from the big-brothers-gotta-stick-together dept
Lauri Love, the British hacker the DOJ has been dying to get its hands on, has just been handed over to the US by his own government. The decision issued today [PDF] basically states that honoring extradition agreements is more important than any concerns issued about Love's health and well-being once handed over to US federal agents.
Mr Love’s Article 8 rights are clearly engaged. In balancing the factors for and against extradition I am satisfied that the very strong counter-balancing factors required to find extradition would be disproportionate are not found in this case. Mr Love faces extremely serious charges for offences of computer hacking over a period of one year from October 2012 to October 2013. I accept Mr Love suffers from both physical and mental health issues but I have found the medical facilities in the United States prison estate on arrival and during any sentence if he is convicted available to him, are such that I can be satisfied his needs will be comprehensively met by the US authorities.
I am satisfied Mr Love’s extradition would be compatible with his Convention rights and I send this case to the Secretary of State for her decision as to whether or not Mr Love should be extradited.
Once in the US, authorities have promised to address Love's mental and physical health concerns by placing him in "segregated housing" while determining if he's capable of being housed in the general population. As anyone who's followed prosecutions of whistleblowers and hackers knows, "segregated housing" is just a colorful term for "solitary confinement" -- not generally known to improve the mental well-being of people who've already expressed suicidal thoughts.
On top of a trip to solitary, Love will be facing charges from three jurisdictions related to the alleged hacking of multiple government/government contractor websites and databases.
Mr Love is accused in three indictments in three districts as follows:
(i) Southern District of New York – Mr Love faces two counts on Indictment, one of computer hacking (maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment) and one of aggravated identity theft (maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment to be imposed consecutively to the sentence for count 1).
(ii) The New Jersey request details two counts on one indictment. One count is conspiracy to access a computer without authorisation and obtain information from a department or agency of the United States (maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment) and one of accessing a computer without authorisation and obtaining information from a department or agency of the United States (maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment).
(iii) The Eastern District of Virginia request contains nine counts on an Indictment, count 1 – conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer and to commit access device fraud (maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment); counts 2 -7 – causing damage to a protected computer and aiding and abetting (maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment); count 8 – access device fraud and aiding and abetting (maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment) and count 9 – aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting (maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment).
There's little to be gained by adding up the maximum possible jail sentence facing Love. Rest assured, if convicted, it will likely be over a decade. Consolidation of the cases and charges is likely, but more than one of the charges carry possible 10-year sentences.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, Love has managed to escape being jailed for refusing to turn over passwords and encryption keys to law enforcement. UK investigators fought hard to force Love -- who they've never formally charged -- to crack open multiple seized devices for them. This attempt was shot down in May by a judge who viewed this as an end run around protections built into RIPA, the laws governing law enforcement's investigatory powers.
The final decision on Love's extradition is in the hands of Elizabeth Truss, the recently-appointed Secretary of State for Justice. Truss' previous government work doesn't really provide much guidance on which side she'll come down on this, but her voting record tends to indicate she's more sympathetic to national security/law enforcement interests than those of her constituents. Considering the UK and US have a very cozy surveillance relationship, it stands to reason Truss will likely decide to appease the DOJ, rather than overturn the court's decision.