Biggest Hacker Seeks Justice against Extradition

A British citizen facing expulsion to the U.S. for allegedly conducting the "biggest military computer hack ever" has appealed to the High Court to seek justice against his removal.

Gary McKinnon, resident of London faces charges of erasing data and unlawfully accessing information on U.S. military and NASA computer dating to 1997. He carried out the operation between February 2001 and March 2002. McKinnon encounters charges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

U.K. Home Secretary, John Reid granted permission to U.S. to extradite him for undergoing court trial in that country, but lawyers placed arguments that McKinnon was facing "improper threats" that impinged on his human rights.

Edmund Lawson, QC pointed out to two judges at the London High Court that if expelled, McKinnon would face an indeterminate time period in pre-trial detention, with little possibility of bail.

While British authorities would not allow McKinnon's prosecution, the United States wanted to extradite him. McKinnon opposed the extradition order and sought justice on Bow Street Magistrates Court in May last year. His attorney fought on the point that as U.S. authorities accuse McKinnon for disrupting vital military networks, post September 11, 2006, they could label him an enemy and impose inhuman treatment on him.

McKinnon's supporters claimed that he was being turned to 'scapegoat' for the failings of the U.S. military networks' security policies.

The judge dismissed the argument and John Reid subsequently ordered for extradition. The hearing for appeal will resume on February 14, 2007 in London High Court.

U.S. authorities blame McKinnon for deleting files from computers at the U.S. Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, resulting in the shutdown of 300 PCs.

McKinnon admitted to hacking but argued he never harmed the targeted computers and only researched on UFOs. He applied a software called "RmotelyAnywhere" to gain command of other computers by accessing administrator accounts and passwords, as per British court documents.

McKinnon was arrested in November 2002. But he kept on asserting that it was mere curiosity that motivated him and that he was successful in accessing the networks because of insufficient security.

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» SPAMfighter News - 22-02-2007

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