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'UK Hackers' Condemn McKinnon? 214

Posted by Zonk
from the got-what-he-deserved dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Whitedust has some interesting commentary on this BBC article which claims that 'UK hackers' have condemned Gary Mckinnon's trial. From the article: 'Another example of some truly awful and misinformed mainstream tech reporting here. The article claims that UK hackers are almost all in support of Mr Mckinnon when in truth as we all know the entire tech community has agreed that Mr Mckinnon is not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker.'"
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'UK Hackers' Condemn McKinnon?

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:22AM (#15293373)

    Agreed, Gary is an idiot. His moonbat UFO-tech stories notwithstanding, anyone who breaks into systems by exploiting blank administrator passwords really isn't much of a 'hacker', and anyone who says they managed to get a UFO picture, but didn't save a screen dump is either a moron or a liar.

    All that said, 70 years? Incarcerating Gary for what amounts to a life sentence for his harmless sightseeing is more than too harsh...it makes him a martyr to hackerdom...a martyr that actual hackers would much rather not be associated with.

    Instead, how about some action against the clueless sysadmins who left vital Army, Navy, Air Force, and DoD systems vulnerable to such a sophomoric and elementary 'attack' by not passwording administrator-level accounts? If I ever failed to protect my network against such an intrusion, I'd be cleaning out my desk at the end of the day.

    Mark deserves to be punished, but extradition to the U.S., 70 years in prison, and millions of dollars in fines is just plain overboard. The U.S. would much better serve its interests by studiously ignoring Gary and letting the UK authorities deal with him.

    Of course, if the U.S. is just looking for another 'terrorist' to keep the public's fear level at fever pitch, I suppose the uber-hacker Gary McKinnon will do nicely.
    • ...but extradition to the U.S., 70 years in prison, and millions of dollars in fines is just plain overboard. This is just supposed to "make an example". 70 years in prison makes a great headline to go with this cracked-out story. "If we get caught, we're not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison."
    • That 70 years figure seems, at least to me, to be a little higher then what he'd actually get, I think. Quoting such a figure might just be to get him to cop a plea, for a lower sentence, thus saving the expense of a trial, and freeing up the dock for more important cases.

      However, considering his previous behavior, he'll probably plead not-guilty, and insist on defending himself, rather then hiring an attorney, or using a court assigned one.

    • by Unski (821437) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:55AM (#15293667) Journal
      Mark deserves to be punished, but extradition to the U.S., 70 years in prison, and millions of dollars in fines is just plain overboard. The U.S. would much better serve its interests by studiously ignoring Gary and letting the UK authorities deal with him.
      Why do you stop there? This what is fishy to me - that he is looking at a horrendously disproportionate sentence in relation to his crimes. It only remains to be effectively discussed as to why he is looking at such a stupid sentence.

      It's so easy to rattle off some dismissive diatribe on /., saying he is a nutjob etc., but why the hell are they looking at giving him such a fisting? And as for his credibility amongst the UK hacker community, who the hell are Whitedust to be able to speak for them? There has been so much momentum in the direction of explaining away his allegations, and so little critical analysis of what he says. Most of the analyses I have read basically start from the point of view that he is mad and deluded, no-one is supposing 'what if he is right..?'. There were easily about 20 naysayers who jumped on his explanation for not being able to grab a screenshot - a narrowly technical aspect to his allegations - but I believe him as I believe he would not have had time to grab one. I also believe he has got out of his depth, and has seen too much. I say it again: 70 years? Something is not right.
      • It all depends on how you add things up. Is 5 years too much of a sentence for breaking into gov/mil computer systems? Then if he's being tried for 14 separate violations, that could add up to 70 years if convicted on all counts. Even then, the judge could sentence him to the maximum 5 years for all convictions, but say all terms to be served concurrently (meaning only 5 years max). OTOH, nobody seems to note what the minimum sentence could be. Is it possible he could be found guilty and serve no prison tim
        • by Unski (821437)
          Yeah I would not disagree with what you suggest there - that it could be served serially or concurrently and that the minimum is not being reported. I thank you for that much, but the main thrust of my post is that (should they choose to make him serve it) seventy years is still a suspiciously disproportional sentence and only adds fuel to the fire. It bugs me, it makes me believe him more than a casually dismissive sentence would. What did he see? Why do they want to gag him so bad? Very few, if any, hacke
          • It bugs me, it makes me believe him more than a casually dismissive sentence would. What did he see? Why do they want to gag him so bad?

