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British Hacker Loses Review of Asperger's Defense 278

Posted by kdawson
from the one-more-chance dept.
Barence writes "Gary McKinnon has lost the judicial review of his case, dealing a potentially fatal blow to his hopes of avoiding extradition to the US. Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr. Justice Wilkie dismissed the review at the Royal Courts of Justice. The review had been assembled to determine whether the diagnosis of McKinnon's Asperger's Syndrome had any bearing on the Home Office's original decision to extradite him to the US. Asperger's sufferers often exhibit obsessive behavior and social naivety, which McKinnon's lawyers have long offered as mitigation. His legal team now has 28 days to appeal the verdict, and his lawyer, Karen Todners, has indicated they may consider taking his case before the US Supreme Court. Last year we discussed a full profile of the hacker published by the BBC." Sophos's survey of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believe McKinnon should not be extradited.
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British Hacker Loses Review of Asperger's Defense

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  • Wrong court (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:55AM (#28895509) Homepage

    It is the new English supreme court the case is going to, the one that replaces the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.

  • Extradition Act 2003 (Score:5, Informative)

    by expat.iain (1337021) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:02AM (#28895593)

    What is really pissing the British off is that the American government is trying to extradite McKinnon using a law that was passed under the shadow of 9/11 for the purposes of anti-terrorism.

    Granted, McKinnon was foolish to enter the US government computers, although perhaps he should be given a consultant's fee for highlighting such lax security. If they're going to prosecute him for being an idiot, then certainly they could look closer to home.

    And the tactics employed by the American Justice Department have been more than questionable under various EU laws, let alone the English legal system.

    Perhaps the biggest disappointment is to see the politicians rolling over for the American government instead of standing up for their own citizens.

    Did McKinnon break into the systems? Yes, and he has admitted such. Surely as a British citizen having commited a crime in England he should be tried under English law.

    Iain

  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:08AM (#28895641)

    He didn't "hack in". They had default "Administrator" accounts with no password. The hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage he's supposed to have caused was the cost of checking to see if he'd damaged anything (he hadn't) and fixing the security holes (which weren't his problem). They only noticed the intrusion because he left messages telling them!

    What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:18AM (#28895765)

    Here here, also a few more points not mentioned;

    1) The view is also that the accord for extradition passed in light of 9/11 hysteria is unbalanced. For extradition from the US at the behest of UK government the UK would have to provide "proof" of a transgression in a US court of law, whereas for an extradition from the UK to the US one would need minor "evidence" sans a court hearing.

    2) McKinnon is not arguing that he didn't break the law, just that he should be tried here in the UK.

    One wonders why Allen Stanford hasn't been extradited to the UK to face some music here.

  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hammer (14284) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:21AM (#28895819) Journal

    What he did was the moral equivalent of walking through an unlocked, unguarded door and having a look round. For this he's facing 60 years in jail. This is not justice.

    And... Leaving a note to the property owner. " You left the door open and I looked around. Please remember to lock it"

  • by oggiejnr (999258) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:53AM (#28896237)
    This used to be true, however in the last couple of years the treaty has been fully ratified by the US such the the extradition conditions are now the same for both the US and the UK. See http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/press-releases/UKUS-extradition-traety [homeoffice.gov.uk] for details
  • it's karma (Score:3, Informative)

    by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:59AM (#28896343)

    You do realize the UK government used anti-terrorist laws against Iceland right? And I would mention those people never set foot in the UK either.

    What goes around comes around.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:03AM (#28896395) Homepage Journal

    If the reverse had been true and McKinnon were in the United States breaking into MI5 computers, you better believe that the Crown would be looking to extradite him to the U.K.

    The constitution makes it all but impossible to extradite someone from the US, since "probable cause" is required and interpreted very strictly[1]. Numerous members of the IRA took advantage of this.

    [1] effectively proof beyond reasonable doubt, which you can't get without a trial.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:06AM (#28896449)
    Good idea, Cos the US military will then have an incentive to proactively protect it's systems. Instead of just randomly lashing out at the softest target they can find. cowardly fucks.
  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:37AM (#28896909)

    It may be an excuse if it wasn't for the obvious neurological difference that shows up in MRIs of people both with autism and AS.

  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by evilbessie (873633) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:03PM (#28897291)
    Ah but in the UK at least trespassing is only a civil crime, so if you don't do any damage you can't go to jail.
  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:34PM (#28897691)

    If the guy left a card to contact him, I'd probably send him some cash to buy a couple of beers with.

    Most SANE people would call the police and pass on the contact info. I suspect that in "reality", so would you.

