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The hacker who broke into US defense system

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Posted over 5 years ago

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The British computer hacker [url=httpFrustrated/www.guardian.co.uk/world/gary-mckinnon]Gary McKinnon[/url] today lost his attempt to be tried for computer offences in the UK and now faces the imminent prospect of [url=httpFrustrated/www.guardian.co.uk/law/extradition]extradition[/url] to the US. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced it would not prosecute McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, leaving the way open for his extradition.The decision was condemned by McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, who has campaigned for her son, from north London, to be allowed to stand trial in the UK.She said: "I'm heartbroken at the lack of compassion shown towards my desperately vulnerable son. Gary is a gentle man with Asperger's – not a dangerous terrorist."The US is seeking his extradition because of his [url=httpFrustrated/www.guardian.co.uk/technology/hacking]hacking[/url], which it says included entering the computer systems of the US defence department and Nasa.McKinnon's mother said his obsessions led him to search US computer systems. "Wrong, yes, but extraditing him to a high-security prison knowing he won't survive – surely no one can honestly believe that punishment fits the [url=httpFrustrated/www.guardian.co.uk/uk/ukcrime]crime[/url]," she said.A final judicial review of the home secretary's decision to allow the extradition is due in the high court next month, but campaigners had been pinning their hopes on the new director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, intervening.The CPS said the decision followed "a careful review of all available evidence including further material and admissions to offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which were submitted by Mr McKinnon's solicitors".Alison Saunders, head of the CPS organised crime division, said: "We identified nine occasions where Mr McKinnon has admitted to activity which would amount to an offence under section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act (unauthorised access with intent). Although there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr McKinnon for these offences, the evidence we have does not come near to reflecting the criminality that is alleged by the American authorities."She said McKinnon's hacking activities "were not random experiments in computer hacking, but a deliberate effort to breach US defence systems at a critical time which caused well-documented damage. They may have been conducted from Mr McKinnon's home computer – and in that sense there is a UK link – but the target and the damage were transatlantic."McKinnon's family and legal team had hoped the director of public prosecutions would authorise a trial in the UK. A campaign on his behalf has been mounted by MPs of all parties. This week, Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of anti-terror laws, added his name to the campaign in a personal capacity, highlighting McKinnon's medical condition, which was only recently diagnosed.The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, could still intervene by insisting that McKinnon should be granted immediate bail in the US and be allowed to serve any sentence in the UK. So far, she has declined to do so.McKinnon's mother added: "When will the UK stop hiding behind treaty obligations to the US and let humanity, common sense and decency prevail? Perhaps one day the realisation of these decisions will dawn."We've suffered an agonising seven years which has ruined the lives and health of my family. Somebody somewhere please wake up – and realise the extradition of even one vulnerable person cannot be a price worth paying to save the US government's embarrassment. Devil

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