A British hacker who has been fighting extradition to the United States for the past seven years is getting support from some well-known musical backers.
David Gilmour, singer and guitarist for the iconic English rock bank Pink Floyd, has already recorded a song for an upcoming CD that's now being put together to support Gary McKinnon, now 43, according to Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mother. McKinnon is an admitted hacker who in 2001 broke into computer systems in the Department of Defense, NASA and the U.S. Army.
McKinnon, who was an unemployed system administrator in the U.K. at the time of the 2001 hack, has been using a series of legal maneuvers and appeals over the past seven years to fight extradition to the United States.
McKinnon was indicted in November 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has said he broke into U.S. military computers hoping to uncover evidence of UFOs.
As McKinnon continues to fight extradition, his vocal supporters have been waging their own battle.
Late in January, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, wrote a newspaper column calling on President Barack Obama to call off U.S. efforts to extradite and prosecute the British hacker. Johnson called the U.S. extradition efforts a "legal nightmare" and a "comment on American bullying."
In an email to Computerworld, Sharp said McKinnon's supporters are putting together the compilation CD to raise awareness about his case and to hopefully get Obama's attention. The CD, which is slated to be released next month, will include Gilmour's recording, along with songs from other artists, whose identities have yet to be disclosed, she added.
Sharp noted that the CD will be available for download, and that her son's supporters are looking to distribute in retail stores as well.
Earlier this month, McKinnon's supporters held a musical protest outside the U.S. embassy in London. The protest was timed to correspond to Obama's arrival at the G20 summit of world leaders held in London.
McKinnon has described in detail how he hacked into the U.S. military computers at computer security conferences in London.
The U.S. government alleges that McKinnon caused US$900,000 in damages to computers in 14 states, and that he caused the shutdown of critical military networks shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He faces a sentence of 60 years or more in the U.S.