  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:41PM (#28897803)

    Maybe people will finally realise Aspergers isn't a real condition and an excuse for the the socially inept to not make the effort.

    Careful what you wish for. When I was younger I was at my worst when I was making an effort. Imagine someone who is socially clumsy, with no ability to read when he is pushing things too far, trying to meet women. I freaked quite a few of them out, because I had no ability to understand that they weren't interested. I truly had no idea, it wasn't until a friend sat me down and said, "You're really making her uncomfortable.". Even then, I had no idea what I was doing to make them uncomfortable. They would say hi, and I thought that meant everything was great. I had no idea when people were lying, or telling the truth. I had no idea when they were laughing with me, or laughing at me, so I eventually just assumed that people were malicious all the time, rather than trust them. I have Asperger's, and I can tell you, I've put in several lifetime's worth of effort in trying to understand and read people.

  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:58PM (#28898099) Homepage Journal

    Asperger's Syndrome has already been established as being a defect in the mirror neurons in the brain, and it is unquestionably a form of autism (which is caused by those parts of the brain designed to filter information being malformed).

    If a malformed brain is an "excuse", I'd LOVE to see ringbarer's sick notes. What the hell is real, if great big chunks of the brain being missing is fake?

  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday July 31, 2009 @01:05PM (#28898211) Homepage Journal

    First off, Asperger's Syndrome is generally recognized as being on the Autistic Spectrum, not as an independently-classified condition. Second, MRI shows the two to be tightly-coupled, that there can be no serious question that Asperger's Syndrome is merely a specific subset of Autism.

    Now we've got that out the way, I strongly object to the whole mental concept of absolute diminished responsibility. It's a sliding scale, not an on/off switch, and ALL people will have some area in which some diminished responsibility will exist.

    The only sane, rational, logical approach is to forget about the notion of whether a person is legally culpable because of such a defect, because it's simply not useful, but rather to approach the issue as a case of how to divide the consequences of the action between treatment for the defect and punishment for the action.

    Although I can see the UK legal system someday making such a switch, the US is legally very primitive. So much so that they still think the death penalty and digital watches are pretty neat ideas. I'd argue against extradition, less on the grounds of diminished responsibility of the guy and more on the grounds of diminished responsibility on the part of the US.

  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:2, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday July 31, 2009 @01:17PM (#28898393) Homepage Journal

    Don't be normal. If you think being aspie is bad, neurotypicals are infinitely worse off. They even believe their own crud, half the time, believe it or not.

    For those curious about whether they have Asperger's Syndrome, there are three simple ways to self-diagnose:

    • This is a superb online test [rdos.net]. If you score 150 or more for being Aspie and less than 100 on being neurotypical, you're aspie.
      On the other hand, Slashdot is going to primarily be of interest to aspies, so constitutes a test in its own right:
      • Do you post geeky stuff on Slashdot?
      • Do people with a UID of 4 digits or less understand your jokes?
      • Do you submit articles that turn out to be too nerdy for the Slashdot readership?
        If you have answered Y to two or more of these, you're aspie.

      Alternately, you could just look at the two "classic" symptoms:

      • If you're highly stressed, does your voice go flat rather than show any of the stereotypical signs of stress?
      • If you're highly focussed, does anything else in the universe exist to you?
        If you answered Y to either of these, you're aspie.
  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday July 31, 2009 @01:35PM (#28898677)
    Wow, simply wow. Have you been to Mexico? Egypt? Any nation outside of Western Europe or North America? I'll take an American prison any day with internet and three square meals.
  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday July 31, 2009 @07:27PM (#28903757) Journal

    >>>the Supreme Court actually has no power whatsoever to actually enforce any of its decisions

    Non-issue. A President hasn't ignored the court since the 1860s, and if a modern-day president tried to do that, he'd likely get impeached and tried by the Congress for abuse-of-power.

    >>>Kevin Mitnik spent how many years behind bars before the case even went to court?

    3.

    He then spent an additional 1.5 years in jail, because he was sentenced to a five-year punishment with early release. I'm sorry. Am I supposed to think some injustice was performed here, because I'm not seeing it? All I see is as man who commited a hacking crime and was punished as he deserved to be punished.

    Also it's not as if he was just some innocent citizen picked off the street and detained. He was a serial criminal who had been imprisoned twice before, and it's only natural for a Judge to deny bail in such cases.

  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Friday July 31, 2009 @08:22PM (#28904265)

    If the guy left a card to contact him, I'd probably send him some cash to buy a couple of beers with. After all, he could have stolen all my stuff, not left a note, and left no sign of forced entry

    My Dad greeted trespassers on his farm with a Remington 12 gauge and a load of buckshot.

    The unwelcome mat.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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