            OTOH it is the way the legal system works -he gets charged with everything they think they may have enough evidence to convict on. That not only "covers all the bases", but it makes it easier to get a confession for lesser charges which may seem more in-line with the crimes (and also makes for bigger headlines). So I'm not sure you can really infer any kind of ulterior mot
          • /*[suppressed technology]... anti-gravity technology and so-called 'Free Energy' technology. I wager that most people would not go around saying such things unless they were convinced they had seen such things. */

            Actually, there are a lot of people that would say things like this without ever actually seeing it. I'd refer you to Pons and Fleischmann of the Cold Fusion fiasco for example. Maybe at first they thought they had something, but eventually, they had to know that they were mistaken. Neither o
            • by Unski (821437)
              But, I put it to any sceptic - do you have any evidence he didn't see any of that? Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence. You have merely your faith in the laws of thermodynamics - I'm sorry, I am a geek, I love science, I love technology and I believe in the empirical method, but ultimately physics and it's laws are all works in progress, subject to validation and dismissal at any point. Going further, though it works as a system for us to make sense of the world, science is just another belief sy
              • /* But, I put it to any sceptic - do you have any evidence he didn't see any of that */

                No, I have not. But then again, I have no evidence that you are not a 4' tall green lion from the planet ipthar typing telepathically to /. However, until I've seen documentation of 4' tall green lions from the planet ipthar *with* telepathy, I am just going to assume that you are a human using some sort of input device like everyone else.

                /* ultimately physics and it's laws are all works in progress, subject to vali
              • "I'm sorry, I am a geek, I love science, I love technology and I believe in the empirical method"

                No, the rest of your post indicates you do not. You're a "truth is out there", "I want to believe" kind of guy pretending to be rational - just like McKinnon.
            • I take it you haven't read up on the Pons and Fleichmann "fiasco" lately have you? Not only has it been re-reviewed, but funding for research, although limited, has been approved by the DOE based on the second review's results. The cold fusion reigns have been taken over by others in their place, since they were so utterly shunned, and ridiculed by the scientific establishment. Now the question is not whether or not excess heat has been generated. But whether or not it's a product of fusion, and whether or
          • I'm a British citizen and I say extradite him. I don't see why my tax money should be wasted on trying this nutjob when the Americans are willing to do it at their expense. He dug his own grave, he can't expect us to dig him out of it.
      • Why do you stop there? This what is fishy to me - that he is looking at a horrendously disproportionate sentence in relation to his crimes. It only remains to be effectively discussed as to why he is looking at such a stupid sentence.

        Becuase he messed with .mil. They are sending a strong message.
    • >harmless sightseeing

      Not harmless, given the cost of ensuring that a compromised system is free of root kits, logic bombs, sniffers, key loggers, defacements, deletions, and subtle but interesting edits to documents(*). Add the cost of handling it to preserve evidence plus analyzing and tracing the attack. If these had been commercial instead of government systems you'd also need to add the cost of downtime.

      (*) Yes, yes, of course I know. But if the system's been infected long enough then the backups are
      • Not harmless, given the cost of ensuring that a compromised system is free of root kits, logic bombs, sniffers, key loggers, defacements, deletions, and subtle but interesting edits to documents(*). Add the cost of handling it to preserve evidence plus analyzing and tracing the attack. If these had been commercial instead of government systems you'd also need to add the cost of downtime.

