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.Net Magazine – Issue 187

March 3, 2009

net187cover130jpgI answered the “Big Question” in this months .net magazine.

You can view the original post here.

Does Gary McKinnon deserve a lengthy jail sentence in the US?

Just who is Gary McKinnon? An Asperger’s suffering, UFO-obsessed stoner, or a megalomaniac out of a comic book?

McKinnon’s hacks were definitely an impressive bit of work, and he did it right after 9/11 – in the league table of stupidity this puts him right up there with investing in Enron and making jokes about Manuel.

But let’s be clear. McKinnon’s stupidity pales into insignificance alongside the ease with which he humbled the US war machine. Neo from the Matrix he ain’t. Yet he managed to break into the most sensitive areas of the US defence establishment by scanning for blank passwords via a 56Kb modem.

If McKinnon deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars, the person in charge of network security should be right next door. The guy broke the law and deserves punishment. However, life membership of camp X-ray beach resort? I don’t think so. A week in the Big Brother house would surely suffice.

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