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UK court denies extradition appeal for man who hacked US government computers

[JURIST] The UK hacker behind unprecedented cyberattacks on US military and NASA computer systems in late 2001 and early 2002 lost an appeal Tuesday in the UK High Court to avoid extradition to the US. Last May, a UK judge recommended extradition [JURIST report] for Gary McKinnon [CNET interview; advocacy blog] to face criminal charges [US DOJ indictment] in a US court as a cyber-terrorist, allegedly causing $700,000 in damages. UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] quickly approved the extradition recommendation.

McKinnon will apply to have his case heard before the UK House of Lords as one last chance to avoid extradition. If extradited and convicted in US courts, McKinnon may face serving his entire sentence in US prisons because of the cyber-terrorist charges. McKinnon admits that he hacked into US computer systems seeking evidence that the US concealed evidence of UFOs and other "hidden technology," but claims the level of damages asserted by the US is "ridiculous." AP has more. BBC News has local coverage.

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