

            Waah. 'Ghastly'.

      3. PyLETS
        Flame

        Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

        Personally I think that the years of misery inflicted have far exceeded any proportionate sentence he might have received had he been tried here for the alleged offence within a sensible timeframe. Sometimes panicking and ignorant judges and politicians hand out ridiculously long sentences. Timothy Leary got 30 years in Texas for marijuana posession in the sixties. They used to burn alleged witches also, for similar reasons.

        McKinnon fell victim of the ignorance of politicians concerning computer crime combined with terrorism paranoia following 11/9/2001 . He should have received a hundred hours community service in my understanding in relation to what he actually did. Maybe that's why they are considering introducing a judicial filter earlier on in such cases where extradition is requested and entirely inappropriate. Makes complete sense.

        1. Dave the Cat

          Re: "Years of Misery"

          While I fully agree that this has gone on far, far too long. The "years of misery" are, as others have said, in part due to his constant appeals and re-appeals. That's not to say I think he was wrong to do so, I'd sure as hell to the same if I were in his boat, however a crime has [allegedly] been committed and he should have to stand trial for that crime in the country where they were apparently committed. Just because you've managed to drag out the and won the extradition appeals process does not mean you should be excused of your alleged crimes.

          Though that said, I guess there a statute of limitations on computer crime? (I probably should know that anyway)

          1. Ted Treen
            Boffin

            "...a statute of limitations on computer crime?..."

            No.

            In the UK, there is only a statute of limitations for CIVIL claims.

            There is no statute of limitations for any criminal act.

            1. Dave the Cat
              Thumb Up

              Re: "...a statute of limitations on computer crime?..."

              Thanks Ted.

    2. Echowitch
      Stop

      Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

      Actually Aspergers does affect his concepts of "right and wrong". From his perspective he wanted to find out the information so he went and found it. He didn't hurt anyone or anything so he fails to see how he has done anything wrong. Autism greatly affects a persons view of the world and their interpretation of it and how they interact with others. A fact I know well as my 4 year old son is autistic.

      1. Dave the Cat

        Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

        My brother has Apergers and he sure as hell knows right from wrong. In fact it's his ranting about how he shouldn't get off scott free when he read the story that prompted me to make my post.

        I agree that sometimes people with other forms of autism sometimes don't know the difference, however it is my, and my bother's, understanding that most if not all aspergers sufferers do know that difference.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

          I wonder if a clinical psychologist would agree with your brother. Because when it comes to right and wrong, most of the population have some very grey areas.

          Example:

          My wife was surprised to learn a short time ago that a respectable retired Headmaster didn't see anything at all wrong with VAT fraud, but was very angry about tax avoidance.

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

        Reasonable order in society depends very heavily on the self control of almost all citizens. If Mr. McKinnon's understanding of right and wrong actions is so skew to the laws and understanding of most people, is there not an argument that he should not be allowed personal liberty? I realize that's a dangerous argument, but there also are dangers in excusing antisocial or illegal behavior based on claims of illness.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

          I suggest you might want to visit a magistrate's court, or just read the reports in your local paper. You might get a big surprise as to the level of "self control of almost all citizens", and what you have to do to get locked up.

      3. Psyx
        Holmes

        Re: Good, but he should still stand trial for his alleged crimes

        "A fact I know well as my 4 year old son is autistic."

        So you are lecturing us with expert opinion of Aspergers, based on experience with a 4 year old with full-blown Autism? I'm sorry that your Son suffers from that condition, but both the more severe nature of it and his age put a world of difference between your experience with him and this case, or indeed any adult with Aspergers.

        There is also a big difference between understanding right and wrong and understanding the law. One doesn't have to understand the law in order to know and obey it. I don't honestly understand why I should stick to 70mph on a dry, empty, straight piece of road in a 150mph-capable car. But I know that I will still be punished if I do not obey that law and am responsible if I choose to ignore that law.

  8. NogginTheNog
    WTF?

    Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

    No-one has ever actually answer the bigger question: did he FIND any evidence of UFOs??!!

    1. Dave the Cat
      Unhappy

      Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

      Sadly no, he didn't....

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

        I think he was supposed to have found a list of personnel assigned to a "Space Command" which he interpreted as US-crewed spacecraft rosters - but it could have meant anything, e.g. the people who control GPS satellites.

        1. James 100

          Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

          "I think he was supposed to have found a list of personnel assigned to a "Space Command" which he interpreted as US-crewed spacecraft rosters - but it could have meant anything, e.g. the people who control GPS satellites."

