Hacking is wrong, but abuse of process is wronger …
“Lawyers for Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon told the House of Lords US authorities had warned him he faced a long jail sentence if he did not plead guilty.
“The systems analyst is accused of gaining access to 97 US military and Nasa computers from his London home.
“Known as Solo, he was arrested in 2002 but never charged in the UK.”
So far, so bad. Breaking into computers has very little justification, and “just having fun” isn’t exactly a defence. However:
“Without co-operation, the case could be treated as a terrorism case, which could result in up to a 60-year sentence in a maximum security prison should he be found guilty on all six indictments.
“With co-operation, he would receive a lesser sentence of 37 to 46 months, be repatriated to the UK, where he could be released on parole and charges of `significantly damaging national security’ would be dropped.
“A US embassy legal official quoted New Jersey authorities saying they wanted to see him `fry’.”
This bothers me. A lot. It’s too much like security theatre, as well as being flat-out immoral. He did something wrong: he should be punished. But he should be convicted properly, and punished appropriately, not intimidated into pleading guilty in order to inflate someone’s prosecution records.