back to article Lauri Love at risk of suicide if extradited to US, Brit court hears

Alleged hacker Lauri Love, of Stradishall, Suffolk, who is said to have hacked into a number of US government agencies' websites, is at risk of killing himself if British authorities allow him to be extradited to the US, a court heard yesterday. Westminster Magistrates' Court in London began to hear the extradition request …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's all relative

    Love's father, the Reverend Alexander Love, a Baptist minister

    Any relation to the large-handed Brother Lee Love?

    (I'm showing my age now)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. BillG

      Re: It's all relative

      Love's situation is comparable with that of Gary McKinnon, who in 2012, after a decade of legal battles, had his extradition to the US on hacking charges refused by the then-new Home Secretary, Theresa May, who said the risk of him committing suicide if extradited made the process incompatible with his human rights.

      So we now have a precedent for anyone willing to fight extradition.

      Assange™ - are you listening?

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: It's all relative

      "Any relation to the large-handed Brother Lee Love?"

      Didn't get the reference, but upvoted for the pun. :)

  2. ratfox

    I still don't understand why the British legal system cannot sentence hackers themselves. Surely the crime itself happened in UK. As a simple matter of jurisdiction, the prosecution should happen in UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the British legal system cannot sentence hackers themselves.

      It *can* - if it wants to.

      However, to do so would require 2 things that (I suspect) ain't ever gonna happen.

      1) The US would have to provide UK prosecutors with enough evidence to proceed

      2) The US would have to admit the UK had precedence over US courts in this matter.

      Neither of which follows the current "US law everywhere" mantra.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby


      The crime was committed against the US and the computers were in the US. That is where the crime took place even though he was sitting halfway around the world.

      Do you try the accused in a foreign country or in the country where the crime took place?

      So you extradite them.

      Guccifer was extradited to the US to plea bargain for his crimes and to cut a deal. He was then sent back to his home country where he faces jail time for other crimes.

      Bottom line if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Ratfox...

        So you extradite them.

        As we have all seen that extradition is only one way - country X to the US NEVER US to country X, for some very strange reason.

        1. Justin S.

          Lies, damned lies, and statistics

          @Ivan 4

          As we have all seen that extradition is only one way - country X to the US NEVER US to country X, for some very strange reason.

          According to a FOIA request to the Home Office in 2012, seven people were extradited from the US to the UK (and thirty-three from the UK to the US) from 2004 through 2011.

          As for the reason for the imbalance between countries, you may reach whatever conclusion you wish, but I will not presume to know without details of the specific circumstances around each extradition and, importantly, any rejected requests.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Ratfox...

          Have we all seen that?

          I haven't.

        3. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Ivan 4 Re: @Ratfox...

          First, I seriously doubt that you will see a lot of news about extraditions from the US unless the person was famous.

          I mean where's the news value of Joe Blow getting yanked to the UK over X and he's not fighting it?

          The other issue... why would Hacker X in the US go after your spies when he has a ripe target here in the US?

          Sorry, but when you're #1, you have a large target on your back.

        4. Curtis

          Re: @Ratfox...

          "As we have all seen that extradition is only one way - country X to the US NEVER US to country X, for some very strange reason."

          Because you never look.

          Andrija Artuković

          Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta

          Stein Bagger

          Gaston Bastiaens

          Bruce Beresford-Redman

          Hermine Braunsteiner

          Porter Charlton

          John Demjanjuk

          Gregory Despres

          Lahcen Ikassrien

          John Kirk (New Zealand politician)

          Alain Mesili

          Francisco Arce Montes

          Manuel Noriega

          Ruslan Odizhev

          Jayant Patel

          Francesco Pazienza

          Liam Quinn

          William Trickett Smith II

          Guillermo Suárez Mason

          Jean Succar Kuri

          Pierre Vallières

          Vo Duc Van

          Nai Yin Xue

          Hüseyin Yıldırı

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Ratfox...

        @"The crime was committed against the US"....

        *NO* crime was committed against the US, discussing something is not doing something. They are not alleging he DID it, they are alleging HE DISCUSSED doing it. But that means they can't actually link his boast to an actual crime because they're not saying he hacked server X at time Y, they're saying HE CLAIMED TO HAVE.

        "Making the case for extraditing Love, the Crown Prosecution Service's representative alleged that a confidential FBI informant with access to a restricted IRC channel had provided US authorities with chat logs in which a person going by handles including “nsh” had discussed accessing the government sites."

        "confidential FBI informant" is just a cover phrase used for Parallel Construction. The FBI didn't wait around for someone with access to an IRC channel to hand them logs of that channel FFS. Can you imagine how silly that would be "Oh I'm in charge of spying on these IRC channels where hackers are, I'll just wait around and hope someone logs a useful chat and leaks it to me!". Ridiculous.