          Yes, 'Space Command' handle all the space-related equipment, i.e. satellites (spy, comms, GPS). Also the ground-based radar that tracks debris which threatens those satellites and things like the ISS, Space Shuttle (until it retired).

          The argument "the system wasn't secure enough for breaking in to be illegal" really bugs me. If a weak password made it legal to break into a computer, how fancy does my front door or car lock have to be to get legal protection? It's possible to break into some cars by jiggling a coat-hanger under the door window, does that make it OK to break into those models now?

          Even if my password or door lock is a "weak" one, I want the law to 'tear a new one' in the little scrote who breaks in - physically or virtually, I don't care which. Yes, I secure my systems and lock my doors, but I want there to be serious consequences as far as possible for anyone who does break in, or indeed try to do so.

    2. Les Claypool

      Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

      I watched an interview with him in which he said he found evidence of exactly what he was searching for. Look at 6.50 in the video... he found it. No doubt, it's all been covered up. Surprise, surprise.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4PkNPCEnJM

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

        ".....he said he found evidence of exactly what he was searching for....." And that evidence is.... nothing. In short, the whole UFO line was just a pathetic excuse added long after the initial arrest to garner public sympathy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ignored for the past 10 YEARS!

      The only UFO's he was likely to find were unidentified fingering objects at Guantanamo Bay.

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    His real crime

    was showing the US military as incapable of even basic security - like changing default passwords. The USA claim that he caused them to spend millions of work fixing up after he 'broke' in. This is work that the idiots should have done in the first place. They should be thanking him, not castigating him.

    McKinnon himself: he should not have done what he did, that is beyond doubt. But the penalty was too high; the USA would not have played fair.

    Punnishing people because they have embarrased you is wrong.

    1. Peter Storm
      Thumb Up

      Re: His real crime

      How true.

      All these idiots have succeeded in doing is make themselves look like even bigger idiots by kicking up such a bloody fuss about it.

      1. Miek
        Linux

        Re: His real crime

        "All these idiots have succeeded in doing is make themselves look like even bigger idiots by kicking up such a bloody fuss about it." -- They have also pretty much ruined 10 years of McKinnon's life without him ever having stood a trial, that's yet to come. It's win win for the US as they will have achieved what they wanted regardless of the outcome of a trial, only the minimum reward for the US now is 10 years of McKinnon's life and a deterioration of his health, anything after this point is now a bonus for them.

        I feel that when this gets to court, the due diligence for basic IT security principals that were not met by US military IT staff will get the complainants laughed from the court room.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: His real crime

          Miek and all the other legal experts need to go talk to a real lawyer. McKinnon has admitted to breaking the law, got that? He broke a law. He can try and wriggle out of it on some bullshine excuse of Aspergers, but then he has to bring his experts to court to PROVE he was unable to tell right from wrong, and from the taunting messages he left on the systems it would appear he not only KNEW he was breaking the law but also did not have an "innocent intent".

          If he is that traumatised and unable to tell right from wrong then he should be sectioned.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What an immense waste of time, money and, effort.

  11. Mark Wilson

    Wow a British goverment willing to stand up to their US counterparts. I hope we see future governments follow in their footsteps.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      > I hope we see future governments follow in their footsteps.

      Highly unlikely.

      To quote Churchill:

      Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

  12. ElNumbre
    Black Helicopters

    Timing...

    I note that this occurs just a week or so after Abu Hamza was shipped off to the good ol' US of A.

    Almost like they planned this to get rid of the ones the public didn't like and keep the one who they do like, for you know, PR points or something.

    Suspicious? Me? Nah, not at all.

    1. El Presidente
      Windows

      Re: Timing... Not so difficult.

      Gary McKinnon = One of us.

      Abu Hamza = One of them.

      Gary McKinnon = Browsed a few open and unprotected computers looking for spaaaace aliens.

      Abu Hamza = Demented religious nut job jihadi who's accused of being a terrorist recruiter and taking 16 people hostage.

      Need I continue ?

    2. Mike Smith
      Pirate

      Re: Timing...

      Possibly, but last time I looked, Gary MacKinnon hadn't been banged up for inciting racial hatred and solicitation to murder. In fact, he hasn't been convicted of any crime here. Or even charged.

      Maybe if 'making American military security look incompetent' was on the statute book, it might have been a different matter.

  13. Anonymous Coward 101

    So all you have to do is threaten suicide and you get out off criminal charges?

