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McKinnon loses High Court appeal

Gary McKinnon has lost his battle at the High Court to avoid extradition to the US.

Court ruling

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon has lost his High Court appeal to avoid being extradited to the US.

Judges said that his extradition was "a lawful and proportionate response to his offending."

McKinnon allegedly hacked into NASA and US military computers looking for evidence of UFOs between February 2001 and March 2002.

He did not deny accessing the computers, but refuted the claim he caused $700,000 of damage.

In February 2007, a high profile legal battle began to stop his extradition as, if found guilty, McKinnon could spend decades in a US jail.

Following the result this morning, his mother Janis Sharp, who has led the campaign on her son's behalf, told the BBC: "We are heartbroken. If the law says it's fair to destroy someone's life in this way then it's a bad law."

Security software vendor Sophos polled 550 IT professionals, finding seven out of 10 believe McKinnon should not be extradited - a view matched by many IT PRO readers.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "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."

The Daily Mail, which has campaigned to get McKinnon's trial to take place in the UK, has reported that Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay is resigning over the matter, believing the Government didn't do enough to stop the extradition order.

McKinnon has already taken his case to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights, so the appeal at the High Court was seen by many as his last chance.

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