Gary Mckinnon

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Gary Mckinnon

Postby kerrianne92 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:00 am

Has anybody else read about Gary Mckinnon?
He has aspergers syndrome and hacked into Nasa becasue he wanted to prove the exitense of aliens. However the US are saying he is a huge security threat and a terrorist. Nasa wants to send Gary to a prison in the US but the US prisons are much harsher than ours in the UK, so Gary could end up being killed or the stress of it all killing him.

I feel it would be more appropriete for Gary to be put in a prison in the Uk for a short time and then keep his computer monitered afterwards and possibly put him into a group where he can learn to socialise better - If he can socialise easily he should be less inclined to want to sit at a computer for long lengths of time hacking.

What does everyone else think?
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Dan » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:56 am

kerrianne92 wrote:Has anybody else read about Gary Mckinnon?
He has aspergers syndrome and hacked into Nasa becasue he wanted to prove the exitense of aliens. However the US are saying he is a huge security threat and a terrorist. Nasa wants to send Gary to a prison in the US but the US prisons are much harsher than ours in the UK, so Gary could end up being killed or the stress of it all killing him.

I feel it would be more appropriete for Gary to be put in a prison in the Uk for a short time and then keep his computer monitered afterwards and possibly put him into a group where he can learn to socialise better - If he can socialise easily he should be less inclined to want to sit at a computer for long lengths of time hacking.

What does everyone else think?


To be honest I don't know what to think. On one hand you have someone using aspergers syndrome as a scapegoat to get away with an extermely serious offense. On the other hand it could be quite dangerous for his mental health to be sent to another country but trust me our prisons are pretty bad as well. I don't believe that he wanted to prove the existence of aliens. That's ridiculous. I also think the term "hacked" is strong for what he did. They didn't even have passwords on their data, what do they expect?

I think he should stay in the UK and I think he could probably be an asset to people in the field of cyber security but he's being made an example of and unfortunately they probably won't budge.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby fraser » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:52 am

I've been following this from when it started. To be honest, I find the whole thing a bit bizarre.
Maybe I'm biased as a proper IT pro, but personally I can't stand people like this. Had this man been a professional (a member of the BCS) he would have been struck off - regardless of whether or not he was convicted. It certainly has a negative impact on the image of the profession as a whole.
And as far as I understand it (and I'm a lot more familiar with IT law than most people), this is actually a very clear cut case. What's unusual is that he actually got caught. Regardless of laypeople's opinions, the offence was, legally, committed in the US. All the UK law requires to extradite him is that these actions would be a crime here too - and they are. Despite the way some seem to see US law as draconian, ours aren't that different. If convicted in the UK, he'd be spending quite a while in prison too. The law requires that i) he wasn't authorised, and ii) he knew it. Both of those apply, so whether or not he was looking for UFOs is irrelevant. I mean, does that mean I can break into someone's house, so long as I don't take anything? I could look for UFOs too. Whether or not the network was easy to break into is also irrelevant - his access wasn't accidental. Would it be okay to sneak onto a US military base in person if there was a hole in the fence? Yet for some reason it's considered okay if he did it electronically. There just seems to be a perception that this isn't as "real" a crime as anything else. Why are hackers always seen as heroes?
There doesn't seem to be any legitimate reason that he should stay in the UK, other than newspapers drumming up sympathy. The fact that he's a British citizen doesn't make him somehow immune to the laws of other countries.
Ultimately, he appears to have known that what he was doing was against the law. It's irrelevant whether or not he thought it was morally wrong, since he had no moral imperative to do it - it's not like he was breaking the law to save a life. He repeatedly broke into the system, aware that he wasn't supposed to be there, and now he seems surprised that the Americans aren't too happy with him.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Dan » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:18 pm

fraser wrote:I've been following this from when it started. To be honest, I find the whole thing a bit bizarre.
Maybe I'm biased as a proper IT pro, but personally I can't stand people like this. Had this man been a professional (a member of the BCS) he would have been struck off - regardless of whether or not he was convicted. It certainly has a negative impact on the image of the profession as a whole.
And as far as I understand it (and I'm a lot more familiar with IT law than most people), this is actually a very clear cut case. What's unusual is that he actually got caught. Regardless of laypeople's opinions, the offence was, legally, committed in the US. All the UK law requires to extradite him is that these actions would be a crime here too - and they are. Despite the way some seem to see US law as draconian, ours aren't that different. If convicted in the UK, he'd be spending quite a while in prison too. The law requires that i) he wasn't authorised, and ii) he knew it. Both of those apply, so whether or not he was looking for UFOs is irrelevant. I mean, does that mean I can break into someone's house, so long as I don't take anything? I could look for UFOs too. Whether or not the network was easy to break into is also irrelevant - his access wasn't accidental. Would it be okay to sneak onto a US military base in person if there was a hole in the fence? Yet for some reason it's considered okay if he did it electronically. There just seems to be a perception that this isn't as "real" a crime as anything else. Why are hackers always seen as heroes?
There doesn't seem to be any legitimate reason that he should stay in the UK, other than newspapers drumming up sympathy. The fact that he's a British citizen doesn't make him somehow immune to the laws of other countries.
Ultimately, he appears to have known that what he was doing was against the law. It's irrelevant whether or not he thought it was morally wrong, since he had no moral imperative to do it - it's not like he was breaking the law to save a life. He repeatedly broke into the system, aware that he wasn't supposed to be there, and now he seems surprised that the Americans aren't too happy with him.


