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Petition to stop extradition of UK hacker (change.org)
153 points by sparknlaunch 1828 days ago | hide | past | web | 52 comments | favorite

If I host content in the United States that is illegal in Iran does that mean I can be extradited to Iran to face charges?

I hope this kid fights this tooth and nail with good lawyers. He needs good representation as this case has potential to set very important precedents surrounding basic issues of sovereignty and jurisdictional precedence.

Is the US government going to argue that physical location is irrelevant on the internet? Does a crime committed on the internet happen simultaneously in every country? I'm really curious how the US government will present their arguments in this case. And equally curious how much the UK is willing to lose its right of sovereignty.

That depends if the USA was foolish enough to sign such and agreement with Iran. Extraditions are basically quid pro quo contracts between nations. We signed a doozy.

The UK signed an extradition agreement a few years back, basically saying we (UK) will allow the US to extradite for crimes that are only crimes in the USA. And we get no reciprocity. Oh, and we need to prove your murders committed crimes to a much higher standard of proof than the other way round.

It is a controversial measure - to be honest more controverisal for the 'just what photos of the prime minster and cabinet did the CIA really have?' as opposed to any shock that the UK government failed once again to stand up for itself.

No, not bitter.


Isn't the case over? I thought the extradition trial ended months ago.

No, because there's no extradition treaty between the US and Iran. Extradition treaties only get set up between countries with a reasonable sort of trust in the fairness of each others' legal systems.

Extradition between the UK and US is usually pretty easy, except in cases where the defendant is likely to face the death penalty in the US; the UK currently has an issue with this.

This is literally unbelievable. I was shocked when the US attacked Kim Dotcom, but you know... he is a big fish and anyway i hope he will be able to fight back. But this is gone too much further. They are trying to rule the world in this way. This people gained too much power. I am really frightened for our future.

> This people gained too much power. I am really frightened for our future.

Agreed entirely. Unfortunately, as history likes to remind us, the only way to resolve these issues is legitimate bloody and violent rebellion. Unfortunately there are too many morons staggering in the dark and too many weapons in the hands of the powerful for this to work any more.

However as the balance of power changes, people have nothing to loose at which point TSHTF.

I'm not promoting this btw - I'd rather it was resolve civilly.

As a Portuguese, our history does certainly not show that:

The Carnation Revolution (...) was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance. The Portuguese celebrate Freedom Day on 25 April every year, and the day is a national holiday in Portugal.

The name "Carnation Revolution" comes from the fact no shots were fired and when the population started descending the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnation flowers were put on the guns' ends and on the uniforms. These events effectively changed the Portuguese regime from an authoritarian dictatorship (the Estado Novo, or "New State") into a democracy, and produced enormous social, economic, territorial, demographic, and political changes in the country (...)

Although the regime's political police, PIDE, killed four people before surrendering, the revolution was unusual in that the revolutionaries did not use direct violence to achieve their goals. Holding red carnations (cravos in Portuguese), many people joined revolutionary soldiers on the streets of Lisbon, in apparent joy and audible euphoria.


> as history likes to remind us, the only way to resolve these issues is legitimate bloody and violent rebellion.

I don't like this statement. It removes the thinking behind what a better, non-bloody, non-violent alternative could be.

Sorry but you are too much of an idealist and nowhere near a realist.

a) You have to work with the rest of society which doesn't have the same moral standard as you (or me). Consider the London riots.

b) You would be killed without them so much as blinking. Consider Afghanistan civilian drone attacks and the lack of accountability around it and the rapier missiles sitting on top of council blocks just for the olympics and 10k troops stationed at Grenwich barracks.

I'd like it to be that way but it's just not realistic.


Somehow people protested all over Europe againist ACTA, and governments backed off, and nobody got killed by predator drones or otherwise.

Governments and publishers want to censor internet, but we're not yet at the point of no return, we can still fight them with demonstrations and petitions and watching their hands. And that's what we should be doing.

That's ACTA, which is a trivial distraction from extraditions at the moment. Its a pacifier rather than a major policy change.

Yes! / to crush the tyranny / let's find ourself a new Robespierre / a Lenin / a Mao / I mean / what could possibly go wrong?

I'm not suggesting that. The balance of power should remain in the hands of the citizens, not the government.

Have people forgotten that government is centralized servitude, not centralised control.

Yes, what beats bullies are usually bigger bullies

It's a complicated gamble

I'm signing the petition because I don't believe he should be extradited, however it's quite clear that he broke the law and was profiting from his crimes. I hope this petition is only against extradition and he will still be charged here in the UK.

Which law exactly was he breaking? And how did you determine that it is quite clear?

From a news story:

> The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claims that the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue before US authorities obtained a warrant and seized the domain name in June 2010.

I have been unable to find any evidence that he has denied this claim, so I am assuming that what the ICE claimed is accurate. TVShack.net (and TVShack.cc) were very high traffic websites (top 1000 at their highest according to Alexa) and based on my own knowledge of advertising revenues at such volumes of traffic the suggestion that he earned >$200,000 is one that I don't have a hard time believing.

