UK NASA hacker gets appeal

Summary:Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who admitted breaking into NASA's computer systems, has been granted an appeal hearing on his extradition to the US to face charges.

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who admitted breaking into NASA's computer systems, has been granted an appeal hearing on his extradition to the US to face charges.

McKinnon was granted leave on Thursday to appeal to the Law Lords, a group of senior UK judges, on the grounds of the nature of plea agreement discussions with representatives of the US authorities.

His appeal will be heard "sometime in the New Year", according to his solicitors, Kaim Todner.

The US government wishes to try McKinnon on charges of unauthorised access to NASA's systems.

According to Kaim Todner, during the plea bargaining process between November 2002 and April 2003, US government representatives attempted to coerce McKinnon so he would not oppose extradition proceedings.

"The US representatives promised [McKinnon] a greatly reduced sentence and that they would facilitate repatriation [if McKinnon co-operated], but that if he opposes they would throw the book at him," said Jeff Anderson, assistant to McKinnon's solicitor. "They said that were he found guilty, he would be put in a super-maximum security facility in Colorado, and spend much of his time in solitary confinement. They told him he would fry."

Anderson said that the US authorities had later denied this claim.

Topics: Security, EU, Nasa / Space

About

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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