Security is key in modern IT. To this end, many large organisations employ the services of so-called “ethical hackers”, who probe their security and give valuable feedback on its improvement. And it’s a growth area with good rewards. So you’d think that anyone who has demonstrated a flair for this kind of thing would be in demand.
Which brings us to the case of Gary McKinnon, who is definitely in demand. Unfortunately, the demand is from the USA, and it’s for his extradition. McKinnon managed – if the charge sheet is to be believed - to get into almost a hundred military computers around the USA. The Yanks aren’t happy, and he faces a jail sentence which could be as long as 60 years. However, given he has already admitted the acts, and the potential for plea bargaining, the likelihood is for something well into single figures to be handed down.
This, however, has not stopped the usual suspects from leaping to his defence: Young Dave has been telling how he would jolly well renegotiate the whole extradition agreement with the USA. Well, he might, but then again, after getting elected, he needn’t bother. Anyone fancying a bet should put their money on Cameron speaking with typically forked tongue. The Lib Dems are probably more genuine in their dissent, but they would be most unlikely to be in the position to have to face down the Yanks.
Yes, the extradition agreement we currently have with the USA is asymmetric. But the UK is, as ever since Suez, in need of Washington’s intelligence, assistance and usually its say so in both overt and covert military operations. This hurdle will not be mentioned by the campaign against McKinnon’s extradition, typified by a magnificent example of blowhard journalism in the Daily Mail. If only the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre were so keen on defending all our citizens, regardless of race or religious orientation.
Of course, there is another option for the Government: they could try McKinnon in the UK – but they’d have to get the Yanks to agree – and then send the bloke round to work at the MoD.
That way they’d get their security. Sorted.