Specific to whether or not he committed a crime, a UK Judge has said he did:

> during O'Dwyer's extradition hearing, it was held by the Judge that the offences alleged were also illegal under UK law.


Earning money via advertising is not a crime. Google does this.

Annoyingly, O'Dwyer's wikipedia article is scant for information on UK charges & the reasons for extradition - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_ODwyer. If anything, it is quite unclear which UK laws he has broken.

Yeah, that's true, but Google also complies with DMCA.

DMCA is a piece of US law. Why is DMCA relevant to a kid setting up a website in the UK?

Also just to add, If he did start providing evidence as to why he didnt break the laws (UK/US), it would show that he has a reason to extradited. (in order to defend the claims against him)

"His extradition hearings are based solely on proving he has a case to answer in the US" - [1]

"O'Dwyer cannot present an in-depth response to the allegations he faces during his extradition cases, as these need only prove he has a case to answer and the actions" - [2]

[1] - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/24/richard-odwyer-extr...

[2] - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/24/richard-odwyer-lega...

So it could be argued that it's possible that the ICE intentionally made misleading claims (eg: he earned $230k) in the hope that it would force him to address the claims and then cause justification for the extradition?

Maybe, although i'm sure he has said he did receive this money, but was spent on hosting bills etc, so he wasnt really earning anywhere near that amount.

Just one fact/opinion to add that is always missed out on the petitions etc:

"The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claims that the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue before US authorities obtained a warrant and seized the domain name in June 2010."


The guy was earning heaps of money.

So someone in the US ICE makes a claim and that magically entitles us to kick them over the border and brush our hands.

That's just fucked up.

So what if he made lots of money from advertising. He took a chance. If it's illegal in the UK, then he should be prosecuted here. If it's illegal in the US, none of their fucking business.

Let's also not forget that the US ICE are probably guilty of many more REAL crimes than this guy so this is a whole pile of hypocrisy coming from one of the least "free" countries in the world:


Now I don't think this guy should be extradited, but it is worth taking a look at what his site was. Here is the last capture I could find in the way back machine. This doesn't look like a search engine to me, more like a curated collection of links to copyrighted TV shows and movies. I couldn't say whether he was 'trying to follow the law' or not.


The FAQ is particularly amusing:

""" 7- Why are there so many Megavideo hosted videos on TV Shack? Can't you use another video host?

A: TV Shack staff is currently working toward providing many different alternatives to hosting sites that are accepted for submission. There is a movement taking place (thanks to our regulars) to provide an alternate link for all Megavideo links on the website as evidenced by The Megavideo Replacement Initiative. We have very little control over where videos are hosted being that we are not the ones hosting the videos ourselves. TV Shack simply links to these hosting sites. Nevertheless, please ask yourselves, would you rather not watch the video at all? Megavideo has "bad" aspects to it, such as limiting the time that you can watch. Fortunately, it also has very good aspects, such as good quality, very fast streaming and fast upload abilities.

Also, please keep in mind that you're watching videos for free as opposed to spending over 20 dollars at the movie theater or purchasing a show. This should help you put things in perspective (keep in mind that prices change but this is a normal, typical price). The following prices are in US dollars!

Prices for 1 adult to go to the movie theater:

Typical US movie theater ticket: $10 Typical US nacho-coke or popcorn-coke combo: $10 Typical US parking (if it's in garage such as at the mall): $5

Total for 1 adult to go to the movies: $25

Prices for 1 season of a popular show:

Scrubs - The Complete First Season (2001) bought at Walmart (link) (it's the cheapest place from what I have seen and heard):

Discounted: $34.86 List Price: $49.99

So, as you see, you're saving quite a lot of money (especially when putting several visits to the theater or seasons together) by having to wait a little bit of time.

In other words, yes, we will try to find videos on other hosts for our users. We will even try to provide alternate links for you to watch the video on whichever host you enjoy. However, when there is no other host which has the video, we will link to Megavideo because something is better than nothing (or having to spend quite a bit of money on it). """

So does Google. Your point?

Google has a registered DMCA agent, includes a DMCA dashboard ( https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-dashboard?hl=en ) and replies to take-down requests.

I imagine good faith applies in Google's case and they are protected by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_harbor_%28law%29 .

And all that is (or should be) completely irrelevant since we are talking about a British guy hosting a website that not primarily targeted US audience.

I am not a lawyer but I am fairly sure O'Dwyer does not have to abide the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Google, as an American Website, however has to.

According to the Extradition Act 2003 of the UK Parliament [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extradition_Act_2003 , http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/UK_USA_extradition.p... ], article 2.1, "An offense shall be an extraditable offense if the conduct on which the offense is based is punishable under the laws in both States by deprivation of liberty for a period of one year or more or by a more severe penalty.".

I suspect the UK law that was broken was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Economy_Act_2010 and that is being used by US to request the extradition.

Once on US territory, US law would apply.

At that level of income, a significant part of his audience could be proven to be from US. It would also matter if he used US servers, US registrars (.net is controlled by Verisign which is an American corporation) and so on, but I doubt prosecutors would have much issues in proving US jurisdiction once he's in USA.

What you say makes sense, assuming that jurisdiction is clearly with the country that is requesting extradition.

