A Sophos poll* of 550 IT professionals has revealed that seven
out of ten respondents believe that NASA hacker Gary McKinnon
should not be extradited to the US, despite the high court's
contradictory verdict earlier today.
Should Gary McKinnon be extradited to the
|Yes, he should be
|No, he should not
The London-based hacker applied for judicial review following a
previous decision in February this year by the Crown Prosecution
Service (CPS) that refused to bring charges against McKinnon in the
UK. Despite a relentless media campaign and several extradition
appeals in the House of Lords and the European Court of Human
Rights, today's decision by Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr
Justice Wilkie could leave McKinnon facing up to 60 years
imprisonment in a 'supermax' facility.
The same poll, conducted by the IT security and control firm
back in 2006**, saw the IT community divided over McKinnon's
fate (52 percent against extradition; 48 percent for), but the
latest figures show that there has been a surge in public support
for the self-confessed hacker.
"McKinnon has had tremendous support from hackers and ordinary
people throughout this saga - but what is truly staggering is the
support he has received from the IT community," said Graham
Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "The consensus
is that it is perhaps inappropriate to make an example of a UFO
conspiracy theorist when serious crimes are still being carried out
by financially-motivated hackers, stealing identities, sending spam
and creating botnets."
McKinnon was arrested seven years ago after allegedly hacking
into computers belonging to the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force,
Department of Defense and NASA. The computer enthusiast from North
London claims that he broke into the computer systems only to hunt
for top secret information about anti-gravity propulsion systems
and alien technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding
from the public.
US authorities, meanwhile, allege that McKinnon - known by the
handle 'Solo' - caused nearly a million dollars worth of damage,
shutting down systems responsible for the tracking the location of
naval ships, and protecting Washington DC.
"Of course a strong message must be sent out to hackers that
their activities are unacceptable, but there is arguably a
difference between McKinnon and cybercriminals who are in it for
the money," continued Cluley. "The question is, do McKinnon and
his numerous supporters have any more tricks up their sleeve to
prevent his unwilling departure from Heathrow airport?"
* Sophos online survey, 550 respondents,
** Sophos online survey, 565 respondents,
Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this poll is not
scientific and is provided for information purposes only. The
comments expressed on this page are those of a subsection of poll
participants, and not necessarily those of Sophos. Sophos makes no
guarantees about the accuracy of the results other than that they
reflect the choices of the users who participated.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.