Nasa hacker taken ill as appeal continues

Nasa hacker taken ill as appeal continues

Summary: British judges are now deliberating whether Gary McKinnon should be extradited

TOPICS: Security

Gary McKinnon, the UK citizen accused of hacking Nasa's computers and causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, was taken ill as his appeal against extradition continued.

According to those close to McKinnon, he suffered heart palpitations on Wednesday. "The case has all become too much for him," a friend told ZDNet UK.

McKinnon is accused of breaking into 97 US computers and causing £700,000 of damage in 2001 and 2002. He admits accessing Nasa computers, as part of his search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, but denies deliberately causing any damage.

In McKinnon's absence, his defence lawyer told the High Court that his extradition should be blocked because the US authorities had offered him a shorter sentence in return for agreeing to extradition. Edmund Lawson, QC, claimed that this constituted an "improper approach" to McKinnon.

Representing the US authorities, Max Summers told the court that the US was not able to refute this claim immediately and would need an adjournment to consider it.

The case was adjourned on Wednesday afternoon, and the appeal judges will now deliberate on whether this new evidence can be considered.

If he loses his appeal, McKinnon may try and appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, although this may be blocked by the High Court.

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.

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  • Perverse

    I've always thought that the American system of doing deals is a perversion of justice, as is a treaty which only the UK have enacted. America has not as it contravenes the American citzens' rights and we should have yaken the same stance here regarding British citizens' rights. For once, the EU got it right and refused to agree the treaty.

    Separately, I think the Americans are greatly (and dishonourably) exaggerating the harm done. Let's not forget that Gary Mckinnon was young and rather naive and, rather than representing a threat, highlighted the weakness of Nasa's security.

    Of course he did commit an offence, but the anxiety here is that he will not have fair treatment and a sentence commensurate with his offence rather than America's exaggerated reprententations of his offence.

    Notwithstanding, I believe he should stand trial here in the UK not in the USA, and America should bring it's case and evidence to be tested here in our courts under our judicial system.
    The Former Moley