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Should UK hacker be extradited?

UK hacker Gary McKinnon could face up to 70 years in prison after losing his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to the United States. What is your reaction?

US authorities want to try the 43-year-old, from London, for breaking into US military and Nasa computers in 2001 and 2002 and say his actions caused damage costing $800,000 (£500,000).

Mr McKinnon admits hacking, but denies it was malicious and asked the court to decide whether he could not be prosecuted in the UK, and whether his Asperger's Syndrome meant he could not be extradited.

Do you agree with the ruling? Or should Mr McKinnon’s Asperger’s Syndrome prevent his extradition? Where should he be tried? Is the extradition treaty between the US and UK fair?

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Published: Friday, 31 July, 2009, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK

Mr Mckinnon should not be extradited.I have a son with AS and their world is totally different to ours.I believe that just like my son,Mr Mckinnon would see his actions as just finding out about stuff he is interested in, and it wouldn't even cross his mind that it might be wrong.This is a major news event, and normally would be worried about security, but as i know 'first hand' exactly how an AS sufferer thinks i would say that Mr Mckinnon needs to be on trial in the UK.

michelle murphy

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK

Mr Mckinnon should not be extradited.I have a son with AS and their world is totally different to ours.I believe that just like my son,Mr Mckinnon would see his actions as just finding out about stuff he is interested in, and it wouldn't even cross his mind that it might be wrong.This is a major news event, and normally would be worried about security, but as i know 'first hand' exactly how an AS sufferer thinks i would say that Mr Mckinnon needs to be on trial in the UK.

michelle murphy

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK

Alan Johnson says it would be against the law to block McKinnon's extradition. Johnson is part of the government of the UK who I thought set the laws in the UK or do we have to have our laws vetted by the US in case they want to object? Is the UK independent or another US state? No more extradition to the US until the deal reciprocal.

E Foster, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK

I would like to know what defence Mr McKinnon and his family used before his diagnosis of asperger's syndrome, because it seems to be the only thing that's mentioned in defence at the moment. It seems to be the most popular word to come out of his mother's mouth (pronounced incorrectly, I might add), and yet they've only had the diagnosis for just under a year.

Rhea D, South West, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK

And 70 years in prison? I think they're being a bit too harsh!
Michael McGuigan, Belfast, United Kingdom


Tha'ts a theoretical upper limit of punishment for breaking the law in question.

In reality I know of no case, where US prosecutor would demand more than 1/10th of that (7 years).

And on top of that any prisoner is elligible for parole for good behaviour after serving half of his/her sentence.

That's why you sometimes see in U.S. sentences of 100/200 yrs being pronounced.

Mirek Kondracki

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK

Why do some people think that Mckinnon did a favor for the U.S.? It makes as much sense as hooligan helping home owners by breaking into an unlocked house due to it residing in a relatively safe neighborhood, while scribing on the walls and breaking a few things.

Anon, Vancouver

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK

Simply YES
Was this a one off situation?. Simply NO.

The computer he was alledgedly hacking into was within the USA security system. Not one attempt, but numerous occasions.

The internet is there for our own use, to use supposedly sensibly.
More people like this should be prosecuted as they clearly know what they are doing.

However, politically I cannot see our government sending back a UK person to some quarters of this earth. Politics are paying a large part in this case.

LH, North Yorkshire

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK

He didn't damage their computer systems, he pointed out a LOT of faults with it.
And no this isn't a good thing but is it really worth 70 years in prison?
I could kill somone and spend less time than that locked away.

Scott, London

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK

All the evidence for the case is in the U.S. Are they going to ship the 1000s of computer and the networks to the U.K. if he's tried there?

anon
Totally ridiculous comment. So, are they going to ship 1000’s of computers from all over the US to the court room in the US? They will gather evidence prior to the court case and present it to the court room. They can do that either in the UK or the US.

Tony Caban, Hayling Island, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK

I have reconsidered this somewhat. Although this man did break the law, throwing 20 years in a US prison at a guy with Asberger's is actually pretty horrible. He will have to spend most of it in solitary as he will never survive general population and is a high suicide risk. Serving a more appropriate sentance in Britain, where the crime was actually committed, would be fairer. Unfortunately the US isn't a very fair place.

Alice W, Bristol, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK

What appears to upset most UK citizens is the apparent differential twixt the US and the UK terms of extradition. It would seem that the difference in terms are directly proportional to the size of the country. As reported, the US can extradite UK citizens with no evidence of fault, whereas the reverse is not so.

Jack Phillips, Colchester

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK

The politicians say that they shouldn't be involved in the Justice System, yet when it came to Ronnie Biggs it was the Home Secretary's decision to keep him in prison. Is it me or do the politicians deliberately go for the wrong side. No politician wants to stick their head out for Gary for the sake of keeping their jobs.

Andrew, Bristol

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK

His conditon should not be used as an excuse,even these people can be taught to understand what is acceptable & what is not.
He could have caused worldwide conflagration,he need's to be made to understand the possible repercussions of his actions.
The Law is the Law,& must have it's way,otherwise what's the point of having law & order.
And never let him near the internet again.

Rod Dublin, Aldershot, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK

No, he shouldn't. But when did this goverment ever show proper regard for decency, or for that matter the law?

[RadioRogerL], Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom


You did hit the point: Guess the real pro crackers (almost impossible catch them) laughing their guts out now on the undernet. Gary has been turned into a sacrificial lamb and an IT martyr by their insufficient justice systems.
What next? USA will become the largest earths´ prison. Unemployment resolved and we get the brains! Looool

Rasputin

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Added: Monday, 3 August, 2009, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK

There are thousands of highly trained computer professionals in the U.S. who are employed specifically to search for vulnerabilities. Why would we hire a criminal who hacked a computing system based on software and hardware that is now obsolete?
qwerty

Where were these professionals when Gary was busy hacking into US government systems?

Tony Caban, Hayling Island, United Kingdom

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