Tag: extradition

Kim Dotcom to face US court

Kim Dotcom, Wikimedia CommonsInternet presence Kim Dotcom will be extradited from New Zealand to the USA to face charges there, a court has ruled.

Dotcom, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, has vowed to fight the decision to extradite him to the USA.

If he loses, he faces a number of charges including money laundering, copyright breaches and racketeering.

These charges carry hefty penalties in the USA.

Big Content alleges that Dotcom has cost them as much as $500 million.

Three years ago, US enforcers shut down his megaupload.com web site and laid charges against Mr Dotcom, who changed his surname from Schmitz to reflect the zeitgeist.

Gamer turned alleged credit card hacker claims he is innocent

A Russian gamer accused of being part of the largest cybercrime ring ever has denied charges that could send him to prison for decades.

Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, of Moscow, told a Newark court that he was wrongfully arrested and he would fight the charges.

The prosecution claim that Smilianets conspired with a team of hackers from Russia and the Ukraine to steal more than 160 million credit card numbers in a series of breaches that cost companies more than $300 million.

According to Reuters, financial firms such as NASDAQ and Heartland Payment Systems, JetBlue Airways and J.C. Penney were hit.

Smilianets is alleged to have sold the stolen data after it was taken by four other members of his team. He was allegedly selling US credit card data for $10 and $50 for a European number.

He was extradited to the United States in September 2012 and has remained in federal custody since.

In Russia, he was most widely known as the founder of a computer gaming team called Moscow 5, which travelled the world for competitions.

He faces up to 30 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, another 30 years for wire fraud and five years each for gaining unauthorized access to computers and conspiracy to gain access.

The court heard how authorities had been pursuing the hackers for years.

The five disabled victims’ anti-virus software and stored data on multiple hacking platforms, prosecutors said.

They allegedly sold payment card numbers to resellers, who then resold them on online forums or to “cashers” who encode the numbers onto blank plastic cards. 

Richard O'Dwyer welcomes end of extradition case

British student Richard O’Dwyer has welcomed the end of a US court case following charges over copyright infringement.

O’Dwyer had been threatened with a prison sentence in the US after setting the TVShack website, providing links to pirated films and other content. The 24 year old has now had charges dropped, though the Sheffield student has been ordered to pay a £20,000 fine after appearing in a New York court.

O’Dwyer said that he was relieved that the case had now drawn to an end, adding that he wished the UK government had prevented the legal proceedings from reaching this stage. 

“I am very happy that it is finally over with,” O’Dwyer commented to reporters.  “I still believe that I never committed any crime. I am very pleased the US government has decided to drop the case against me.”

He added:  “It is quite frustrating that [the UK government] didn’t put their foot down at all about the extradition proceeding. I just think they could have done this in the first place.”

His mother, Julia O’Dwyer, who has carried out a campaign to highlight her son’s case, also said that she wished the UK government had stopped proceedings from getting to this stage.

O’Dwyer had faced years in prison over TVShack.  It had been alleged that he had profited by over $230,000 from posting links to copyright infringing materials. It was agreed last month that he would voluntarily apear in a US court to face charges.

Another British citizen, Gary McKinnon, was told that he would remain in the UK following a ten year battle against extradition to the US after searching for evidence of aliens on classified American networks. Home secretary Theresa May made the decision to block extradition following a lengthy appeal to keep McKinnon in the UK on health grounds.

However, there has been fierce criticism over the extradition agreement that exists between the UK and the US. MPs have lambasted the arrangement, which is deemed unequal in allowing relatively easy extradition to the US, but not in the other direction.

Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock said that while the case against O’Dwyer has reached a positive conclusion, it shows that there are underlying changes that need to be made to prevent similar instances occurring in future.

“What is disturbing still is that he went under the threat of extradition,” Killock said. “We are still vulnerable to requests under UK law”.

Killock added that there need to be “firm rules” put in place to stop any similar situations.

“We need the law changed,” Killock said. “It is great that he has been able to resolve the case, but it doesn’t mean that others won’t face similar charges in future.”