    What an inhumane decision.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Durr, bluh, unable to understand the difference between "won't be extradited to the states" and "let off all charges scot free".

    2. Zombie Womble

      Also unable to see the difference between depression with suicidal tendencies and making shit up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey American lawyers and military types!

    Suffer in ya jocks!

    LOL

  15. davtom
    Thumb Up

    Finally...

    Theresa May makes a good decision.

    I never thought I'd see the day.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time

    Now when does the trial start?

    1. El Presidente
      Windows

      Re: About time: Now when does the trial start?

      Not in the public interest as far as I can see. Or he will be put through the motions in the mags and found guilty, sentenced to what's effectively time served due to the passage of time.

      IF it gets that far. I think he's suffered enough. Don't you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: About time: Now when does the trial start?

        If that's true then he deserves closure. Extradition or no there are still charges pending and even if they're dropped there'll still be the potential of them being pressed at a later date. Get him tried and either acquitted or convicted of what's already happenned or whatever. Just get this whole sorry mess into the past.

  17. Tom 7 Silver badge

    He broke the law

    but the only crime he committed was to make US military security look pathetic.

    Still can believe May did this - but I'll hold any complements until I see the changes she's going to make to the law.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should never have happened

    Gary should have been tried over here and given a community service punishment or suspended sentence. The real criminals here are the US military who set their network up in such a way as to allow a lone hacker from his bedroom in London to run rings around the so called system security. God knows how much further the Chinese and the Russians got, probably can read The President's emails as he types.

    This has only served to make the US look like bullying overlords and the British government akin obsequious hand wringers.

    1. NukEvil

      Re: Should never have happened

      Going on what I've seen from this mess so far, the Chinese and Russians should be able to remotely move a secret webcam around the Oval Office and watch as the President takes a crap and uses the Constitution to wipe himself afterwards...then hack into the brains of every congress person and order them to borrow another trillion dollars from China at egregious interest rates.

  19. Hope Spirals
    Black Helicopters

    Connect two seemingly isolated events.

    The UK government has not extradited a terrorist to the USA - the UK is a legitimate target.

    Oil has been discovered in the Irish Sea - a tasty one at that.

  20. Scuby

    CPS decided in 2009 NOT to prosecute

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/109_09/

    with an updated statement here

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_statements/cps_statement_regarding_mckinnon_judgment/

    1. El Presidente
      Windows

      Re: CPS decided in 2009 NOT to prosecute

      Careful with your damned facts, might upset the angry mob.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: CPS decided in 2009 NOT to prosecute

      The CPS decided not to prosecute then, true, but there is NOTHING to stop the Home Sec from directing them to re-open the case, especially as McKinnon has coughed up a load of confessional evidence since, plus the US has supplied evidence as part of the extradition process.

      Don't get confused by thinking McKinnon is covered by double jeopardy as he never went to trial, so it doesn't apply. Even if he had gone to trial, the new evidence would allow the case to be re-opened and a second trial mounted. With the UK authorities now aware of the full extent of his activities, plus the desire to want to be seen as "tough on crime", etc., it's highly probably that McKinnon will get tried here in the UK. And seeing as he has not been on remand, his last ten years of self-imposed "agony" would not count towards any sentence. McKinnon has been on bail for the period fo the extradition request process, not locked up.

  21. Spoonsinger
    Unhappy

    No Mike Singleton obituary as yet?

    Kind of sucks a script kiddy with 'problems' gets more air time than someone who actually wrote, produced and defined a significant area of computing through applied technical skill. Ho hum.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "US authorities have described McKinnon as responsible for "the biggest military computer hack of all time""

    I think it would be fair to say that this may be true, but it is almost certainly true that this guy highlighted that America's military network is probably the most insecure high-security network in the world.

    I know which of those two i'd rather have attributed to me, no wonder America is so bent ouf of shape on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "US authorities have described McKinnon as responsible for "the biggest non-state sanctioned visible, public and embarrassing military computer hack of all time""

      There corrected it for you! ;)

      1. MrZoolook
        Thumb Up

        Since he never actually HACKED the system, just tried 'password' as the password...

        "US authorities have described McKinnon as responsible for "the biggest non-state sanctioned visible, public and embarrassing entry into a military computer of all time""

        Corrected that for you...

  23. Stephen 2

    FINALLY

    A DECENT OUTCOME FROM THE UK!

  24. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Does anyone else think...

    ... the picture of McKinnon The Reg uses looks like Dominic West playing McNulty in The Wire?