        It is indeed a lot more expensive then setting a real password for the administrator accounts, yeah..

        What Garry did was in
    • If you want to know about hacking, read "Underground" (underground-book.com) for a peek into some 'venerable' old-school hackers.

      Some of these blokes were actually stealing, but even the ones who were 'merely sight-seeing' got pretty harsh sentences. Part of the reason is that, since it cannot be allowed (because one has to draw a line; spying and sight-seeing are indistinguishable and cannot be left to the morals of the perpetrator), it must be policed, and this kind of activity takes insane amounts of po
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...as we all know the entire tech community has agreed that Mr Mckinnon is not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker.
    Oh, Gary's gonna be pissed when he sees that. No free energy [wikipedia.org] for you!
  • What?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheapy (809643) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:24AM (#15293386)
    Whoa there. They aren't condemning him. They are condemning the trial. Last time I checked, those were entirely different things. He got lazy towards the end, but how lazy was the US Military to not notice it for two years?

    That really makes you think about how long someone who really has hostile intents could stay undetected.
    • Re:What?! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The_REAL_DZA (731082)

      That really makes you think about how long someone who really has hostile intents could stay undetected.

      Answer: Pretty much as long as they wanted to.

      Remember all those Mission: Impossible episodes (the "good" T.V. ones, not the "so-so" Cruise-missiles they've been releasing the last few years...)? You remember how at the end their "target" always had that "wtf just happened?!?!" look on his face? Same story, different era (and the tape may or may not self-destruct in five seconds...)

  • The article claims that UK hackers are almost all in support of Mr Mckinnon when in truth as we all know the entire tech community has agreed that Mr Mckinnon is not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker.

    Perhaps whitedust should consider that the hacking community can think Mr Mckinnon is "not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker," but at the same time also support Mr Mckinnon as he is being extradited to the US for committing a crime in Britain.

    Would US hackers support the extradition of another hacker being extradited to France for hacking a french military network? I suspect not - no matter how stupid & obnoxious the hacker's behaviour was.
    • by Tweekster (949766) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:33AM (#15293453)
      Um actually extradition exists for a reason. And he didnt commit his crime in britian, he commited it in Britian AND the United States. That is the downfall of technology. All this talk of no borders and you can't limit it etc, well guess what, it works both ways.
      • Um actually extradition exists for a reason.

        Yes, so that criminal who commit a crime in a country, then flee to another country can be returned to the country they committed the crime in.

        And he didnt commit his crime in britian, he commited it in Britian AND the United States.

        No he was in Britain when the crime was committed. The crime occurred in both countries. Perhaps I did not sufficiently distinguish between the subject & object of my original sentence.

        That is the downfall of technology. All this
        • No he was in Britain when the crime was committed. The crime occurred in both countries.

          Negative. Jurisdictions do not overlap. If the same crime was comitted in two jurisdictions, then you open the way for double jeopardy extraordinare.

          McKinnon was in the UK as he knowingly broke US law, just as say, USians are in say, the US, as they knowingly break Saudi law when they critisise the House of Saud.

          Here's the bottom line in this paticular case. US considers itself the priemiere country in the world. US law
      • "All this talk of no borders and you can't limit it etc, well guess what, it works both ways." That's bullshit. Americans don't extradite their citizens to the UK. There are countless numbers of IRA people in the US that the UK would want. It just so happens that we in the UK have weak and perhaps corrupt politicians that allow the one-way intimidation of the US administration to fall on individual British citizens. What a big shame. It annoys the heck out of me that some UK politicians it seems care more a
        • Actually if the UK pushed the issue they would have been extradited.

          Basically, no one wants to do more work than is necessary. if the UK just goes "hey can you send those guys back" the US will be like "No, too much effort"

          If it was a real issue and the UK made it clear with diplomacy it was important and with legal filings, they would have been sent back a long time ago.

