Obama has announced that he will create a new “cybersecurity czar” to protect us all from hackers, identity fraud and online terrorism — or, as he put it, “weapons of mass disruption.” Fair enough. Yet will the appointee be able to affect the fate of poor Gary McKinnon — aka “the biggest military hacker in history” — an eccentric (to say it mildly) Briton who hacked into the Pentagon’s computer systems to look for evidence of extra-terrestrial life.
The US Justice Department is persisting in its ridiculous bid to extradite 43-year-old, so that they can put him on trail on charges of cyber-terrorism and have him banged up in jail for up to 70 years. The complicated legal attempt to do so has cost the US taxpayer millions of dollars.
Now, McKinnon is a strange fish — and nobody wants a situation in which any nerd with enough cyber savoir faire can break into sensitive government files — but he is certainly not a grave threat to national security. The attempt to make an example of him is a cruel waste of time and money – a weapon of mass disruption.
PS The video interview of McKinnon on the above link is weirdly interesting and enjoyable, not least because it seems to be set in the garden of a country pub.