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The Daily Mail Backs Gary McKinnon In National Campaign

Fresh from their success in getting the Gurkhas the same rights as other Commonwealth soldiers, national newspaper the Daily Mail is siding with Gary McKinnon to prevent the government from extraditing him to the US.

On Friday, the newspaper dedicated its front page to the new campaign that it decided to back. It has published several articles about the case and has even published an online petition (opens in new tab) which has been viewed by thousands and attracted comments from hundreds.

On the same day, McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, together with Sting's other half, Trudie Styler, presented another petition signed by more than 4300 to the Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife. And according to the Daily mail, Ms Brown "wept" together with the two women and pledged support to the Daily Mail's campaign to stop the extradition process.

Opposition leaders including Conservative leader David Cameron and his Liberal alterego, Nick Clegg have both given their backing to the campaign.

Gary McKinnon is accused of hacking US Military and NASA computer servers in 2001 and 2002 causing around $700,000 worth of damages. But rather than looking to start a Third world war, McKinnon was more concerned about finding evidence of extraterrestrial life on the hard disks of those computers. Nevertheless, the extradition process only started in 2005 and failed to be derailed by appeals to the house of lords and the European Court of Human Rights.

It was also revealed that the self-taught hacker had Asperger's Syndrome. Ironically, this latest move comes as the government has announced that it would be recruiting former hackers to help it protect UK computer systems from the threats of foreign hackers.

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Our Comments

It goes without saying that McKinnon has committed a crime. He is not denying it. However, just like it is fruitless to kill a mosquito with an AK47, trying to punish McKinnon with the same legal arsenal as senior Al-Qaeda leaders, is at best mean, at worse immoral, especially given that UK has been (and many may say still is) a known safe haven for war criminals and terrorists alike.

Related Links

Sarah Brown's tears for Gary: PM's wife backs Mail campaign to stop extradition of man who hacked Pentagon (opens in new tab)

Daily Mail launches McKinnon campaign (opens in new tab)

Daily Mail backs McKinnon (opens in new tab)

Daily Mail campaigns to try McKinnon in UK (opens in new tab)

Betrayal of a naive hacker: Why are our MPs doing nothing to help Asperger's victim Gary? (opens in new tab)

Nasa hacker petition presented to Number 10 (opens in new tab)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.