          This issue was apparently important enough (I dont tend to agree but my opinion isnt national policy so whatever). The pressure was brou
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:39AM (#15293505) Homepage Journal
      "Mr Mckinnon as he is being extradited to the US for committing a crime in Britain"
      He broke into a computer in the US. So what the crime committed in the US or Britain? Having "Hackers" come to your defence is a little like the mob coming to your defence. I really hate that use of the term Hacker. I still think of Hackers as being good programmers and not script kiddies.
      That being said I see no real reason for him to serve 70+years. I do think that he should go on trial here in the US but he should get a suspended sentence and possibly some medical help. I really doubt they will throw the book at this poor soul.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:02PM (#15293712) Journal
      extradited to the US for committing a crime in Britain.
      International law is funny that way. The U.S. does not have a reciprocal agreement to extradite people to the UK.

      http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/60523-print.sh tml [theherald.co.uk]

      Apparently the Scots don't like the terms of the 'new' treaty. Kudos to them.
      Here's the meat of the article
      Britain's controversial extradition treaty with the US faces a challenge from Holyrood over whether it can be applied in Scottish courts.

      MSPs are understood to have agreed in private to lobby Whitehall over the deal with Washington under which British people can be incarcerated while awaiting trial in America, despite no evidence being presented against them.

      [2 paragraphs]

      The treaty was agreed by Britain three years ago to avoid long delays in bringing terrorism suspects to trial. All that is required to remove a suspect from Britain is a warrant from a US court, without any evidence being required. However Congress has stalled its reciprocal part of the treaty because legislators there fear it does not give adequate protection to US citizens extradited to the UK.

      Liberty, the [UK human rights &] civil liberties campaigning group, complains that the law is being used for non-terrorist charges, that those involved face jail on remand because they have no residence when they arrive in the US, and that the preparation of cases can take months

      Emphasis mine.
      What were the Brits thinking to agree to such a treaty? Their Gov't failed in its fundamental duty to protect its citizens & provide due process.
    • Would US hackers support the extradition of another hacker being extradited to France for hacking a french military network? I suspect not - no matter how stupid & obnoxious the hacker's behaviour was.

      I don't know that I qualify for any given definition of "hacker", but I would have no issues with extradition in that case.
  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:26AM (#15293398) Homepage Journal
    if anyone's going to know about talent attention seekers, its Whitedust Security, the people who published the array of conjecture, guesswork, faux outrage and outright wrongitude that was : "Walmarts Wikipedia War"
    • Amen. Whitedust seems to think that public opinion == "The Truth" and refuses to do any actual investigation into the matter. I've lost any and all respect I had for their shameful attempts at journalism.

      Mod parent up.
  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:31AM (#15293443) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this guy is like Larry David, you know, always ending up in weird situations, like being able to get into NASA's servers but not able to save anything. There is the possibility that he made up the story about how his screenviewer works and can't save pictures to save face. Or to prevent him from really getting nabbed by the authorities. I would think that if the U.S. government really suspected that he saw something as important as evidence that aliens exist, that we wouldn't even know this guy existed.

    This guy gets the same kind of attention when someone names their baby Google.
    • And I've already spoken [slashdot.org] about this. Believe it.
    • I would think that if the U.S. government really suspected that he saw something as important as evidence that aliens exist, that we wouldn't even know this guy existed.

      There are no 'leaks,' there are strategic conspiracy covers that reveal parts of the truth enough that the public discounts it as conspiracy theory fluff. Think about it. Bvarian Illuminnati trying to take over the world? Laughable. Aliens in flying saucers? A joke. You really saw something? We've heard it before.

