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British Hacker Loses Review of Asperger's Defense 278

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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  • I call shenanigans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dieselpawn ( 1302503 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:11AM (#28895683)
    ""Despite his growing affinity for the machine, he left school at 17 to become a hairdresser, a career cut short by a friend's insistence that there was better money, and he was better suited, to a career in IT."" http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/252972/gary-mckinnon-britains-hacking-hero.html [pcpro.co.uk] I find it highly unlikely that an Aspie would ever become a hair dresser, an incredibly social job. Anybody who has every had any kind of contact with a true Aspie knows they avoid social situations like the plague. I call shenanigans.
  • by Jack Sombra ( 948340 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:18AM (#28895757)

    Aye the Asperger defence is pretty lame but honestly he should not even have to use it, the extradition laws they are using to extradite him should not have been used it this case as not only were they intended only for suspected terrorists but to boot they are completely one sided, requireing no evidence of a crime to presented by the US for someone to be extradited from the UK while the same not being true in reverse

    Though wonder why they have not pursued this to the European court level as the extradition treaty is already generally considered illegal at that level, just it has not been tested in their courts yet

  • by lacoronus ( 1418813 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:32AM (#28895947)

    they are completely one sided, requireing no evidence of a crime to presented by the US for someone to be extradited from the UK

    You know, I had to read the act twice to confirm that it really was so. That is just completely wrong. I really hope they take this to the Supreme Court - if nothing else, the publicity will perhaps help to overturn the law.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:04AM (#28896405)
    The British Government is dead set on getting him extradited. They are obsessed with being seen as being tough on "cybercrime" in case the US removes our already piddling access to their secret data. The US only wants McKinnon because they are more likely to get a conviction with a long sentence as he is not a US citizen.

    Really, it's the admins of those insecure computers who should be prosecuted. I thought it was a federal offense negligently to give access to secret data?

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

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:52AM (#28897111)
    Actually, I'd make quick cursory check of my valuable property to make sure nothing was taken, then change the locks on my door for something I can't forget to lock (spring-bolt lock instead of deadbolt, for instance). That way the default is set to "locked" instead of "unlocked."

    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 (preventing me from claiming on my insurance).

    Sometimes being a good citizen is the worst thing to do. There's a reason why you don't hear of many "good samaritans" any more.
  • Re:UK Law vs US Law (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:22PM (#28897505) Journal
    And if you came home and found such a note on your table, what would your reaction be?

    It would be "who the fuck forgot to lock my military installation?"

    Seriously, we get into this whole trespass argument all the time, but come on. If they didn't lock or guard an armory, would you be charging the guy who pointed it out?
  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:35PM (#28897701)

    Asperger's is a very real condition, however by definition it is no defense for criminal behavior. The similar condition that is severe enough to merit a diminished capacity defense is called Autism. The threshold of diminished capacity was long established in autism diagnosis before Asperger's was identified. Autism is a disease, Asperger's is a disorder.

    And although we can agree on the invalidity of the legal argument, I must point out that derogatory comments about the mentally disabled is extremely lame.

  • Re:FIST SPORT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:38PM (#28897759)

    I know you were trolling, but I need to respond. I have AS. My father has it. My grandfather had it. And my son and one of my daughters have it. Believe me, it's real. I'm nearly 40. I'm just now feeling like I'm getting a handle on social skills. I believe I'm now entering the realm of the merely poor people-skilled humans. But it's much more than a lack of people skills. I have problems experiencing any emotion except anger. Sometimes I know what I'm feeling. Sometimes I feel something specific (like jealousy or embarrassment for example) but interpret it as a generic "bad". Sometimes I can't identify it at all. And sometimes I feel nothing when something should be there. Even when I know exactly what I'm feeling, 80% of the time, I express it incorrectly. Normal people can't read me either. They think I'm angry when I'm not, or feel completely blind-sided when I am angry. Behaviors that are natural and automatic for neurotypicals are learned behaviors for me. And if I haven't learned them, I execute them wrong or not at all. I have problems with executive function meaning that it's difficult or impossible to plan and organize some things. It explains why I always scored sky-high on aptitude tests in school, but always got bad grades. My spacial relations, problem solving, design abilities, and speech/linguistics are way out there. I always impress people with it. But my memory is beyond terrible. I can remember hardware addresses of computers I used 20 years ago, but can't remember what I had for breakfast a couple days ago. I also have sensory problems, mainly with touch and hearing. I have problem filtering out background noises and focusing on specific people talking. I have no idea what they're saying. Yet my hearing tests out perfect. When it happens, it's like my wife has switched to a foreign language. My gait is visibly wrong, which is common. I also have the theory of mind problems (mind-blindness). It's sometimes nearly impossible for me to understand at all how someone else feels unless something nearly identical has happened to me. As a coping mechanism, I have a long mental list of things that I know make people feel bad. When someone expresses sadness to me because of one of these things, I fake the empathy back to them. It works most of the time. And I intend the same things for them as someone who actually feels bad for them. I really want them to feel better. But inside me, I feel mostly nothingness.

    Asperger's Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders are real. I've benefited partially from it. But for the most part it sucks. I would give anything to be normal.

  • by composer777 ( 175489 ) * on Friday July 31, 2009 @01:01PM (#28898171)

    Not true. Many aspies will go through all sorts of contortions to fit in. I played football in high school and had a C- average until my senior year, when I decided to start studying again, and got a 4.7 my final year (4.5 scale, honors courses went to 5.5, so it pulled me above 4.5). I hated football, but I hated myself even more, and wanted desperately to fit in. Having horrible motor coordination meant I was stuck playing line, and socially I was as clumsy as I was physically. It was a massive failure in terms of fitting in, but I had Aspergers, and didn't really understand that there was more to fitting in than adopting a stereotype. Looking back on it, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a large number of bodybuilders (or athletes) who have some form of aspergers. It's the socially clumsy,"if I just get bigger biceps then everyone will love me" types that I'm thinking about.

    Some Aspies avoid social situations, others will make clumsy, awkward attempts to fit in. They'll rehearse everything they say, over-prepare for every social event, and still find ways to fuck it up. They'll go to great lengths to fit in whatever way they can.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling