Lauri (pronounce Lowry) Love is a Finnish-British man charged with hacking into the US Army, Missile Defense Agency and NASA via several computers in his parents home. He was arrested in October 2013 for suspicion for offences under the 1990 Computer Defense Act and his computers were seized. He has never been told what crimes he committed. After posting bail and the UK finally dropping charges, he is now incarcerated to be extradited to the US for hacking into the above mentioned agencies. If he is extradited to the US, he could face up to 99 years in jail and 9m in fines. In Britain, being sentenced for this would be a few months served, but the US is extremely severe in their punishment for hackers, especially after the 2016 election which they claim was hacked by Russia.
Lauri has expressed his dread of being extradited and has simply stated, ““I will kill myself before I’m put on a plane to America,” Love tells me. “They can use as much violence against me as they want, but my will is sovereign over my body and my life.” With such a statement you would think the British government would not allow him to be extradited but as seen in other cases such as Julian Assange’s case, Britain does not respect the human rights of the individual.
Love is being represented by Courage Foundation’s Naomi Colvin and so far the case against his extradition has been unsuccessful and upheld. The case has one last option to appeal and that is in the high court. According to The Guardian:
“It’s difficult to see how anyone can be so obviously under the threat of suicide and yet we would still extradite,” says Karen Todner, Love’s UK lawyer. “To extradite would be horrendous; It would make a mockery of the Human Rights Act.”
Another direct quote from the Guardian is:
“I often think about how I would kill myself,” he says, after a moment. “Maybe I’ll jump in front of that bus? So I have to concentrate on understanding that there is a beneficial purpose to my going through this. People died for the legal rights and protections we enjoy in the UK. People died for the right to not be held up pending your trial. People died fighting for the right to see the evidence.”
99 years in prison as a sentence is a severe and cruel punishment for a non-violent crime and the United States government needs to realize that their hard-nosed, harsh approach to cases involving hackers and whistle blowers is wrong and unjust. Although this is a sensitive time for the US when it comes to hackers, it does not justify violating human rights of individuals with such cruel punishment.
To Love, computer is like the sound of music and it speaks to him. Since his early teen years he has been in love with it. If the US government had any sense, they would hire people like Love and other computer geniuses to protect their agencies rather than use them as examples to other hackers. However, most government officials feel they have no use for such individuals.
Advocates of Love feel this case is extremely important in stopping the extradition of said individuals to the United States because of the fierce punishment by US Law. It truly is arguable that the US has become the worse example of severity in cases regarding whistleblowers, hackers and those that publish such documents as gained this way. Look at the case of Julian Assange, editor and publisher at Wikileaks and his detainment of 7 years.
If you have the opportunity to support Lauri Love’s case, please write to Theresa May, prime minister of the UK government at