      Keeping a se

  • McKinnon himself has admitted his "hacks" are low tech and utilitarian - a 2-line PERL script. Considering the lack of technical prowess of his intrusion methods, why should hackers take the side of the government on this one? Hackers are in favour of freedom of information over technological ability. I think the hacker community will remain in support of McKinnon because of his (claimed) motivation - curiosity and publicising of government secrets. In this respect I don't think this case is much differ
    • Do you have any idea just how much you can do with 2 lines of PERL?
      • How much *I* can do? Sure! I can print "Hello World" to the screen!

        Howeever, McKinnon said in the BBC article that he just used a simple script to test blank and common passwords on a series of IPs and host names. Even I could do that, and since it succeeded that's not saying much about US military and government security practices.

    • To you it's a 2 line PERL script. To a true monk it's a multi-system automated intrusion system capable of deploying rootkits and coordinating attacks through an IRC bot network.

      Don't underestimate the power of PERL.

      Back on topic, another poster summed it up well:
      - he's an idiot
      - he should be tried in a UK court

      70 years in prison in a country he never visited to perform his alleged crime? That's not proportionate.
      • by AceCaseOR (594637) <alexander...case@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:47AM (#15293583) Homepage Journal
        I've thought about this some, and actually, perhaps it's a better idea to bring him to the US for trial, even if he doesn't get a 70 year sentence, because it establishes a precident, which could possibly be extended to, say, Russian Spam Kings, Nigerian E-Mail scammers, or any other person or group which is engaging in more serious computer crime against the US and lives in a country we have an extradition treaty with (or could get with) and has weak computer crime laws.
        • or the RIAA could lobby for the extradition of people responsible for thepiratebay, China could lobby for the extradition of international citizens helping Chinese citizens break censorship laws China has put in place, etc. etc.

          ----

          Of course, this extradition is only happening because Great Britain and the United States both regard hacking into a military computer system to be a crime, but if it's not a crime in Russia, Nigeria, or even Great Britain, it's unlikely anyone's going to be extradited to the US.
        • So that people the world over are subject to US law? So that people excercising their civil rights in their home countries can be dragged off to the US, be given a fair trial and hanged, because they offended the moral sensiblities of the mighty nation of manifest-destians? Like Dmitry Sklyarov, who was held accountable for simply excercising his rights in his own home country?

          I for one would rather not be dragged off to the US to be judged and condenmed for excercising my rights in my home nation. Over here, people can drink after they're 18. Should they be dragged off for infringements of the oh so higher and purer US statutes on alcohol consumption?

          You might consider that trollish, but it just amazes me how arrogant some americans can be in their attitudes towards other countries and their judicial systems, paticularly in these days of Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Your country is not exactly a shining example of enlighted jurisprudence.
        • No, he is not a spam king or a scammer, he is just a punk that was playing and embarresed some big guys. Russia and Nigeria would not even consider sending a punk like this to the US. I say forget him and charge the guys that are payed to secure those computer systems with fraud as they were taking the money and not doing their job.

          The Spam kings work at what they do and are real criminals, as are the Nigerians. This guy did not even have to work at this. If someone looks at a football game through a ho
  • Idiot (Score:5, Informative)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:33AM (#15293450) Homepage Journal
    The article claims that UK hackers are almost all in support of Mr Mckinnon
    No it doesn't. It says that some of them who knew him personally are in support of him. It quotes them, too.

    The only stupid generalisations are in Whitedust's articles.
    • Re:Idiot (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually... the bbc article DID say that earlier this morning. They seem to have changed their mind since that Whitedust posting has done the rounds in some of the underground sites (addict3d.org et all). You gotta remember people; THIS IS THE WEB MEDIA IS CHANGABLE!
  • From the original Whitedust article on McKinnon [whitedust.net]: Free Gary? Please God Don't.

    It would seem Gary "Uber Hacker" McKinnon is not so "Uber" after all. After reading his interview on Spy.org.uk it has come to our attention that his technical knowledge and indeed, mental state, is not all that it should be.

