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4 April 2007updated 27 Sep 2015 5:44am

Who’s next? The Bloggers?

The British hacker whose UFO cover-up hunt has seen him extradited to America

By Mike Butcher

Gary McKinnon, 41, an unemployed computer systems administrator, is being extradited to the US because he wanted to find out if UFOs really existed.

That is at least one view of the case of an unemployed computer hacker who accessed 97 American military and NASA computers between 2001 and 2002. He is accused of causing nearly $700,000 (£350,000) worth of damage by hacking into systems close to the date of the September 11 attacks. No wonder the Americans wanted him.

But does this justify extraditing someone who – by many accounts – is just a bit of geeky Sci-fi fan? He says his motives were not malicious and has claimed that the American systems he came across lacked firewalls and basic password protection. His lawyers claim that he could face up to seventy years in jail and at one point it was suggested that he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On a blog dedicated to his cause,, supporters argue that even if he is guilty he should serve time in a UK prison.

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But what if a blogger simply republished sensitive information about US security? Would they be extradited too? The case raises more questions than it answers in the increasingly fraught relationship between US foreign policy and the UK.

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