The majority of IT professionals say NASA hacker Gary McKinnon should remain in the UK, according to a poll of 550 UK IT workers carried out by Sophos.
The poll reported that seven out of 10 respondents believe McKinnon should not be extradited to the US, despite losing his case in the High Court earlier today.
When Sophos conducted a similar poll in 2006, the IT community was divided over McKinnon's fate (52% against extradition, 48% for), but the latest figures show that there has been a surge in public support for the self-confessed hacker.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "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, who are 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 he only broke into the computer systems to hunt for top secret information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and alien technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding from the public.