Extradition appeal due in weeks, says McKinnon

Extradition appeal due in weeks, says McKinnon
Extradition appeal due in weeks, says McKinnon 

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 
default passwords.

"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,

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