British Hacker Loses Latest Try to Block Extradition

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker accused of breaking into U.S. military computers, lost his latest attempt at avoiding extradition to the United States. McKinnon is accused of hacking computers at the Pentagon, NASA and the U.S. Army and Navy in 2001 and 2002.

A British hacker's latest attempt to block extradition to the United Stateshas failed.

The British High Court ruled today that the case of Gary McKinnon, who stands accused of hacking NASA and other U.S.federal agencies, should go forward. It is the latest twist in a case that has stretched on for years. If McKinnon is extradited to the United States, he could face decades in prison.

McKinnon is accused of hacking his way into computers at the Pentagon, NASA and the U.S. Army and Navy in 2001 and 2002, causing a reported $700,000 worth of damage.

His attorney, Karen Todner, has reportedly said they will lodge an appeal within 28 days.

The court rejected arguments that extraditing McKinnon, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, would harm his health. The court also declined to reverse the decision of Britain's chief prosecutor, who has refused to allow McKinnon to be tried in Britain.

"For the reasons set out in the judgment, the claims against the secretary of state and the Department for Public Prosecutions are dismissed," Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said in the ruling, according to the Press Association.

McKinnon lost an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to block his extradition last year.

"It's clear that many IT workers have a lot of sympathy for McKinnon's ongoing plight and would rather see him tried in Britain as opposed to America," blogged Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at U.K.-based security firm Sophos. "Indeed, in a poll we have conducted here on the Sophos Website we found that 71 percent of IT professionals believe that McKinnon should not be extradited. The consensus is that it is perhaps inappropriate to make an example of a UFO conspiracy theorist when serious crimes are still being carried out by financially motivated hackers, stealing identities, sending spam and creating botnets."