NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will not face charges in the UK

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order

Gary McKinnonGary McKinnon, the British hacker who broke into US government computers hunting for evidence of UFOs and fought a long fight against extradition, has been told that he will now *not* face prosecution in the UK.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced the decision, three months after Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons that McKinnon would not be extradited.

The decision, which is unlikely to go down well with the US authorities, appears to end the controversial 10-year-long saga of Gary McKinnon's fight.

The 46-year-old hacker, who has been diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome, has had an impressive support group campaigning for him, with figures such as Sting, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and Julie Christie amongst those who backed his fight against extradition.

And it's not just celebrities. In 2009, a Sophos poll of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believed that McKinnon should not be extradited to the USA.

What do you think of Gary McKinnon escaping charges in both the United States and UK? Is it the right decision? Leave a comment below.

Here are some of the past stories we have written about this fascinating case:


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6 Responses to NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will not face charges in the UK

  1. Cool. Now free him and let him live his life.

  2. I heard he only got in because he found out military top brass names (all public knowledge) and then guessed their passwords as "password". One of them had such a password! This is not really his fault, as any kid could have got in. I feel they just want to make a skapegoat out of him and put him away for a decade or so.

  3. Alan · 990 days ago

    Free him? He's not in custody. Never has been.

  4. Robert Gracie · 988 days ago

    I would send him over to the USA and then I would employ him to show the Pentagon where to beef up security thats what I would do...put his hacking to a good use of showing where the United States lacks security to make their systems hack proof

  5. John Smith · 986 days ago

    So I guess that means the UK will now become the world wide headquarters for hackers who want to hack into other countries and never get caught , and if they do , they will never be punished.. Let alone extradited.. So much for British Justice...if he had hacked the Russians he wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes .. Let alone 10 years..

  6. John Smith · 986 days ago

    Actually it sets a bad precedent.. They will now call it the McKinnon defense .. Wait till someone does it to the British , and see how they like it.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley