Self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon has been refused the right to appeal against his extradition to the US, and will now face charges of breaking into government computer systems.
The 43 year old, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, could face upwards of 60 years in an American prison if convicted.
McKinnon has been accused of hacking into US government networks, including NASA and the Pentagon, allegedly searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life. His attempt to avoid extradition to the US by appealing to the High Court failed in July.
Yesterday three senior MPs tried to convince home secretary Alan Johnson to step in and prevent McKinnon’s extradition. The Home Office responded that it had no power to prevent the legal process.
Today’s news will be poorly received by many in the IT community, 71% of whom believe McKinnon should not be extradied according to a poll by security firm Sophos following the hacker’s failed High Court bid.
“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,” said Mark Harris, global director of SophosLabs.