The UK’s Two-Faced Stance On Cybercrime

I couldn’t help but laugh when I read an article about the Home Office stance on cyber-crime last week, when Crime and Security Minister James Brokenshire said at the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance launch that “there should be no safe havens for cyber-criminals”! He called for  ‘international treaties, bilateral treaties, and common agreements between nations to make sure miscreants active outside their home country can be prosecuted when scams and hacks take place’.

Can’t Touch Me-I’ve Got Asperger’s!

I definitely agree with the statement, but I couldn’t help feeling it was two-faced considering the case of Gary McKinnon, who was arrested in Britain in 2002 for hacking into Pentagon and NASA computer systems. He caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage and is still wriggling his way out of deportation to the States for trial after nine years. The US government has been trying to have him extradited since 2002 when the FBI and British police tracked him down. Initially, his defence stated he was looking for evidence of UFO’s, but when that didn’t seem to work they suddenly found out he was suffering from Aspeger’s Syndrome. How convenient!

Related Post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/a-sorry-excuse-to-evade-justice/

The sad thing is, as the case drags on people are now feeling sorry for him and want him released. It’s ridiculous! They seem to have totally forgotten that he is a criminal and deserves punishment. It’s people like him that cause misery, expense, and often despair among computer users across the globe.

It is worthy to note that Asperger’s Syndrome did not appear to have any impact McKinnon’s ability to answer questions or explain himself during this interview. In fact, he came across as a perfectly normal person and much more intelligent than the two fawning interviewers who did nothing to hide their sympathy and support for him. To me, this man’s ‘defence’ is the weakest I have ever heard!

Ryan Cleary-That’s Funny So Have I!

Ryan Cleary, who is alleged to be a member of the now defunct Lulzec Group was caught a couple of weeks ago. Cleary, who is said to be highly intelligent, is going down the same road as McKinnon by claiming he too suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, and if these two stick to their stories they may never face trial.

Report on arrest of Ryan Cleary:

Related Post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/yet-another-debacle-with-english-law/

“Asperger’s Syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.” Quote from Wikipedia.

What this says in a nutshell is that a sufferer does not mix with others well, and suffers excessive concentration and attention on a single subject. It however goes on to say there is no significant impairment of cognitive development (i.e. relating to the process of acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning, intuition, or perception) or general delay in language (i.e. no speech or understanding impairment).

Now to me, this does not mean these two have any excuse for ducking the legal process, or for that matter, deportation when required by another government. They may not be functioning the full 100%, but close enough to it to face their comeuppance.

So this whole scenario makes the statement by Brokenshire somewhat of a barefaced lie. You cannot go around asking other countries to stop being a haven for cyber-criminals when we ourselves do just that. Every hacker, spammer, and cyber-criminal who gets caught can just claim to have Aspergers Syndrome and walk free!

Do As You Would Be Done By?

But there again, why not? Stranger things have happened within the British justice system! It seems the Home Office have forgotten the old saying: “If you wish to lead, lead by example!”

Roy.

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