    "What the fuck did I do?" (with the stress on a different word each time he says it)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    suicide risk

    So....does this mean I could do the following?

    1 - Pop over to the USA

    2 - Commit a crime

    3 - Come back home before the police catch on to me

    4 - Back in Blighty confess to the crime but say that I'll top myself if I have to go to jail

    5 - Totally avoid being extradited because I'm a suicide risk

    Just asking, like.....

    1. Richard 120

      Re: suicide risk

      I don't know, I suggest you perform an experiment, let us know how it turns out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: suicide risk @richard 120

        "I don't know, I suggest you perform an experiment, let us know how it turns out."

        Preferably in a state with capital punishment ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: suicide risk

      Well, we could do with one less dumb person living on UK soil. Give it a try, I dare ya...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: suicide risk

        Why the hating on this one? It was an honest question.

        Seems to me like this boils down to he committed (and admitted to) a crime but got off from standing trial for it by saying he'd kill himself.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: suicide risk

      Twit. He did not go to the USA. Authorities here did not judge it as seriously or clear cut as you suggest. The question of "damage" caused is foolish. If you lose all the keys to your house and so do not lock doors, do you really think you could use the cost of new locks to estimate the damage suffered if somebody trespassed into your house? Of course, you are surrendering yourself to the American embassy for not transporting that tin of beer in a brown, paper bag, while driving on the left and not letting USA visitors carry a gun slung in the rear window of your car?

      Some loyalty to your own system, if you are British and some distinction from USA (or Nigeria or anywhere else) would not come amiss.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a swap?

    methinks both parties decided to send the man with a hook for his hand instead. Just as well.

  27. ukgnome

    Great News

    Not just for McKinnon but for all citizens of the UK. The extradition balance needed to be addressed. It's the first thing that hapless May has got right.

  28. This Side Up
    Black Helicopters

    @Pete 2

    "To quote Churchill:

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

    That could apply to the Jimmy Savile affair.

    It's the right decision for Gary McKinnon. Now let's hope he makes a full and speedy recovery in the style of Ernest Saunders.

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: @Pete 2

      I think the quote is, (paraphrased),

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that public subsidised corporate, salaried, pension plan receiving people do nothing."

      Sorry Edmund Burke, but although the seeds in " "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." were sown, not as snappy.

  29. Justice
    Facepalm

    Matter of perspective

    Am I the only one that thinks that this 'crime' is being approached in completely the wrong manner? I am at a loss as to why every hacker is considered a severe security risk and needs to be locked up.

    Hell, if they can get through the best security that tax dollars can buy... GIVE THEM A BLOODY JOB!!!

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: "Hell, if they can get through the best security that tax dollars can buy... GIVE THEM ..."

      Sorry, had to comment again. When you look at films of the nineties based on technical competence of the US's intelligence structure, it wasn't actually real. During the immediate post 9/11 thing, the FBI offices were being couriered information because their information access was dial-up and couldn't cope. They only started pumping real dollars into security after this, and that process isn't instantaneous. MiKinnon got in before.

      1. MrZoolook
        Trollface

        Re: "Hell, if they can get through the best security that tax dollars can buy... GIVE THEM ..."

        "the best security that tax dollars can buy."

        I wouldn't exactly call leaving the default password "the best security"... paid for or otherwise. Frankly, the fact I changed my systems password makes MY system more secure then theirs, and it didn't cost me a thing except 10 seconds of my time... They should be offering ME the job.

    2. the-it-slayer
      Thumb Up

      Re: Matter of perspective

      You'd think that, but on the basis of trust being few and far between these days, it's a far cry for that to happen. To be honest, McKinnon is probably one of the most sincere and honest people there is. Being Autistic myself, I could probably understand why he did it in the first place. Through obsession and a lack of empathy and awareness of actions on others (not understanding feelings, facial expressions etc); autistic people take a very direct, literally view of the world. That's difference between him and yourself who don't have Autism.

      The difference with me is that I have come to understand that there are consequences with my actions and people have feelings, people own property and there are unwritten rules within society. McKinnon is likely to not understand those and for his age, Autism would never of been detected at an early age. So I'm not surprised he got a late diagnosis. Parents of children from that era would of just considered Autistic people are just extremely shy with no understanding of his needs.

      I'm glad he's not being sent to the US as they'd probably rip him to pieces. To be fair, even if he got trialled here; he wouldn't understand the implications of punishment and the reasons why.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Wrong decision

    He should have been extradited years ago - just as the US should have extradited innumerable Irish terrorists back to us.

