McKinnon could be tried for hacker crimes in Britain

Hacker Gary McKinnon, who faced extradition to the US for hacking Pentagon and NASA systems, may now be tried in the UK.

According to a report in the Guardian newspaper, McKinnon's lawyers said he would plead guilty to a UK offence under the Misuse of Computers Act. The request has already been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Any prosecution in Britain would make extradition to the US unlikely. McKinnon, who has Asperger's Syndrome, has already admitted accessing the computers. The hacker claimed that he was simply doing it to search for extra-terrestrial life.

The US authorities claim that he caused around 360,000 worth of damage to US military and NASA systems by deleting data and illegally accessing computers.

McKinnon's fight against extradition began in early 2007. He has appealed through several different legal channels, from the High Court and Law Lords to the European Court of Human Rights. So far, all of his appeals have been rejected.

According to the Guardian, he has received support from the National Autistic Society (NAS), as well as from politicians.

Click here for IT PRO's timeline detailing the most important events in McKinnon's battle to avoid US justice.