A poll of over 500 IT professionals has found that the industry
is virtually split in two over whether it is right for a British
man to be extradited to the USA for allegedly breaking into
Pentagon and NASA computers.
Gary McKinnon, a self-confessed computer enthusiast from North
London, is alleged to have hacked into computers belonging to the
US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Department of Defense and NASA.
British Home Secretary, John Reid, has this week signed the order
approving the extradition.
In an online poll*, conducted by Sophos, 52% said that McKinnon
should not be extradited, while 48% said it was correct for him to
face a US court.
Should Gary McKinnon be extradited to the
|Yes, he should be
|No, he should not
"It's fascinating to see how the IT community is split down the
middle regarding Gary McKinnon. Many have expressed sympathy with
his plight and think the British authorities have let him down by
agreeing to extradite him to the States. This is in marked
difference to the reaction we normally hear from the public when
alleged virus writers and hackers are making the headlines," said
senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Hackers should take heed
of the McKinnon case, and think carefully about their actions if
they don't want a one-way ticket to an American court."
40-year-old McKinnon claims that he did not break into the
networks with malicious intent, but to uncover confidential
information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and
extraterrestrial technology which he believed the authorities were
hiding from the public.
McKinnon has been leading a high profile campaign to avoid
extradition, demanding that the US authorities should provide
evidence of his supposed crimes and damage caused to the UK court,
and claiming that he could be sent to the US military camp at
Guantanamo Bay. His campaign has been supported by many others in
the hacking community.
McKinnon says that he was caught while viewing an image of what
he believed to be a UFO on a NASA computer. He has two weeks to
appeal against the Home Secretary's decision.
* Sophos online survey, 565 respondents.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.