Professional Practice Ethical Case Study for Part 2 Gary McKinnon Introduction This report discusses about ethical issues that has been quoted from the Guardian “the biggest military computer hack of all time. ” Gary McKinnon a Systems administrator from Glasgow; born 10 February 1966 who is suffering Asperger’s Syndrome and has been blamed upon of hacking into the United States Government computer systems. He presumably “states that he was merely looking for evidence of a UFO cover-up, the suppression of Free Energy, and other technologies potentially useful to the public. However the damages have resulted from this incident cost more than $800,000 of the Military and NASA’s computer security. This all first began in 1983 when Gary went to go to his local cinema to watch the movie WarGames, about a whiz kid who had hacked into the Pentagon, from an interview with Jon Ronson; The Guardian, Gary said that from this movie he did not mean it to actually come true, and had a thought in mind that he would work for the department of defence or NASA, on the other hand this is not the case for Gary’s case.
Between the years 2001 and 2002 Gary McKinnon was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act in the UK just after the 9/11, and got bail by 2005. During that year the US government had started the “extradition proceedings,” Gary would face up to 70 years jail in the US, which would of exceeded to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, yet comparing the US punishment towards the UK it is considerably less. This case is still active, and McKinnon’s mother has prevented extradition from a long campaign.
This report will look further in detail of what has been discussed above, as well as: * Gary’s Supporters/Appeal * Issues on his Disability * Damages on the US security These are the Ethical Issues which I think that should be discussed about Gary McKinnon’s case. Ethical Issues Surrounding Gary Mckinnon On August 2008 Gary McKinnon’s Legal team settled on yet another appeal, this then lead onto finding out the fact that Gary McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but before the appeal Gary’s legal team made sure that the appeal would be granted first.
Asperger’s Syndrome’s symptoms can come across “repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests,” and I think that this can clash against what has been mentioned before about the movie that Gary had seen when he was 17 about the whiz kid that hacked into the Pentagon. This may have affected Gary’s thoughts and even quoted from an interview “I didn’t mean it to actually come true. ” From his interests and curiosity of UFO’s and other aspects, I do not think that anyone expected the result from all that has happened.
Gary McKinnon was accused of hacking into 97 different NASA and the United States computers in the years 2001 and 2002, he had used the name ‘Solo’ and had additionally got accused of hacking into various networks that was used by US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of defence and NASA. In the USA Gary McKinnon currently have up to 20 charges which include: * Obtaining USA Top Secret Documents * Intentionally damaging Computer protection software’s * Interfering with maritime navigation equipment * Stealing computer files * Deleting critical computer files * Deleting Navy Weapons logs
The list that is shown above is just a few out of the damage that Gary caused USA. With all this that has been accused upon Gary McKinnon, he denied of causing any damage arguing against his search of UFO information. However he did admit that he left a threat on one computer, this referred to how useless the USA computer security was especially after the 9/11 attacks, he will carry on disrupting at high levels. His statement represented his belief that the 9/11 attacks was an inside job. What Gary attempted to prove was that once you’re on the network called ‘NetStat’, this would list the connections to that system of the US army/NASA etc.
And Gary was not alone; there had been hackers from Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Thailand and more doing the same as Gary. Hackers from all over the world were just simply going through files without any of the military realising. He had been doing this for more than 5 to 7 years just looking through files until the day that he got caught. Gary had been through many unfair trials such as McKinnon Vs United States 2008 which the defendant disputed “that the plea bargain constituted ‘unlawful pressure’ and had amounted to an abuse of process”.
This case was then dismissed because the case was not proven enough to oppose extradition. On the other hand with another case in 2009 McKinnon Vs Secretary of State of Home Affairs it was discovered that Gary is suffering Asperger’s Syndrome and he claimed that it would clash against the European Convention on Human Rights. The Outcome There have been many supporters for Gary McKinnon, with websites, and even grown to be supported by the National Autistic Society and Liberty, this campaign that is been running by groups of people would hopefully end the extradition.
There are groups online from Facebook, Twitter many web forums to show that the public believe that he should not be extradited. More with cross party politicians supporting and ‘high profile individuals’ such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross. To get more people to support Gary, a petition had been arisen to support him to stop his extradition before it is too late. With the entire case in hand, the two countries have come across a huge disagreement, the US is simply wanting the extradition to take place so that Gary McKinnon can get up to 70 years in prison, with the UK trials 70 years is undoubtedly not close to that number.
But without finding out that he has suffered Asperger’s Syndrome, for the people who have supported Gary McKinnon has said that he is “less blameworthy for his crimes… does not necessarily mean that he can distinguish right from wrong. ” There are still many questions for Gary and the future, Will Gary McKinnon’s Asperger’s Syndrome get worse and end up change his sentencing? Should people with mental disabilities be treated differently under our legal system? Conclusion For different people there are different opinions about Gary’s entire case, many people found him guilty as they seen him as deleting and intruding on mportant files from the US. Others had and still are supporting him to prevent him from getting extradition. What is the case with Gary McKinnon till this day? Currently Gary would have to face an extradition case during May 2010 just after the general election for the UK; this would mean that after the election this would leave a new government which could possibly lead into Gary McKinnon’s favour, in support of Gary; the opposition ‘Tories’ have tabled against UK-US extraditions.
Also Gary’s mother ‘Janis Sharp’ has announced her candidacy to stand against ‘Jack Straw’ former Labour Home Secretary and current Minister in Blackburn (Lancashire) but confusingly Jack Straw is the least person to blame for the situation that Gary is in, he was the foreign secretary with the UK government who which negotiated with the US government that resulted in the Extradition Act 2003. Personal Reflection
When I first went through this case study, I was surprised and shocked in the situation that Gary McKinnon was in, I had never heard of this even though it was all over the international news and had a huge effect on the US government. With my initial thoughts I was against Gary McKinnon that he had hacked into the US and deleted important files and I immediately thought that he would be sent to prison. However I read on with the case study that was given, researched on his situation and his court cases and then realised that this was a two way condition with arguments from two countries, whether he should have to face extradition or not.
I had read on the Guardian with an interview with Gary from Jon Ronson and read along the lines that he did not mean to delete any files; it was just a matter of researching his quest of finding information on UFO’s. Then in the Wikipedia information it stated that he did admit on showing a threat referring that the US Governments security was not safe at all and many people had hacked in it many times from all over the world.
With my thoughts I would support Gary McKinnon, there are many people from around the world that are hacking into the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of defence and NASA. With Gary’s case he had been through a lot, with the United States after him, suffering Asperger’s Syndrome and having to trial against the US for up to 7 years. I think that it could possibly end for him if the May 2010 British elections go the right way for Gary McKinnon.