UK hacker faces extradition

29 Aug 2008

Authorities in the US and the UK are continuing to show the world how seriously they take computer hacking.

After two years of hearings and appeals, UK hacker Garry McKinnon is now facing extradition to the US, facing charges of perpetrating the “biggest military computer hack of all time”.

McKinnon claimed he was just a computer nerd who wanted to find out whether aliens really existed and became obsessed with trawling large military networks for proof.

His lawyers hoped his recent diagnosis with Asberger’s Syndrome would get him off the hook.

McKinnon could face up to 70 years in jail if convicted. He is accused of illegally accessing computers, including the Pentagon, US army, navy and NASA systems, and of causing US$700,000 worth of damage.

Following legal hearings in the UK, it was decided in 2006 McKinnon, also known as Solo, should be extradited to the US.

His lawyers’ appeal was turned down and he was given two weeks to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but this was also rejected.

By Sorcha Corcoran