What I fail to understand is why the US has jurisdiction here. What brings this crime to the US? If it is just that the US is on the Internet too, then the logical extension would be to pass this guy around every country in the world, which is clearly ridiculous.

He should be answerable to the law. But the UK seems like the appropriate jurisdiction here, not the US. If the problem is that UK law doesn't cover this case, then that is what should be questioned, rather than pretending that the US has jurisdiction in order to work around the rule of law.

From the message of the petition it appears that also him complied with take-down requests.

Let's say the truth that we all know... Google, is google, they cannot go against it because it's too big, it's easier to bully with someone smaller than you.

I don't know if you're from US, but that's not how things work: don't get me wrong, there's a lot of bullshit in the US regarding SOPA, how laws are made, how lobbying works, but legal-wise, the more money you have, more of a target you are, so if Google were to do illegal things per US legislation, they would be sued even faster than this kid.

I suspect the main difference in Google versus a specifically-made torrents search engine is the good faith criteria that would apply to Google. Also, it's not enough to reply to take-down requests in order to plea safe harbor protection, you actually need to have a registered agent and pay the registration fee (around $100).

Why should UK citizen comply with DMCA?

The point is that the DMCA provides a safe harbor for the masses of copyright infringement on YouTube. The UK doesn't have the DMCA, so no safe harbor.

Google also hosts the actual content. This guy didn't.

Any links on Google to pirated content are an initially unavoidable byproduct of crawling the web. Whereas providing access to pirated content was this guy's core business and value proposition.

Interview with Richard O'Dwyer here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4155627

Jimmy Wales supports the case: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4155689

So why does this petition need my street address, postal code and country?

Perhaps so that if there's a dispute about whether the signatures are genuine, a random sample can be verified to prove it.

Have you ever wondered whether you would have had the courage to join the protesters for freedom, had you lived in 1940s India, 1980s Russia or 1990s South Africa? I like to think I would, but who can say for sure; it must've taken courage far beyond anything being asked of us here and now. But we can at least do what is asked of us.

Because it's a petition, not an online poll. Because petitioner signatures are given to the petitionee, and should represent real people, not faceless internet folk.

If you're not willing to publicly support the cause, you clearly should not sign it. (Although you can choose not to have your name listed on the front-facing site.)

To help the FBI track you.

I support Richard O'Dwyer, but I'm concerned about my own anonymity. These people are crazy, i'm not signing this petition.

Why is a USA person (Mr Wales) petitioning a UK goverment about a action that is instigated and being carried out by a USA goverment.

THIS makes no sence. It is like complaining to my local GP about starving children in africa!

If you think it is wrong about him being extradited then take it up with those extraditing him and those who have brought these actions into being. Shout all you like to the UK goverment but all they can do is point at the USA and go talk to the hand, sadly.

So personaly I see this is a futil petition that is because it is targeted at the wrong people.

Perhaps it is because the UK is ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not to extradite.

Off topic but how is it more beneficial to add your name to the change.org petition vs the e-petition service offered by the White House (https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions) / Her Majesty's Government (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/)? From what I understand the "official" ones at least guarantee your petition to be discussed by those in power once a certain threshold is crossed.

This is sad. He may be guilty or may not be because of his act. But him being extradited to US is definitely not making sense.

This approach has been tried in the past and been ignored sadly.

How about the approach of:

Whoever runs the DNS aided and abeted the alledged crime. Google is just as guilty by this precedence being set.

Sure there are many other overlooked angles, but given the facts i'd say the media industry needs a dressing down and told they are not the law.

> Whoever runs the DNS aided and abeted the alledged crime. Google is just as guilty by this precedence being set.

This would never stand in criminal law. Criminal law cares about intent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea

> Google is just as guilty by this precedence being set.

I beg to differ. Google might be guilty of this, since google has business in the US. However, as far as I understand, this wasn't illegal in the UK, and as a UK citizen, running a server in the UK, you have to be able to feel safe from prosecution, as long as you follow the laws in your country.

So, I'd say, if anything, google might be guilty, this guy isn't... well, unless you claim that he is guilty according to US laws, but that's just plain silly.

What if I had to be extradited to a different country, where being an atheist is considered a crime?

beg all you like but I see no difference between Google offer a search engine that points to content, same as this chap did with torrent links. That is the comparision.

There is a difference, even if you are unable see it. Consider this:

Is linking to copyrighted material Google's sole purpose?

Was linking to copyrighted material the sole purpose of TVShack?

The intent of the person behind the site is clearly important here. Intent is definitely taken in to consideration in cases such as this.

Just for the record, I don't think he should be extradited to the US over this. But I do think his intention was to make money from adverts that were posted next to copyrighted material. Is that a crime in the UK? I don't know, but it is a question that should be answered by the UK courts.

My point is that "guilt" should be determined by the laws of the country you reside in. Even if google is guilty of it (I'm not saying they are), it doesn't mean this guy is. Why? Because they abide by different laws, since they are governed by different laws.

To me, this is as preposterous as if Norway had strong ties with some Muslim country, and extradited me because of caricatures of Muhammad.

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