British hacker Lauri Love will not be extradited to the United States

The alleged hacker Lauri Love, Monday, at the High Court of Justice in London. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The High Court of Justice in London on Monday rejected the request for extradition to the United States of this 30-year-old who was prosecuted in three American states for entering the servers of the FBI, NASA and the American Federal Reserve.

Lauri Love will not be tried in the United States. The 33-year-old Briton is accused of infiltrating servers and stealing large amounts of data from the FBI, NASA and the US Federal Reserve, between October 2012 and February 2013, before publishing it on the Internet. But the High Court in London ruled on Monday that Love should be tried in the UK where he faces a lesser sentence. The American justice has two weeks to challenge this decision, greeted with shouts of joy, Monday morning.

The man, who as he left court said he was ‘grateful’, said: ‘The reason I went through this ordeal was not just to save myself from being kidnapped and imprisoned for 99 years in a country that has never I can go. This is a precedent that can prevent this from happening to others. “

Lauri Love has been charged in the states of New Jersey, New York and Virginia, which, if extradited to American soil, could lead to him serving a sentence of 99 years in prison. Following a US investigation, Love was arrested at his home in Stradishall, a small village in Suffolk, in October 2013 by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the British counterpart of the FBI. He refused to give them his encryption keys. The British Home Secretary signed an extradition order in November 2016.

Lauri Love filed an appeal in London in December. The judges then considered that his extradition was not “in the interest of justice”, and highlighted the risk that the accused would commit suicide. Edward Fitzgerald, Love’s lawyer, argued his client’s fragile mental health, prone to depression and suffering from Asperger’s symptoms (one of the forms of autism), and called the possible extradition “unfair and tyrant”.

“Forum bar”

US justice also accused Lauri Love of being part of the Anonymous movement, which launched #OpLastResort, after the suicide of the American hacker Aaron Swartz in January 2013, when the latter should appear next month for of wire fraud in the Federal Court. , after uploading hundreds of academic papers. The activists of this movement demand a reform of the legislation regarding the facts of hacking: in fact, the law of fraud and abuse of the computer, which was amended according to the Patriot Act in 2001, was widely criticized for its severity. Unauthorized computer access is a crime under US federal law, and will result in severe prosecution. The movement also aims to show the vulnerability of the security of servers used by government institutions.

Lauri Love has both British and Finnish nationality. In 2009, he declared his conscientious objection to avoid military service, which is compulsory in Finland. He later returned to the UK, where he studied physics and computer science at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He joined the anti-austerity movement Occupy in 2011, before abandoning his commitment and his studies due to a violent depression.

Theresa May, then Minister of the Interior, in October 2012, blocked the extradition to the United States of the hacker Gary McKinnon, nicknamed the “hacker of the Pentagon”, who broke into the servers of the American government. Also suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, and suffering from depression, he was considered likely to kill himself. Later May announced the creation of a “forum bar”, which provides for crimes committed in the UK to be tried there as well, if it is in the interests of justice. The Lauri Love case was the first to fall under this provision.

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