May signs extradition order for TVShack student

May signs extradition order for TVShack student

Summary: Home secretary Theresa May has signed extradition orders for computer science student Richard O'Dwyer, who faces trial in US on copyright infringement charges.O'Dwyer stands accused of running the website TVShack.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Home secretary Theresa May has signed extradition orders for computer science student Richard O'Dwyer, who faces trial in US on copyright infringement charges.

O'Dwyer stands accused of running the website TVShack.net, which allegedly provided links to other websites that illegally streamed copyrighted content. The 23-year-old, who has been studying at Sheffield Hallam University, faces two counts of infringement that each carry a maximum of five years imprisonment.

The BBC reported on Tuesday that May had "carefully considered all relevant matters" before signing the extradition order. A Westminster court also gave its backing to the extradition in January.

"Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British government," Julia O'Dwyer, the defendant's mother, was quoted as saying.

The TVShack.net takedown and O'Dwyer's arrest took place in May last year. The case is reminiscent of that of Gary McKinnon, a self-confessed hacker who has been fighting extradition to the US for the best part of a decade. Indeed, both men have been represented by the same barrister, Ben Cooper.

However, McKinnon hacked into military systems that were housed on US soil. The service allegedly run by O'Dwyer was not hosted in the US, a fact that has given some ammunition to his defence, but clearly not enough to halt the extradition process.

The site also did not host copyrighted material itself, creating similarities between the case and that of RnBXclusive, a blog that also allegedly linked to unlawful downloads.

Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British government.

– Julia O'Dwyer

RnBXclusive was taken down by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in February this year, in an operation that was partially intended to scare downloaders into thinking they faced jail.

The UK's extradition arrangements with the US were created in the wake of 9/11 and are lopsided, in that a UK citizen can be extradited to the US without probable cause, but the reverse does not hold.

"Richard's life — his studies, work opportunities, financial security — is being disrupted, for who knows how long, because the UK government has not introduced the much-needed changes to extradition law," Julia O'Dwyer said.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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4 comments
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  • Outrageous - what kind of 'terrorism' will he be charge with, as he is being extradited under a one-sided agreement that was justified under the 'prevention of terrorism' banner?
    lojolondon
  • I listened to an interview with a prominent US extradition expert recently on Radio 5 Live 'Up All Night' last week.

    It transpires that the treaty was signed as a one sided treaty *knowingly* from the beginning and, although proposed as an anti terrorism measure was never actually framed to be limited to terrorism beyond a possible 'understanding'. Consequently, the US can use this treaty to extradite almost anyone they wish on the say so of a Grand Jury, held in secret, at which only prosecution evidence is produced, whereas we can't use it at all (see also below).

    Consequent on this treaty, our Government and the Home Secretary are virtually powerless to resist. Furthermore, the US expert could not suggest how this treaty could be undone. He also expressed 'surprise' that the UK Government could have got themselves into this position.

    The US constitution does actually prevent a reciprocal treaty as US citizen are protected from such an extradition agreement, whereas our citizens have no such overriding protection, hence we now just have to hand over anyone requested by the US under this treaty, whatever the nature of the allegation.

    This is both outrageous and disgraceful, particularly since almost all instances of the use of this treaty by the US so far have been allegations of so called 'white collar' crime rather than terrorist related. I think it can be clearly seen where this could lead.....

    Thank you Tony Blair and his Labour Government
    The Former Moley
  • Man, glad I'm not a UK subject. I'm ashamed that my government seems to have no scruples at all when it comes to doing the RIAA & MPPA 's biding. All they are interested in is the money they make selling the same video/DVD/music programming over and over again.

    Somebody in the UK House of Commons needs to grow some cajones and tell #10 to stop shipping its citizen's to the US.
    mileswade
  • In other news, American soldier who murdered Afghans get to trial in his home country even though it is cleared that he should be charged in Afghan as a civilian. double fucking standards.
    Jack Landers