I was less than complimentary about Gary Mckinnon on this blog a short while ago and I’ve not changed my opinion. For obvious reasons, I have little sympathy for hackers regardless of their motives. So I’ll not be shedding any tears over his extradition. However, does the punishment really fit the crime? I’m not going to make this blog a place for political debate however a friend of mine, who through his contacts has become a personal acquaintance of McKinnon emailed me earlier on Wednesday with the following message, and I thought it interesting enough to share with you.
Was what Gary did against UK law at the time of the offence? No – but uniquely in IT you are potentially committing a simultaneous crime in all countries, and subject to their laws? This is like me committing adultery in the UK, and being stoned in Jeddah (see more of this down further). How can this make sense – surely for an international crime you need an international law enforcement agency.
Particularly when all this does is highlight the fact that the UK does not have the funding, expertise or will to pursue electronic crime; this furthers the case for immediate funding for the e-crime unit, but embarrasses the UK as a thieves haven that is ongoing today. Labour Government support for anti-e-crime, and knowledge in this area is pitiful, with the notable exception of David Blunkett who has a true interest and sensible perspective in this area, and David Cameron’s initial support for Gary McKinnon seems to have waned when it appeared that he was getting dangerously close to a policy. How anyone can sleep at night having extradited someone to face trial from a body that has openly threatened to execute him is beyond belief; and against both European and UK constitutions….. He is our criminal, why don’t we have the balls to prosecute him. Bear in mind that being unable to work or to contribute to society in any meaningful way means that he has already served 6 years -lets hope that this is factored in when they decide on the sentence. And lets not even get into the asymmetry of the extradition treaty – it is a finest example of kowtowing to the US I have ever seen; special friendship? More like grooming.
I think it is apposite that today the House of Lords rule that using bribery to win defence contracts in Saudi is fine:_ some joined up thinking there from a body that we used to think made sensible decisions_ we can certainly sell arms to the most volatile area in the world, where terrorist atrocities are committed and terrorists originate; might this not have been a better area to concentrate the ‘counter-terror’ activities.
And what about the chap from NZ who just got fined 5000 for doing the same thing? Bizarre,