        What it means it they had the IRC server under bulk surveillance, (presumably warrantless since they're claiming a confidential informant, rather than citing a proper warrant). So they logged all the IRC channels, had a look through, deciding this boast could be prosecuted as a crime, then faked a "confidential informant" who had handed them the info.

        They obviously didn't have a warrant, and would have struggled to get a warrant to spy on everyones IRC conversations without a crime to investigate. They obviously didn't wait around for some random informant to randomly contact a random FBI agent who happened to know which FBI agent was assigned to prosecuting it!

        "Bottom line if you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

        Bottom line, watch what you say, because warrantless mass surveillance of IRC channels means, if it can be used as a confession, even if you can't match a corresponding crime to it, then it will be used as a confession. e.g. "I took drugs when I was a teenager" is now the crime of "taking drugs" and not an idle boast of someone pretending to be hard.

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: @Ratfox...

          According to the indictment (see ) Lauri Love is charged with violating the CFAA (18 USC 1030) and with identity theft (18 USC 1028). The indictment states that he discussed this somewhat extensively in chat rooms, but that has nothing to do with the actual charges.

          The CFAA charge alleges that Love accessed one or more Federal Reserve Bank servers (using "sequel" injection) and copied out and publicly posted personal identifying information of FRB system users. The identity theft charge doesn't include informative detail, but refers back to the hacking charge, suggesting that the US Attorney thinks he can prove that Love, and possibly others, used the personal information taken for personal gain.

          While the CFAA is overbearing and has been abused, this charge seems fairly clearly within the scope of what its authors probably intended and what most people probably would think appropriate. The prosecutor still would have to prove the charges to a jury, and the utility of the chat room information would be useful only as supporting information for testimony, and excludeable if obtained without warrant.

    3. macjules

      Agree to an extent. The fact that he is being told that he faces 99 years in jail, millions of dollars in fines plus all the other nasty things that the FBI can promise him should be enough to make anyone seriously think of suicide, not just an Asperger's (politically correct = 'minor spectrum autism') sufferer.

      But perhaps he should not have allegedly boasted about it (“You have no idea how much we can fuck with the us government if we wanted to.”). That said, the vulnerability he exploited was something that had been raised a countless number of times before and most notably by Uber's Chris Gates - I don't see him being arrested now, do you?

      1. JustNiz

        Love: “You have no idea how much we can fuck with the us government if we wanted to.”

        US Gov: “You have no idea how much we can fuck with your whole life if we wanted to.”

  3. adam payne

    He should be tried by a jury of his peers in this country.

    1. Lotaresco

      Oh come on, a jury of his peers would all be glued to their computer screens and not know what was happening in court.

      1. adam payne


        Very cynical of you.

        Being on a jury is a serious business and I would like to think that these randomly selected people would do the job they have been given to do without bias.

        As a member of a jury you are not allowed to use computers or mobiles while in the court. Doing these things and other stupid things in court would get you held in contempt.

        Any juror not understanding what was happening would likely be dismissed.

    2. macjules


      What have people with chronic bladder problems got to do with it?

      1. adam payne

        Re: eH?

        A jury of peers is 12 randomly selected people and is the foundation of UK law.

        Anyone accused of a crime in the UK has the right to be tried in front of a jury of their peers.

  4. Lotaresco

    Love's father

    Was on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday talking about the case. He was arguing that it was unfair because the US won't allow US citizens to be extradited. I agree, since I'm outraged that US citizens have not been prosecuted for the Bhopal incident, Seveso or the 1998 cable car deaths caused by a US pilot in Cavalese, Italy. However one thing that Rev. Love said was odd "You wouldn't expect Germany to be able to extradite people from the UK." What about the European Arrest Warrant which permits exactly that?

    As to Lauri Love and other script kiddies. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

    1. AndyS

      Re: Love's father

      I heard his father too, seemed like a very reasonable man.

      My issue with "time, crime" etc is that there needs to be continual debate about what "time" is appropriate for what "crime," and that debate is necessarily always started after someone _has_ done the crime. Our and the US's understanding of what time is reasonable for what crime is often very, very far out of kilter, as is our and their sense of a "fair trial."

      So sending someone there for what is not much more than a minor misdemeanor worthy of a slap on the wrist, in the full knowledge of lack of real trial (via their "plea bargin" system) and the consequent hell that awaits them, is considered by most right-thinking people as unjust.

      Thus while it's possible to have very little sympathy with the individual at the centre of the discussion, it's still a valid and worthwhile discussion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Love's father

      There's doing time, and there's being psychologically tortured, in a country where the people (if you can call them that), believe the purpose of prison is pure revenge, and in high profile cases "making an example of".