    If he is not fit to stand trial, that should have been a decision for the US authorities, watched by our consul.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean Hague is composing a 'safe passage' to send over to the Ecuadorian Embassy?

  33. waswasere

    Disproportionate use of farce

    I'm loving the hang 'em flog 'em brigade's indignation but a little context is necessary here.

    Hacking into a computer under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (the relevant law at the time) would warrant a max £5,000 fine for unauthorised access. That seems from the facts made public to have been the offence allegedly committed. I've seen no other evidence of crime presented apart from embarrassment of senior US DoD security figures. There is no alleged destruction of data or deletion of files. The "damage" figure seems to be for closing the stable door after someone forgot to bolt it in the first place (or as it might otherwise be known: changing the passwords).

    However, even if a higher burden of proof of fraud or extortion (which I don't believe anyone has alleged)were demonstrated a UK court could only hawe set a max of 5 years imprisonment for the computer hacking part of it not the 60 years under US law.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mike Smith
      Thumb Up

      Re: Disproportionate use of farce

      "UK court could only hawe set a max of 5 years imprisonment for the computer hacking part of it not the 60 years under US law."

      Which might be part of the reason the Americans want him banged up up on their side of the pond. We wouldn't dish out enough porridge to satisfy their cravings for revenge.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll bet a million Euro there will be Hell to pay for this decision

    Violation of the extradition treaty between the UK and U.S. will cost Blighty dearly IMO. There was nothing to be gained for the UK by protecting this hacker but we will all pay for his criminal hacking. Nice decision by another worthless UK politician.

    1. hplasm
      Trollface

      Re: I'll bet a million Euro there will be Hell to pay for this decision

      A million Euro- what's that? About £5?

  35. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    About Tucking Fime

    that's all

  36. namtog namtog
    WTF?

    Greetings,

    Ignorant yank here. It isn't only the Asperger that

    confuses us.

    To wit;

    "dried frog pills?"

    "They will cotton on eventually."

    "based on hook hand hamza."

    Considering the glacial rate of diplomacy I can easily

    see the three examples above taking ten years to decipher.

    Speak English.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look 'em up on the internet...

      "Not that big of a deal." /spits

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Speak English

      Er we do already.

      One bit of advice.

      NEVER EVER say speak English to an English person.

      They will take great offence, and then delight in reminding you why the language is called English.

    3. Paul Woodhouse

      upvoted... didn't realise yanks could be that subtle in trolling :D...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speak English

      Not with ECHELON still operational..

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes he will

    Gary will quietly be shipped off to the U.S. to face trial, with little fanfare. Wait and see.

  38. Crisp
    Alien

    "the biggest military computer hack of all time"

    Uh? What?

    No.

    Browsing unprotected Windows 95 shared folders is not hacking.

    But great news for Gary. It's about time this whole matter was laid to rest.

  39. tonysmith

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syed_Talha_Ahsan#Asperger.27s_syndrome

    Apparently Babar Ahmads co-accused Mr Ahsan also had Aspergers. Not only that but the evidence in that case was in complete and unseen by British officials.

    He was shipped off nevertheless. Slight double standards from the home office considering it's only been a week or so.

  40. Notorious Biggles
    Go

    Time to give him a job

    Firstly, he was in the UK, so as far as I'm concerned the only law he would have broken is UK law. Charge him for breaking the computer misuse act or whatever, but to extradite him to a country he was not in is a bit much and was always ridiculous.

    Secondly, I'd have thought hacking NASA and the Pentagon to require an above average skill set. In which case, wouldn't we be better employing him at GCHQ to get him to help us stop the Chinese hacking us?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some sense at last.

    Funny how any attempts to verify that UFO's and even ET's illict the response of the very heavy handed mob!

    It's not like they have anything to hide?

  42. Brian Allan

    Yes or No

    "the biggest military computer hack(er) of all time" OR "a bumbling nerd who was hunting for evidence of UFOs, anti-gravity propulsion systems and supposedly-suppressed extraterrestial technology"

    Now that is a range of opinion!!/

  43. Roger Mew

    Oh yes!

    Firstly, it seems that the US forces security system was / is so weak that a mentally ill and not highly intelligent person got into their system, and secondly, how can he be charged in the UK with anything that is not illegal in the UK. He has in fact committed no offense in the UK, there is no law that precludes him specifically from accessing accessible sites. If that were to be so, then we all would be guilty of accessing accessible sites!