    I seem to remember that he was afraid they were going to ship him to Guantanamo Bay [slashdot.org]. But perhaps he'd be better off in a Starfleet detention cell, or maybe aboard the Death Star. The guy is a certifiable kook; the only thing he has to fear is a fair trial where he gets on the stand, rants about the hidden UFO technology (which is doing a wonderful job for us in Iraq among other places) we possess, and the jury figures out that he is a kook and send him away.

    Much as I tend to think of hackers as low-lifes for the most part, those that use their abilities indescriminately anyway, I don't think even they should be subjected to this guy's company.

    • I think the U.S. might be a little more careful with this one. On the one hand they are saying he was smart enough to break into their computer systems and on the other hand saying that what he found there doesn't exist?

      I must admit that I to found it strange that he didn't take a screenshot and that he was caught after two years just as he found the information he was looking for. I also found it strange that the day after I heard about this on "Click", there was a news release of, "UFO study finds no si

  • More info (Score:2, Informative)

    by exosyst (887386)
    The BBC also have a nice profile on Gary at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4715612.stm [bbc.co.uk] It appears he was using some kind of Remote desktop system for the remote control and for the most part he seems to have just pinged and attempted access using a perl script! Not exactly the "ultimate hacker" that the US and the media seem to be inferring.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:33AM (#15293457)
    The punishment he faces, up to 70 years in jail, was also too harsh a sentence for the crimes he has confessed to.

    Kevin Mitnick did similar things and they went after him too. From Kevin's [wikipedia.org] Wiki entry: "Littman made allegations of journalistic impropriety against Markoff, of overzealous prosecution of Mitnick by the government, of mainstream media over-hyping of Mitnick's actual crimes, and of the legality of Shimomura's involvement in the matter."

    So what did McKinnon actually do? Is his harsh sentence for changing/using/leaking/stealing information or just because he embarrassed the Government in the 'post-911' world?
    • Is his harsh sentence for changing/using/leaking/stealing information or just because he embarrassed the Government in the 'post-911' world?

      *ding ding ding* We have a winner!

      Leaking information is seen to be a valuable tool to "counter critics" (if not a critical job function and patriotic act) unless said leak exposes embarrassing details about illegal/unethical programs, incompetence or other unsavory details. Then it's full steam ahead for the prosecution of the leakers and not the target of the leak, un
    • So what did McKinnon actually do?

      Depends on who you ask.

      Either he harmlessly hacked into a bunch of gov/mil computer systems, doing them a favor by ponting out how weak their security is.

      -or-

      He hacked into gov/mil computer systems resulting in the shut down of some systems and $millions lost in the ensuing panic and investigations.

      Take your pick.
  • SOME humans, of course.

    What we must remember, is that when an article says "People from this or that group", they don't mean ALL the group.

    The BBC article doesn't say "ALL UK Hackers support McKinnon". They just say "UK Hackers", as in "SOME UK Hackers".

    I read that BBC article, and I agree with them on everything. McKinnon isn't judged because he's a moron, he's judged because he exposed that the most powerful nation in the world has the weakest information security in the world - and the US wants to punish
    • If they mean "some UK hackers," they should write "some UK hackers."

      I doubt if it had been "UK cabdrivers," "UK insurance adjusters," "UK left-handed people," or "UK women named Susan" referenced it would be immune from such criticism by people who fit the description yet feel differently than portrayed.

    • What we must remember, is that when an article says "People from this or that group", they don't mean ALL the group...

      ...he exposed that the most powerful nation in the world has the weakest information security in the world


      So, let me get this straight. You lecture people about making sweeping generalizations, and then make a completely baseless, ridiculous statement about how X is the most Y in the world. Do you really think that, say, Uganda or Croatia has a better overall level of IT expertise and
  • "...when in truth as we all know the entire tech community has agreed that Mr Mckinnon is not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker".

    I'm sorry but you can sod right off.