McKinnon to hear extradition verdict

Gary McKinnon is set to receive a verdict from the Home Office on his extradition to America on Tuesday afternoon, after a decade long wait.

McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner confirmed on Sunday via Twitter that a decision would finally be made over extraditing McKinnon to face charges for hacking into US government networks.

The mother of London resident McKinnon, Janis Sharp, has been fighting attempts to extradite her son for ten years since he was accused of breaking into military and NASA computers.

Sharp has repeatedly claimed that Asperger’s sufferer McKinnon would be at severe risk of suicide if he was subject to prison across the Atlantic.   It is thought that he could face a sentence of up to 60 years.  Sharp contends that McKinnon should indeed stand trial for his actions, but should face a judgement in the UK.

Sharp’s campaign has drawn the backing of prominent MPs in the UK, and has led to an appeal to the Prime Minister to resolve the problem directly with his US counterpart Barack Obama, she previously told TechEye.

McKinnon’s case has been at the forefront of discussion by MPs surrounding the existing extradition treaties between the UK and the US.  Many believe existing rules are one sided in favour of the US, with US residents considered highly unlikely to be extradited to the UK.

Successive Home Secretaries have had to deal with the thorny problem of McKinnon’s extradition. US authorities have been adamant he should stand trial and face imprisonment on American soil, and it now falls on Conservative Theresa May to make a final judgement over whether to acquiesce to those demands.

The Home Secretary has been under the spotlight for a number of extradition rulings in the past weeks. High profile case such as that of radical cleric Abu Hamza resulted in extradition, though another contentious case, that of Abu Qatada, recently ended with the Qatada being allowed to stay in the country.

May is also to announce verdict on demands from the US Justice Department to extradite UK citizen Richard O’Dwyer for piracy offences.

A verdict on McKinnon’s case is expected to be made at noon tomorrow.

Pirate Bay founder faces new charges

Pirate Bay founder, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, is reportedly facing new charges after he arrived home after being extradited from Cambodia.

Many wondered why Sweden was so keen to get Warg back after he fled the country apparently to escape from a one year jail sentence for copyright theft.

Sweden wrote a cheque for millions in relief aid which helped Cambodia come to a decision to extradite Warg, which many felt was a little over the top for a man convicted of annoying Hollywood studios.

According to AP, it turns out that Warg, 27, is suspected of hacking attacks against a company handling sensitive information for the Swedish taxman.

Warg, also known by his internet alias “Anakata,” was detained in relation to skipping the country for not turning up for his prison sentence.

But he was formally arrested upon arrival in Sweden early Tuesday as a suspect in the hacking investigation and could face a pretrial detention hearing in that case later this week.

The Swedes are very interested in a series of hacker attacks in which secret details of people living under protected identity in Sweden were illegally obtained from a technology firm handling information from the Swedish Tax Agency.

Hacking can earn you two years in prison under Swedish law.

Theresa May hands British sovereignty to Big Content

British Home Secretary  Theresa May is sacrificing the life of a young British citizen who committed no crime other than hacking off Big Content.

To be fair to May she would send anyone overseas to face a kangaroo court if the government asked her, but the case of Sheffield Hallam student Richard O’Dwyer is particularly unpleasant.

Under pressure from Hollywood, the US has started criminalising cases of piracy and using its legal system as a private police force for the studios. This unfortunately also means enforcing Big Content’s view about what is a “crime”.

A sensible home secretary would look at the charges that a British Citizen faces and question what he had done.

What O’Dwyer did was, when he was 19, open a website called tvshack.net which linked to places to watch TV and films online. In the UK this was not a crime – the movie studios complained and the CPS said it was not worth pursuing. So Big Content leaned on its tamed US cops to get an extradition on the kid so he could face the full wrath of US law.

In the US he could go to jail for a decade for doing something which is legal in the UK.

Needless to say that created a bit of stink with people who feel that May is ruining a kid’s life just to keep the US government happy.

To make matters worse, a US citizen who carried out a crime in the UK would not be extradited back to face the music. The US is better at protecting its own citizens than May.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Theresa May has told the House of Commons that she will not revisit plans to extradite to the US on copyright charges, saying her mind was already made up.

