8th December 2006
Gary McKinnon expects that his appeal against extradition to the US
could be heard in a matter of weeks. McKinnon told weekly technology law
podcast OUT-LAW Radio that he expected his appeal to be heard in
December or January.
McKinnon is the hacker who broke into the US military and NASA computer
systems in 2001 and 2002, where he claims he saw evidence of alien life.
McKinnon broke into the systems using just a dial up connection and
"I should get my appeal pretty soon, I should think it will be this
month or next month," McKinnon said, noting that the person in front of
him in the pipeline for extradition cases has just lost his appeal.
Should McKinnon lose his appeal the only thing that could stop him being
deported would be the granting of permission to appeal to the House of
Lords. He says that the case of the last people to request that, the
NatWest Three, does not fill him with confidence.
"If I don't win the appeal then I can apply for leave to appeal to the
House of Lords but that is not an automatic right," he said. "The
NatWest Three applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords and were
refused and everyone was gobsmacked because they are hardly petty
criminals, it was a big important case."
McKinnon has admitted the offences of which he is accused and says he
would happily stand trial in the UK, the country in which he says the
crimes were committed. He objects, though, to what he sees as the
politically-motivated attempts to extradite him, and the UK Government's
compliance with the US process.
While he was told he would face community service for the crimes in the
UK because he did not appear to have caused damage, the US is claiming
that he caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage. The prosecutor
there has said he could face 70 years in jail and McKinnon's lawyers
have even said he could end up at prison camp Guantanamo Bay.
McKinnon has always maintained that his breaking into the computer
systems was not only benign, given that he was searching for alien life
and not military secrets, but also that it was easy.
His opinion of US government security has not changed. "Every year they
appraise federal and military installation security and every year it
gets worse and worse," he said. "It's not the leading concern, profit is
the motive and continuing operation is the motive. Safety and security
always come last because they are the highest cost outlay."
Copyright 2006, OUT-LAW.com
OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
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