Human rights activist and a former Beirut hostage Terry Waite has asked the US government to drop the case against the British hacker Gary McKinnon, and instead the government must thank the hacker for “exposing the fragility” in the country’s military systems.
Waite, who was kidnapped in Lebanon in the year 1987 and held hostage for around four years, asserted that Pentagon must be grateful to the self-confessed hacker for revealing the vulnerabilities in the US military systems.
The UK-based hacker facing extradition for hacking US military systems using his dial-up connection, with an intention to search out some information on UFOs.
Waite said that McKinnon’s illness actually made him “irrationally obsessive” to break into the computer systems, and hence it was an utter “waste of time” to pursue him.
Citing his illness as the main cause for the act McKinnon committed, Waite said in a statement, “More importantly, the accused suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and no nation under the sun ought to convict an individual whose behaviour is occasioned by illness”.
McKinnon is challenging the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s ruling to permit his extradition, and if convicted in the US the hacker could face a sentence for up to 70 years in prison over the charges of disrupting the defence systems.
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There are common points between recent hacking episodes and the Gary McKinnon case. More specifically, the Spotify case which saw a group of hackers use a vulnerability without any legal consequences.