    I'm both a member of the "tech community" and a "UK hacker" and I certainly do not consider him either an idiot or an attention seeker.
    Clearly the guy has some pretty outlandish views. But apart from that his only crime was proving how incredibly poor federal computer security is in the US even long after their biggest ever a
    • by Mark Hood (1630) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:54AM (#15293645) Homepage
      If I was walking down a street in London and saw a door marked "Ministry of Defence. Top Secret. UFO archive." I'd probably keep on walking - unless the door was wide open.

      Actually a better analogy would be trying the closed door and discovering it was unlocked - then walking inside instead of raising the alarm.

      It's still trespassing, and still a crime. How easy they make it for you doesn't really matter for the purposes of the trial.

      I'm sure you'd ask the court to release someone who wandered into your house, read your personal information but didn't take any of it, right?

      Mark
      • I'm sure you'd ask the court to release someone who wandered into your house, read your personal information but didn't take any of it, right?

        Perhaps not, but I wouldn't expect to be able to extradite him from overseas, and I wouldn't expect him to face many years in prison.
        • I'm sure you'd ask the court to release someone who wandered into your house, read your personal information but didn't take any of it, right?

          Perhaps not, but I wouldn't expect to be able to extradite him from overseas, and I wouldn't expect him to face many years in prison.

          Not even if the normal punishment for that crime in your country was many years in prison, which was considered reasonable? And if he'd accessed your house not in person but by using a futuristic remote-controlled droid? And if the i
      • OK so that metaphor wasn't water-tight. However note that I absolutely did not say that he did not commit a crime. He found vulnerabilities and a lack of passwords protecting remote administration services (that should never have been left running) on the space agency and air force computers belonging to a foreign power.

        He failed to report them, and he continued to access them.
        Fair enough. He's nicked. It's a fair cop etc.

        I have no problem with him being fairly prosecuted. If you read my post aga
        • You're right - I did read all your post, and I only answered part of it. I didn't want to get drawn into a debate on the severity of the punishment because he's not been tried yet.

          Whether I think 70 years in jail or daily beatings in Guantanamo are fair is not yet relevant - he's not been put on trial yet. All that's happened is that the US has asked the UK to release him to them, so that he can be tried.

          Yes, the crime he's accused of is probably out of kilter with the maximum penalty - so his defence attor
      • In a word, no.

        The information is PUBLISHED. Made available. With default controls.

        So, the CORRECT analogy would be: A sign on your house that reads "If you have the key, feel free to browse inside".

        And, leave the door unlocked, or the key hanging beside the door.

        Is THAT trespass?

        Ratboy

        PS. He IS a nutter, but the charges should be dismissed.
    • Come off it, he continued to access the poorly secured systems for two years without alerting anyone. He accessed military computers, looking for secret files until he got caught, with no apparent intention of reporting anything. What did he expect - a pat on the back and a box of chocolates?
    • I was walking down a street in London and saw a door marked "Ministry of Defence. Top Secret. UFO archive." I'd probably keep on walking - unless the door was wide open. Then I might just peek inside out of curiosity. Now if it turned out to be the real deal how the hell could anyone with a brain and a conscience prosecute me for that?

      Hooray for flawed analogies. The door was not wide open. Secured with a lock that can be opened with any key commonly found in a child's plastic handcuff kit sure, but still
    • Harmless Nutter != Terrorist

      True.

      But how do you know he's only a "Harmless Nutter"? Because that's the way he's been presented?

      And how does anyone know "!= a Terrorist" until the purpetrator is found and after an extensive investigation?

      His actions are still costing money and causing problems for the US and UK alike. "Harmless"???
    • I fully agree with Attaturk.

      so1o has some crazy ideas, but he's not an idiot. Just because he broke into some poorly secured computers does not mean he isn't a hacker. It doesn't mean he is not capable of breaking into well-secured boxes. I wouldn't want to be extradited to the US either. I don't trust the US Gov't *at all.* The time they are seeking is ridiculous. 70 yrs is insane. Either so1o did some things that aren't mentioned, or they are trying to make an example of him. If they are trying t
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We fully support the prosecution and punishment of McKinnon, who is a self-confessed criminal and a notorious cracker.