      The US has political prisoners in permanent solitary confinement. They're not above using extream temperatures, or witholding food to torment prisoners. We're not talking a first-world country here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Love's father

        " a country where the people (if you can call them that),"

        Why, yes - you can call us that.

        And what should we call you?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Love's father

          And what should we call you?

          A whole variety of things. We've got them all. Just like everyone else.

    3. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re:US won't allow US citizens to be extradited

      Is that law, a policy, or prejudice ?

      I am pretty sure US citizens *have* been extradited when the correct procedures were followed and evidence was presented.

      1. Wommit

        Re: Re:US won't allow US citizens to be extradited

        And has the extradition treaty, under which the US is trying to extradite him, been ratified by the US Congress yet?

    4. NotBob

      Re: Love's father

      Not sure what you want out of Seveso, two upheld convictions of people who seem to have been there. Bhopal had several convictions, I assume your issue is with Warren, who was charged and convicted of manslaughter even though he didn't do anything at the site. Seems reasonable to take exception to such charges, but you can have your opinion, too.

      The cable car incident should have been prosecuted differently. Of course, calling it a massacre is quite a stretch in these parts, but mistakes were made and all that...

  5. Blipvert

    After Gary McKinnon...

    You would've thought that these fucks would have got the message by now?


    1. hplasm

      Re: After Gary McKinnon...

      Don't shout, you teat.

      1. NotBob

        Re: After Gary McKinnon...

        Yep. His mental state wasn't an issue until it could stand between him and the punishment for what he knew was wrong.

        Now? Ohmygoodness nooo!

        Suck it up, cupcake

    2. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: After Gary McKinnon...

      Does that include trolling?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The message as you still don't get it...

      If you can't do the time, don't get caught.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The message as you still don't get it...

        That's what government hackers do. They will be tip-toeing their way round US government systems 24x7 with impunity.

        So I guess someone has got to take the punishment, so it might as well be the aspbergers kid who gave them a free pen test.

        If they want to punish someone, then they should start with the guys responsible not locking the door.

  6. Bawsnia2

    Hangs head in apathy

    Sometimes I am ashamed to be part of the IT/Tech communities, and its not because of what Lauri Love or Gary McKinnon did. The US government should take a long hard look at themselves if they are the ones who want justice for acts of computer mis-use or the illegal acquiring of personal or private material. FML Keep watching gladiators, drinking Coca-Cola, commentards

    1. JustNiz

      Re: Hangs head in apathy

      Yeah but the people who make the rules decided a rule that the rules dont apply to them.

  7. Spanners Silver badge


    We just had a referendum where a major consideration to some was the, completely obsolete, concept of national sovereignty.

    As we have now pulled ourselves away from our neighbours, this must actually mean something to some people.

    The USA is a much bigger risk of impinging on our sovereignty without even noting it or giving a t*ss if they do realise it.

    The USA has a very different culture froim us. It is far more intolerant and their justice system considers itself to be a lesson for us all. It is a lesson for us, but perhaps not how they think.

    If he broke a law, he should be tried here. If he didn't do anything that we would jail him for, end of story. If he did not something we would punish him for, he gets punished here. That's where it should end.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Sovereignty

      You can't be extradited (anywhere AFAIK, though the European Arrest Warrant may be an exception, certainly not to the US) for a crime that would not have been a crime if committed in the UK. There seems little doubt (he's not denied it and though there still needs to be a trial, I imagine he'd plead guilty) that Love committed the acts of which he's accused and that they would be crimes if he'd done the same thing to computers in the UK.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he's white, so that works in his favour.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nooone ever seems to mention the ufo, ebe information that mckinnon was trying to uncover.

    the biggest story in the history of humanity and we always brush it under the carpet or ridicule, harass, prosecute those trying to investigate/uncover it.

    most reasonable people look up at the sky and realise the endless possibilities for life elsewhere yet cant handle the idea that some of that life (maybe even ourselves) may have arrived here.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who has Asperger's

    I'm fed up with this being trotted out as an excuse to be let off criminal activity. It is NOT an excuse. He knew perfectly well what he was doing and should face the consequences rather than giving a bad name to the rest of us with Asperger's who are law abiding citizens.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: As someone who has Asperger's

      It's not being used as an excuse for the crime, it's being used as part of the defense by suggesting it will make him vulnerable and prone to suicide.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The US have no qualms about hacking absolutely everybody else on the plant. Don't see why it's a crime when the positions are reversed.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't want to live on this plant any more. ;)

        Come and give our plant a try then: Legal in Colorado.

  12. Dr_N


    The accused to bring this up as an issue of sovereignty of the UK courts & justice system.

    People will flock to his cause!

  13. John Lilburne

    Perhaps parents should monitor ...

