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Gary McKinnon's Biography

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On 31 July 2009, Gary McKinnon lost a court bid to avoid being extradited to the US, for what the USA described as the biggest military computer hack ever. Gary McKinnon claims that he was merely seeking UFO evidence.

Gary McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp gave birth to Gary in Glasgow when she was just 17. Janis and Gary's father, Charlie, a scaffolder, split up when Gary was six.

Gary and his mother settled in North London. She remarried a musician, Wilson Sharp.

When he was 17, Gary McKinnon left school in Highgate and trained as a hairdresser.

However, he studied computing at the University of North London, but failed further maths and dropped out of the course.

He became a business network support manager.

However, McKinnon's obsession with UFOs and computing would drive him away from his day job.

From an early age McKinnon had been interested in UFOs and he had got involved with an internet-based group, the Disclosure Project.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Gary McKinnon hacked computer systems operated by the US army, the navy, the Pentagon and NASA.

The Guardian quoted Gary McKinnon:

"It was frightening because they had little or no security ... I was always leaving messages on the desktop saying, 'Your security is really crap'."

The Guardian points out that a message by McKinnon saying that US foreign policy was akin to government-sponsored terrorism and that 9/11 was an inside job would come to haunt him.

On 19 March 2002, Gary McKinnon was arrested by the Metropolitan Police for offences under the UK's Computer Misuse Act 1990.

He admitted his guilt. A bigger problem came however when the states of Virginia and New Jersey issued indictments on charges of their own.

Gary McKinnon was diagnosed in August 2008 as having Asperger's syndrome, and his family and friends were concerned about a possible deterioration in his health and even a real risk of self-harm if he was extradited and tried in the USA.

On 9 October 2009, Gary McKinnon was refused permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against his extradition to the USA.

In October 2012, the then home Secretary Theresa May blocked McKinnon's extradition to the US. A few months later the Crown prosecution Service stated that Gary McKinnon would face no further legal action.

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