Background: In 2002 British citizen Gary McKinnon was arrested in the UK. He confessed he had hacked himself into several dozens of NASA computer systems. While NASA claims the damage done was worth $ 700.000, that claim has never been substantiated. If he were trialed and convicted in the UK, he would probably serve somewhere between community service and worst case 5 years imprisonment.

Now, I don’t deny this guy did wrong and should face the courts, but the thing is, the UK never pressed charges and instead let the US do the dirty work. Even stranger is that up until the highest UK court agreed to have Gary been extradited to the US, where, if convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 60 years. He claims he might even have to serve that in Gitmo.

I have a couple of questions about this.

  • I don’t think many countries actively deport their own citizens to a different country to be trialed there. When did this change in the UK, which I believe most people regard as having a reasonably fair justice system?
  • What if it would have been China, or Iran asking for the guy?
  • 60 years behind bars for some hacking? In most of Europe, you would have to have slaughtered quite a few blue eyed blond virgins.
  • When can we expect the US to extradite a US citizen to ANY country, or super-national body like the UN? (hint 1: google ASPA. Hint 2: never).

This is plain wrong. Wait for the first copyright-case to be “handled” that way. Thanks Jondo