    ... what their kids are doing online. After all if some kid was breaking into garages to find UFOs, Pixies, or the Illuminatii they'd be down the magistrates court double quick.

    1. Wommit

      Re: Perhaps parents should monitor ...

      Do you 'monitor' a 28 year old 'kid'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps parents should monitor ...

        If they're suffering from mental illness ... yes?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Why the UK can't extradite but the USA can?

    It's an interesting idea in principle, the notion of extradition equality between ourselves and the US.

    But this will never ever happen as it would firstly require the abolition of the special "Poodle / Master" relationship that we have enjoyed (I mean endured) all these years.

  15. ma1010

    And this is why computer crime pays so very, very well

    This situation in the world today is somewhat analogous to what happened in the United States in the late 20's and 30's with crime. At that time, law enforcement was pretty much purely local and, at most, throughout a state. So a criminal with those new-fangled "automobiles" could commit a crime in one jurisdiction and then flee to another, particularly across a state line, and pretty much not have to worry about apprehension. The answer in the U.S. was increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies, including forming inter-agency and interstate task forces and the creation of an effective federal "police," the FBI, which had jurisdiction in all states.

    Internet abuse is analogous to this because a criminal in one country can perpetrate crimes in another without even leaving his home, much less his country. Perhaps the answer would be for some sort of worldwide treaty to create an international computer criminal code and international police agency to investigate computer crime? This could include the creation of an international court for computer criminals. Anyone convicted of computer crime could be jailed in their own country as ordered by the court, so extradition would never be an issue, regardless of where the crime happened or the criminal resides.

    Whether that's the right answer or not, I'm not sure, but certainly the way we do things nowadays is broken. It's difficult and expensive to extradite criminals, as is so evident in this particular case (regardless of whether you think he should be extradited or not). Since it's so difficult to bring international computer criminals down, most even half-smart computer criminals can ply their trade without fear as long as they don't piss off the local plod. (Consider the recent finds of malware that check to see what country a computer is in, and if located in, for example, Ukraine, Belarus or Russia, do nothing.)

    As long as the current situation continues, computer crime will continue to be a major growth industry that plagues us all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And this is why computer crime pays so very, very well

      An international agreement isn't going to be possible at this time, because the Americans will want to extradite everyone for pirating a DVD.

  16. Cynic_999

    Several reasons why I do not want him extradited

    1) IMO it is in principle wrong to extradite anyone to a government that routinely uses torture and kidnaps suspects from other countries for indefinite incarceration in a concentration camp without trial or even evidence of guilt.

    2) The US government unethically (and possibly illegally) monitors our private communications by deliberately interfering with computer & communications systems (in fact that's how he was caught), and so it's a bit rich to complain when someone does similar to them.

    3) IIUC in this case there is no evidence that he ever committed a crime, only evidence that he boasted that he had done so. It should require far more evidence than something that may well be just a fantasy.

    4) It is IMO wrong to subject a person who has been raised and lived their entire life in one culture to punishment by a regime that has completely different standards of punishment.

  17. martinusher Silver badge

    Don't Play with the US Justice System -- keep away and keep safe.

    This fellow, like McKinnon, will not be able to get a fair trail in the US. We have a well developed legal system but the power, especially power in the Federal courts, is so weighted against individuals that you're basically screwed unless you've got a large amount of money for a defense. In this case the government's case will be weak, its mostly unprovable 'confidential information' (what used to be called 'hearsay' in the old days), so what they will do is pile up a mountain of charges and intimidate him into taking a plea deal. Standard Operating Procedure.

    Yes, he was stupid to go playing with US government systems. I figure he knows that now.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Don't Play with the US Justice System -- keep away and keep safe.

      The indictment charges that Love gained unauthorized access to one or more Federal Reserve Bank servers, copied information from them, and published it. It also charges that Love used that information in a way that constitutes identity theft. An indictments describes what is charged, not the evidence to be used to prove the charge in court. It is entirely reasonable to think the US Attorney has evidence gained from Federal Reserve Bank systems in addition to information to be provided by testimony of informants, whether confidential or not. And whatever the evidence might be, if the case goes to trial it must be adequate to convince all jurors.

      Plea bargains are useful in resolving cases where the evidence is good enough that the risk of a conviction is substantial, and prosecutors certainly have overcharged to get accused to bargain down to conviction for a lower offense, but where the evidence is weak and the offense is not one likely to sway a jury, a jury trial is a good option. And where it would be difficult to get a relatively neutral jury (as, for instance, in the recent Baltimore police prosecutions) an accused has the option of a bench trial.

  18. Baldy50

    Aarons suicide

    I think this had a lot to do with his alleged offences,IMO.

    Didn't find this here, is it? Don't know, something else to read if you haven’t already.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like