I pretty much completely agree though the sentence proposed is insane. A double murderer would almost certainly get less. I agree that him using the UFO excuse is stupid, it doesn't matter why he was there. I do disagree with you about security though. If a door is left open but it says "private" on it, people are much more inclined to enter. Having no security on important files is asking for trouble and this should at least be some sort of mitigation on Gary's part.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Brian » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:21 pm

Kerrianne; What state does he live in.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby kerrianne92 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:48 pm

As far as Im aware he lives the UK, I think he is scottish. I could be wrong however.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby kerrianne92 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:57 pm

I found an article on the bbc, it has a video where Gary is talking to Huw edwards.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4715612.stm
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Brian » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:24 pm

kerrianne92 wrote:As far as Im aware he lives the UK, I think he is scottish. I could be wrong however.


S**T, he could go to prision in the US to one of these ones because Terroism is treated very very seriously over in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U. ... al_prisons

He is also screwed because there is not many maximum security prisons in Europe. But if he was to be in prision in Europe, the US would insist he would do his time in a maximum security prison.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Creative » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:16 pm

Esther has written a letter about this in her blog.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Remus » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:31 pm

I saw this in the paper and I just think it is a load of bulls***. I mean come one, he clearly isn't a threat and they were lucky it was someone innocent who showed them that their systems are completely crap and need better security and not a raving psychopath who could of done some damage. The crime was commited in 2001/02 so why even bother after all this time! Even a guy who works at Nasa said the entire case is just stupid.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Brian » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:26 pm

He lost the extradition case on Friday and is being extradited to the US.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Remus » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:50 pm

I hate it, what they are doing to this man. It's just awful. The bloody witch hunt has gone on long enough.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby xLittleHannahx » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:39 pm

I heard this story on the way home from holiday yesterday. Im confused by the whole thing. Having read what everyone has put after hearing it... im even more confused.

Ok, the fact of him having Aspergers Syndrome does not, as his mother implies, mean that he doesn't know what he's doing does it? Surely even if he does have Asperger's he'd realise that hacking into a US miltary base type thingie is illegal!

Secondly; I don't get why he's being taken to the US. Yes, ok his crime was based in the US, seen as it was their military or whatever it was, but seriously.... if he can be prosecuted in the UK then why not?

Finally; what is his actual sentence? If its as bad people are saying... he's not exactly a major threat. Fair enough if he was a actual terorist really? Although the UFO exuse could be an exuse... I doubt it but still. I've heard he could face death penalty; why?!? Its not like he killed someone?!?
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Dan » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:56 pm

xLittleHannahx wrote:I heard this story on the way home from holiday yesterday. Im confused by the whole thing. Having read what everyone has put after hearing it... im even more confused.

Ok, the fact of him having Aspergers Syndrome does not, as his mother implies, mean that he doesn't know what he's doing does it? Surely even if he does have Asperger's he'd realise that hacking into a US miltary base type thingie is illegal!

Secondly; I don't get why he's being taken to the US. Yes, ok his crime was based in the US, seen as it was their military or whatever it was, but seriously.... if he can be prosecuted in the UK then why not?

Finally; what is his actual sentence? If its as bad people are saying... he's not exactly a major threat. Fair enough if he was a actual terorist really? Although the UFO exuse could be an exuse... I doubt it but still. I've heard he could face death penalty; why?!? Its not like he killed someone?!?


I don't think he will face death penalty, there would be a huge international problem if the Americans decided to use capital punishment. It will almost certainly be a life means life prison sentence though, I don't feel he deserves it but at the end it can quite easily be construed as terrorism and as such, it has been.
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Re: Gary Mckinnon

Postby Brian » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:02 pm

Death Penalty is the US is only allowed for cases of 1st Degree Murder / Pre-meditated murder and Capital Murder.
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