Hacker McKinnon loses final appeal

Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon, the British computer hacker caught accessing US government computers has today failed in his final appeal against extradition to the US.

Glasgow-born McKinnon, who now lives in London, could face a life sentence once he is tried in a US court having admitted that he hacked into computer systems belonging to the US Department of Defence (DoD) and NASA, allegedly in search of information about UFOs.

He lost his initial case at the High Court in 2006 before being given leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

The judgement of the Law Lords, the highest court in the land, was handed down this morning, and he now faces imminent extradition.

US prosecutors claim he defaced and altered documents on computer systems at a naval air station shortly after the 11 September terrorist attacks, and that his activities rendered the systems inoperable, creating a military security risk.

McKinnon has admitted that he accessed computers in the US without permission, but denies sabotage, instead insisting that he was simply a misguided computer geek in search of information about UFO incidents.

He has also appeared and spoken at several events about his experience and exploits as a hacker.

It is unclear at this stage whether he will be able to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for a further appeal.