    The whole thing is stupid at the expense of the UK tax payers!

    Now the UK needs to sue (the US) for costs.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Oh yes!

      ".....He has in fact committed no offense in the UK....." The CPS decided not to prosecute to allow the exctradition to the US to proceed. The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit which arrested McKinnon was created for exactly the type of illegal computer activity as McKinnon has admitted to long before McKinnon's arrival on the sceen. McKinnon was in London when he was hacking as "Solo" in the 2001-2003 period, making his activities subject to the The Computer Misuse Act of 1990, to whit:

      ".....Sections 1-3 of the Act introduced three criminal offences;

      1. unauthorised access to computer material, punishable by 6 months' imprisonment or a fine "not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale" (currently £5000);

      2. unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences, punishable by 6 months/maximum fine on summary conviction or 5 years/fine on indictment;

      3. unauthorised modification of computer material, subject to the same sentences as section 2 offences...."

      So McKinnon would seem to be culpable under all three charges of that Act.

      1. Local G
        Facepalm

        Re: Holy Moly

        "punishable by 6 months/maximum fine on summary conviction or 5 years/fine on indictment."

        5 years just for being indicted. Eat your heart out Beijing.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: Holy Moly

          "......Eat your heart out Beijing." Trust Local Dupe to reach for the exaggeration cannon! It would probably be at a medium- or low-security prison, not a Siberian Gulag, and he would probably serve at most two-thirds of the sentence before release.

          1. Local G
            Stop

            Re: Holy Moly (Aspergers for Politicians)

            "Former South Dakota Gov. and Rep. Bill Janklow — who was convicted of manslaughter in a 2003 traffic accident and subsequently resigned from Congress — died Thursday. He was 72

            He served four terms as South Dakota’s governor and was elected to represent the state in Congress in 2002. Janklow resigned in 2004 after his conviction in the accident that killed a motorcyclist the year before.

            Janklow had sped through a stop sign after leaving an event in Aberdeen in 2003, killing motorcyclist Randy Scott. At his trial, Janklow’s defense attorney argued that he had hypoglycemia and was confused by his low blood sugar.

            The jury convicted the congressman of second-degree manslaughter and he resigned shortly after. He was sentenced to 100 days in jail."

            Give McKinnon 100 days. Period.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Holy Moly (Aspergers for Politicians)

              ".....who was convicted of manslaughter in a 2003 traffic accident..... What, you mean he didn't try the Kennedy defence and claimed he thought the motorcyclist had swum away? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident

              ".....Give McKinnon 100 days....." Well, if McKinnon would go to America and stand trial they might consider it come sentencing time.

              1. Local G
                Mushroom

                Re: Chappaquiddick

                Thanks for mentioning yet another egregious example of homicidal politicians murdering people with impunity like 18th century French aristocrats.

                I'm astonished that you want to see arrests, convictions and extraditions of poor citizens for doing what rich people and the nobility have been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years.

                This double system of justice you admire can't last much longer than a couple of years, so why not let your hair down now and start enjoying yourself before Russia drops its preemptive block buster on Redzikowo, Poland?

  44. Roger Mew

    Just a thought

    We are all to be extradited. Some are Jews all to Austria, some are females that object to having to bandage their heads, some are men, they have rejected the koran, some are politicians, they have denigrated Iran and its attitudes, some have just stated that the US is against their laws, shall I go on, are there any persons left.

    Last one out turn out the light!

  45. Local G
    Pirate

    An piece about future cyberattacks in today's Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-is-a-cyberattack-an-act-of-war/2012/10/26/02226232-1eb8-11e2-9746-908f727990d8_story_2.html

    If cyberattacks by hackers are to be expected in the future, why would England extradite a ship-o-the-line like McKinnon? How many years in an American jail would he languish? And would the American government make him a trustee if he hacks for them (and not his native land)?

    This decision means he can patriotically hack for England.

    Hip. Hip

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: An piece about future cyberattacks in today's Washington Post.

      ".....If cyberattacks by hackers are to be expected in the future, why would England extradite a ship-o-the-line like McKinnon?...." Because he's an imbalanced, suicidal liability, maybe? It would be like taking some drugged-up mugger and giving them the keys to the Trident launch room. In fact, I suspect only someone drugged-up could suggest such a stupid idea.

      1. Local G
        Go

        Re: Because he's an imbalanced, suicidal liability,

        The gold standard.

        If you ever have to hire computer people, especially hackers, that's who you want.

        (Accept no substitutes.)

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