POLL RESPONDING readers of The INQUIRER have a soft spot for Gary McKinnon and would rather that he work for the US government than be punished by it.
McKinnon was the subject of an extradition request that could have landed him in prison for around 60 years. His family and supporters fought his extradition for ten years, though, and last month, after a decade in limbo, the UK Home Secretary blocked his extradition.
After that news, which was welcomed by McKinnon's supporters and harumphed over by the US, we asked readers a simple question, "Should Gary McKinnon face a court case in the UK, now that he won't be extradited to the US?"
The overriding majority of responses fell into the no camp, but thirty percent of you were more punitive in your responses.
A surprising 28 percent of readers said that what he allegedly had done, which was wandered into NASA's servers, was illegal and that he should be tried for his alleged offence.
Just two percent said, "Yes, we can't let the US think that the UK is weak on cyber crime." Which is a slightly jingoistic, but to be expected.
The yes responses were in the minority though, and by far the largest contingent of readers, 42 percent, said no, McKinnon should not be tried in the UK, but instead the US government should hire him as a security consultant.
This makes some sense, since he was able to make his way into systems that were so important that the US government could think of no other punishment than 60 years in prison.
More negative responses said, "No, he's suffered in legal limbo for 10 years already." This got 19 percent of responses. Nine percent sympathised with McKinnon's quest, saying that he should not be punished, answering, "No, he was only looking for UFOs anyway." µ