    What we do not support is his extradition to the United States of America; in the light of the USA's abysmal human rights record, openly xenophobic policies, and rampant corruption problems, we consider it highly implausible that he could receive a fair trial there. Furthermore, we reject US law as tending to cruel and draconian punishments, and we deplore the condition of US prisons, which
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If he'd been caught hacking Germany's millitary computers.
    They may have stuck him in a shared cell with (cannibal) Armin Meiwes.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4752797.st m [bbc.co.uk]
  • by mustafap (452510) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:09PM (#15293810)
    Security Advisor: "Hackers got into our computers again sir"

    Bush: "Damm it! Where did they get the technology to break our secret codes?"

    Security Advisor: "Actually, we left the systems wide open. Our IT specialists are too lazy to set passwords"

    Bush: "So how do we stop these sly foreign devils?"

    Security Advisor: "Lets just grab one and stick him in jail for life. No one at home will care. It might put the rest off"

    Bush: "Or we could train our guys to use password?"

    Security Advisor: "You'r talking nonsense again, sir"

  • Sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by agentcdog (885108) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @01:22PM (#15294547)
    It is apparent that someone needs to add some sense to this conversation. You can argue all you want about "where" this crime took place... the fact is, the "victims" were on US soil when the crime occurred. So to say that the US shouldn't conduct the trial is a bit one-sided. Also, this (as much as it's a joke to you) is a matter of national security.
    Now if the US does treat him fairly eveyone is gonna yell that they are just trying to save face. You have condemned the US not on its actions, but on your own supposition. Judge the US by what it does (meaning, wait till he's sentenced to bitch about his horrible sentence). In all of my history as a US citizen, I have seen enough to beleive that the courts here are legit and fair. They are not perfect, but surely no one assumes that GB has perfect courts.
    One more thing: I assure you that I (along with almost all of the rest of the country) would support the reverse case. If someone hacked GB's computers, I would expect them to be sent there for trial.
    • But he didn't do anything harmful. Hacking (in the sense of "just taking a look around, out of curiosity" may be illegal, but it shouldn't be. If anything, it's a good thing, because it keeps admins on their toes, and slightly less vulnerable to computer criminals.

      BTW, people in the UK *are* judging the US on its actions. We've seen quite enough of 'the war on terror' to realise that the USA is not to be trusted with legal due process.
    • Re:Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wizard Drongo (712526)
      Well, you see there would be the problem. The reason why I wrote to my MP, MSP and MEP's, demanding all of them to have this man denied extradition was very simple. He's a moron, probably slightly deranged, and uses 'hacking tools' that even 12 year-old script kiddies would reject. But here's the point:
      We have an extradite treaty with the United States of America. We've signed it, ratified, enshrined it in law and everything.

      You didn't.

      Tomorrow morning, a hacker in Florida, or New York or anywhere in th
    • Re:Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

      In all of my history as a US citizen, I have seen enough to beleive that the courts here are legit and fair. They are not perfect, but surely no one assumes that GB has perfect courts.

      Your legal system is more than imperfect, it's an international disgrace - what joke of a legal system is simply ignored by politicians when convenient for them to do so? Answer: Americas. There are plenty of examples elsewhere in this thread.

      If someone hacked GB's computers, I would expect them to be sent there for trial.

  • "the entire tech community has agreed that Mr Mckinnon is not only an idiot but a deluded attention seeker.'"

    Just who are these 'entire' people ? Is there a power in the world to get ahold of 'entire people' in the tech community and poll them ?

    It more seems like a sentence very much like the overly religious people use to 'disprove' darwing - "Entire science community now refuse darwin's theories" they say -

    Having a screenshot or a jpg might have made kinnon a dead man by now.

    I personally belie
  • They're crackers, not hackers.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

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