28/08/2008

British 'Hacker' Loses US Extradition Appeal

A British computer expert, accused of hacking into secret military computers has today lost his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, and now faces extradition to the US.

Gary McKinnon, born in Glasgow, will face extradition to the United States in the next fortnight, his solicitor has said.

He had asked the European Court to 'stay' his extradition pending an appeal to the court. However his application was refused.

The 42-year-old lost an appeal at the High Court in London, last July, to halt extradition proceedings, after the US deemed him "the world's most dangerous hacker".
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While he admitted breaking into the US Military and Nasa computers from his own home computer in London, he claimed to be simply seeking information on UFOs. Mr McKinnon was arrested in 2002, but was never charged in the UK.

US prosecutors have deemed his hacking of 97 military computers - which caused $700,000 (£381,727) worth of damage - "the biggest military hack of all time".

If found guilty, Mr McKinnon could face up to 70 years in prison, with authorities warning the case could be treated as 'terrorism'.

His solicitor Karen Todner said her client was "distraught" with the outcome, and has appealed to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to intervene.

(JM)

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