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Jimmy Wales cheers Richard O’Dwyer ruling but UK legal concerns remain

Case should never have involved US authorities, claims Wikipedia founder
Thu Nov 29 2012, 14:00
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales courtesy of Joi Ito

WIKIPEDIA FOUNDER Jimmy Wales has told The INQUIRER that while he is pleased with the news that TV Shack's Richard O'Dwyer will not be extradited to the US, the incident raises worrying questions on the legal environment surrounding such incidents.

His comments come after the news on Wednesday that O'Dwyer had signed a plea bargain with US prosecutors to avoid extradition. This threat had been looming over him since the start of the year when UK Home Secretary Theresa May approved an extradition request from the US.

This led to a huge public outcry and in response Wales set up a petition to garner support for O'Dwyer, with over 200,000 signatures gathered in a just a few days.

Despite this the government said at the time that it would not be altering its stance on the case.

Now, in light of the announcement yesterday, Wales said that while he is pleased for O'Dwyer, he still has grave concerns with the existing legislation and how it is being used by the US and UK authorities.

"I welcome the news, but point out that this was a plea bargain, not a change of policy," he told The INQUIRER.

"The policy problem that someone can sit in the UK with no servers or anything else in the US, and be extradited to the US for copyright allegations is a problem.

"If what Richard did was a crime, he should have been prosecuted in the UK."

O'Dwyer's plea bargain came after the 10 year extradition ordeal of alleged hacker Gary McKinnon finally ended when Home Secretary Theresa May refused to send him to the US due to health concerns. µ

 

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