This lady is not for turning and the usual rubbish.  

May hopes that this will push her tough Margaret Thatcher style image, but the reality is that she just appears like a heartless careerist who would sell her own grandmother if she thought she could look good on the cover of the Daily Mail.

O’Dwyer’s only hope now is a court appeal.

But May might be finding that she is facing a lot of public support for O’Dwyer. Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales is arranging an army of celebrities to take her on.

He is quoted as saying May should be very clear that the case is not going to go away and new supporters are joining the campaign all the time. 

Theresa May throws O'Dwyer to the wolves

British Home Secretary Theresa May’s plans to bring transportation back into UK law are gathering pace.

For the last year, May has been sending asylum seekers back to whatever country wants to torture them and is now starting her new plan to transport people back to the colonies.

While many people would think the approach is dragging the UK back to the 18th Century, May can point out that was a period when Britain had an Empire and before the Labour Party gave it away.

May’s latest candidate for transportation is TVShack founder Richard O’Dwyer, who she wants to be sent to the US to be tried, jailed and never to see the white cliffs of Dover again.

Despite widespread calls for her to engage her brain and tell the Americans to sling their hook, May is insisting on transporting O’Dwyer to the colonies.

In doing so, O’Dywer gets one of those quaint American trials which lets the wealthy off but forces sentences of millions of years on those who can’t afford representation.

O’Dywer faces a charge of copyright infringement, which means that he has managed to annoy private companies so much that they have asked their friends in government to mount a criminal investigation.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ started an anti-extradition petition last week. May, however, does not seem to mind that 200,000 voters thinking she is bowing down to America is a problem.

She pointed out that the UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and so she signed an order for his extradition to the US.

It is true that May’s transportation policy might be questioned by his appeal hearing later in the year. However, the judge’s hands are pretty much tied by a bizzare extradition process which allows for British citizens to be dragged into US kangaroo courts, while American citizens cannot be similarly treated in a UK court.

Wales pointed out that the case against O’Dwyer is thin and if it is prosecuted anywhere it is should be in the UK. No US citizen has ever been brought to the UK for alleged criminal activity that took place on US soil.

In countries like New Zealand, extradition of people on copyright charges have not been going so well. Kim Dotcom’s arrest has already been ruled illegal and judges are asking why he is being charged in the US when his business had little to do with that country.

Still, if Teresa May’s desire to bring in transportation goes ahead, it could lead to all British criminals ending up in Australia, New Zealand and the US. 

Wikipedia founder fights for TVShack.net creator

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has started a campaign to stop the extradition of TVShack creator Richard O’Dwyer to the USA.

O’Dwyer, from Sheffield, is alleged to have committed copyright offences and is facing extradition to the US.

Charges against O’Dwyer in the UK were dropped before he was handed an extradition notice which leads many to believe that Big Content wants one of its famous kangaroo court show trials in the US – where O’Dwyer will face a jail sentence of a few thousand years and a multi-trillion dollar fine.

So far the British authorities have gone along with it. In January, a judge ruled he could be extradited to the US.

Home secretary Theresa May, who lists her hobbies on Facebook as “sending people to legal doom in other countries”,  signed off the extradition in March.

The thing is that in the UK, TVShack did nothing illegal. It linked to sites where video could be downloaded, but did not offer the downloading function directly.

It was like Google in that it acted as a search service for video content, sometimes leading to unauthorised sites. TVShack was not hosted in the US and so any “criminal behaviour” happened in the UK – so, he should face British justice and not the expensive charade of justice which is planned in the former colonies.

Wales has said that the internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement.

On the Change.org petition page he wrote, as citizens, everyone must stand up for our rights online.

O’Dwyer always did his best to play by the rules: on the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied.

Wales said that while copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose, it did not mean that its powers should be unlimited.

Nor did it mean that humanity should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.

Wales said Richard O’Dwyer was the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. It is similar to the fight againstanti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, when the public won its first big victory. This could be the second, Wales said. The petition has 12,610 signatures.

There is a chance that the rules might be changed. The House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee claimed the extradition treaty between the UK and the US was not protecting the rights of British citizens.

