Hacker’s mother stands against Jack Straw in UK election

Gary McKinnon and his mother Janis Sharp
The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon has announced that she will stand against Justice Secretary Jack Straw in the upcoming British parliamentary elections.

Janis Sharp, who has campaigned tirelessly for her son who faces extradition to the USA after being accused of hacking into military computer systems, says that she blames Straw for eroding civil liberties and allowing Britain’s extradition treaty with the United States to go ahead.

By standing in Straw’s Blackburn constituency Sharp hopes to raise awareness of the plight of her son, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

McKinnon’s troubles started when he broke into the computer systems in order, he claims, to hunt for top secret information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and alien technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding from the public.

US authorities, meanwhile, alleged that McKinnon – known by the handle ‘Solo’ – caused nearly a million dollars worth of damage, shutting down systems responsible for the tracking the location of naval ships, and protecting Washington DC.

In a television interview, Janis Sharp explains why she is standing against John Straw in the UK elections:


In 2009, a Sophos poll of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believed that McKinnon should not be extradited to the USA:

[polldaddy poll=1404532]

Clearly McKinnon’s case is worth considering if so many of those tasked with normally protecting computers from hackers are so supportive of his fight against extradition.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.