Extradition! Free Trips to the U.S.
"young geeks sitting in their bedrooms"
by Susan Basko, esq.
The United States Department of Justice is trying to give away FREE trips to the U.S. to several lucky winners. The prizes are being awarded mainly to young geeks sitting in their bedrooms. These folks are balking and not wanting to take the trip, also known as "fighting extradition." Here is a glimpse at a few of the cases:
Kim Dotcom: Mr. Dotcom - and yes, this appears to be his legal name, has been charged by the U.S. with criminal copyright violations for allegedly allowing copies of U.S. music and movies to be on the servers of his popular website Mega Upload. Kim Dotcom lives in New Zealand and is always seen dressed tastefully in black. He has a really big house that was raided by the U.S. FBI in a Rambo-esque raid involving helicopters and hundreds of agents dressed in battle armor. Mr. Dotcom has never been to the U.S., his business is not in the U.S., and he has no assets in the U.S. The U.S. has been battling to extradite him since 2012 and it looks like a hearing to determine whether he will be extradited will be held in September or October 2015. Mr. Dotcom has very good lawyers; their court filings are a joy to read. This article on Torrent Freak will get you started in understanding that case a bit.
Gary Davis: Gary Davis was allegedly a Silk Road administrator. Since Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder, was given an outlandishly unfair trial and then sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Davis justifiably wishes to stay out of the clutches of the U.S. Gary Davis also has the autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers, a condition which is ignored and mistreated in the U.S. justice system. Is it a crime to help run a website? Ireland is not interested in pursuing this as a crime. Mr. Davis' extradition hearing continues. This article in the Irish Times can get you up to speed on this case.
Eric Eoin Marques: Eric Marques is from Ireland, but has dual U.S. citizenship because he was born in the U.S. Mr. Marques has the autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers. He is known to have sat all day in his bedroom in his father's apartment, where he quietly founded and ran the Tor website hosting company called Freedom Hosting. Freedom Hosting made it quick, easy, and cheap for anyone to start a website on Tor, aka the Deep Web. Freedom Hosting had a strict Terms of Service that did not allow anything illegal on the sites. Freedom Hosting was a one-man operation, even though its website claimed it was not. As with any website hosting company, some users pushed the boundaries and did not follow the Terms of Service. Mr. Marques apparently failed to ferret out the offending websites, and now the U.S. Department of Justice has charged him with running the servers on which other people ran sites containing child pornography.
To make the case more salacious and to prejudice the public and media against Mr. Marques, the U.S. Prosecutors have referred to Mr. Marques as "the largest facilitator of child porn on the web." This is like charging Amazon Web Services for all the legal violations taking place on the websites it serves or charging the owners of Twitter for all the millions of death and rape threats and obscene pictures on Twitter. Ireland has stated it is not interested in pursuing this matter as crimes under its own system. Will Ireland throw Eric Eoin Marques to the dogs? If a young man can sit in his bedroom and create a very successful website hosting company that demystifies the Deep Web, why does the U.S. want to charge him with crimes, rather than aiming its prosecution at those actually running child porn sites? Why is Ireland not stepping up to claim this bright young man and protect him? Extradition hearings took place at the end of June 2015 and a decision is expected in the upcoming months. The Irish Times has a story here.
Lauri Love: Lauri Love is a British student and former member of Occupy Glasgow, Scotland. He is known as a peace and social justice activist who allegedly hacked some U.S. websites. The U.S. issued indictments against him in 3 different federal districts in different states. He was arrested, let out on bail, the bail was dropped a year ago. Then he was arrested again and let out on bail again. He is fighting extradition to the U.S. This story in The Guardian gives a bit of background.
Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary MacKinnon, yet another young man with autism who fought off extradition to the U.S. over computer hacking charges, made this statement to The Guardian: "They are just young geeks sitting in their bedrooms; they're not murderers, they're not terrorists, they're not selling secrets, they're just searching for information," said Sharp. "Being taken away from your country is a sentence and it is not [in line with the principle of] innocent until proven guilty. Extradition was meant for terrorists, not some young British geek in his bedroom in Suffolk."
The statement by Ms. Sharp seems more than apt. It appears the U.S. is trying to scour the planet and imprison young folks with good computer skills. The U.S. is dragnetting young entrepreneurs and innovators and thinkers off the internet. We need to ask what this is all about.