LulzSec hacker Ryan Cleary admits cyber attacks

LulzSec hacktivist Ryan Cleary has admitted to being involved in cyber attacks against a list of organisations, including the NHS, News International, Sony, Nintendo, Arizona State Police, and 20th Century Fox.

According to the Telegraph, he and another hacker, Jake Davis, 19, also admitted targeting the Westboro Baptist Church, Bethesda, Eve Online, HBGary, HBGary Federal, PBS, and Infragard. He confessed to other charges against him including infiltrating USAF computers at the Pentagon.

However, Cleary is denying that he posted confidential data to LulzSec.com, Pirate Bay, and Pastebin. He denies that he is involved in four other charges under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which allegedly happened sometime between January 2009 and June 2011.

Although Cleary has escaped an extradition to the USA, he is fighting charges against him in the UK, including allegations under the Serious Crime Act 2007, section 45, and assisting offences contrary to section 46.

Time will tell if the charges against Ryan Cleary hold up, and indeed, if they will discourage other hacktivists identifying themselves as Anonymous affiliates from launching more attacks.

A Forbes journalist who has been covering Anonymous for more than a year, and who was in court today, said that the phenomena is far from over.

“I would say that in spite of recent high-profile arrests,” the source said, “Anonymous as a phenomenon is still evolving and is not going away any time soon. If anything, it seems that a lot of people in Anonymous see those who’ve been arrested as martyrs, making them all the more galvanised about their community”.

“The upside may be that with arrest and the harsh light of a court room now a very obvious risk to some of the tactics carried out by groups like LulzSec,” the source added, “more people may feel encouraged to embrace digital activism by legal means”. 

Government shrink says Gary McKinnon not going to top himself

A psychology expert has advised the Home Secretary Theresa May that Gary McKinnon is not going to kill himself if he is sent to the US to face one of its quaint kangaroo courts.

Professor Declan Murphy’s latest assessment is different from what he said three years ago and has been made without seeing McKinnon. The assessment is based on intuition, or, as we say at TechEye, he guessed.

A few years ago he said that McKinnon would require one-to-one observation to avoid a serious suicide bid. It is not clear what could have happened in three years that would make McKinnon cheerful about his 60 year sentence. Perhaps he assumes that McKinnon would be happy to get out of the UK.

His report would allow Home Secretary Theresa May to authorise Mr McKinnon’s extradition. Theresa May loves her extraditions – she is so happy about extraditing ‘suspected terrorists’ despite the fact they probably will face torture that she promises to make it an annual event.

To be fair to May, the UK government has been wanting to get rid of McKinnon for some time, because the case highlights how one sided the extradition treaty between the US and the UK is. Basically, if the US calls, the UK must send its citizens over to face trillian year sentences for whatever bizarre crime they have decided is in their bible this week. If the UK asks for a US citizen to be extradited, the US tells the UK to sling its hook, which is pretty balanced.

In the case of McKinnon, he hacked into a military computer network 10 years ago and the US threatened that if he did not come over and face the music they would add decades onto his sentence. The US was particularly embarrassed that someone like McKinnon could hack into its computers. 

Murphy wrote that he judged the risk of McKinnon’s suicide to be moderate. The risk of actual self-harm could be “ameliorated by regular contact with mental health professionals and with supportive counselling and listening services of the type that are available within UK prisons”.

We notice that supportive counselling is not something which is mentioned in US jails unless supportive is what you have when two people hold you in the showers.

This report is suspect as it was made without Murphy actually seeing McKinnon. Most shrinks insist on seeing their patients before they write a report about their psychological state. But we are sure that Murphy gained an in depth view of McKinnon’s mental state by interviewing his Office programme.

McKinnon’s mum, Janis Sharp, pointed out to Channel 4 News that Murphy’s report goes against the expert opinions of four of the top people in the country, who say that Gary will absolutely be at risk of taking his own life.

She said it is an absentia report and it contradicts his previous face-to-face report.

McKinnon admits hacking but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs. He would be happy to be tried in a British court, where the sentence will fit the crime, but is less keen to be punished in a country that voted for Bush twice in a row.