Nasa hacker appeal set for New Year

Nasa hacker appeal set for New Year

Summary: High Court has set a date for the appeal of Gary McKinnon, the Briton threatened with extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into US military systems

TOPICS: Security

After months of waiting, Gary McKinnon, the so-called "Nasa hacker", has learned that his latest attempt to avoid extradition to America will be heard in the High Court on 13 February, 2007.

McKinnon has been waiting for this date to be confirmed since last July when he lost his first appeal against extradition. The appeal court in that case judged that extradition to the US was justified, after which McKinnon was granted leave to appeal to a higher court.

If his second appeal on 13 February is not successful, McKinnon's only remaining avenue is to appeal to the House of Lords, but he is not hopeful. "Look what happened to the NatWest Three," he told ZDNet UK on Monday. "They had a lot of people behind them but they were still not given leave to appeal to the House of Lords."

McKinnon believes that he has little chance of being successful at his hearing in the New Year. "I don't have much faith in this government to act independently [of the US]," he said.

The NatWest Three, also known as the Enron Three, were the first test case of the UK's new Extradition Act and were extradited to the US on 13 July. Theirs was the first case held under the act.

McKinnon has been fighting extradition since July last year. Unlike other famous British hackers, McKinnon has never been convicted of an offence in the UK. He has admitted accessing US systems, but maintains that he never damaged any of the systems he entered. When first discovered, the UK authorities did not think his actions were serious enough to be worth prosecuting.

The US Government has always maintained that McKinnon's exploits caused millions of dollars worth of damage to a wide range of crucial defence systems.

The UK Extradition Act 2003 was rushed into law after the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001, and does not include a requirement for an extradition request from the US to contain prima facie evidence of the charges. The act has not been ratified by the US Government, so while McKinnon is being extradited to the US under its terms, the UK Government cannot extradite a US citizen to the UK.'s Natasha Lomas contributed to this report.

Topic: Security


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Unfair and Unreasonable

    To me, this situation is an abomination, not justice.

    The act was rushed through by the UK government the the agreement has not been ratified by the US, and has, quite rightly, rejected by the EU.

    Where are the safeguards for British citizens? The US quoted their Citizens Constitutional rights for not enacting the agreement.

    An agreement must have at least two parties participating in the agreement, not just one.

    And where is the evidence that the UK is doing anything to assist their citizens in distress as a result of this 'agreement'

    These cases should be mounted in the UK courts and the US should bring their evidence here to be tested. These are very worrying precedents
    The Former Moley
  • Hmmmm

    The guy's a muppet. Aliens. Ufos. Tsk. Bet he has every episode of Star Trek memorised and all the memorabilia to go with it.
  • Academic.

    It's academic what one's opinion is of the person, the thing to remember is that no evidence has been presented, the chap has never been in the US and therefore the next one could be YOU.

    I was conversing with an American last week who mentioned the lapdog was over there. After a bit of confusion he pointed out he was talking about Toady Blair. Basically sums up how the UK is being seen by the US and why this is all one way and the wrong way at that.