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UK Judge Refuses to Give Computers Back to 'Evasive' Hacker Wanted in US

© AP Photo / Matt DunhamBritish national Lauri Love
British national Lauri Love - Sputnik International
Lauri Love, a British national, has been accused of hacking into the US Missile Defense Agency, Federal Reserve and NASA. His supporters have always said he should be prosecuted in the UK, not the US.

District Judge Margot Coleman ruled on Tuesday, 19 February, that Britain's National Crime Agency should be allowed to retain Love's computers.

The NCA, which seized the computers during a raid on his home in Suffolk in October 2013, says it is still investigating Love's activities.

Last year judges blocked his extradition to the United States, where he is wanted after allegedly hacking into several key government computers.

The NCA seized 30 items of computer equipment in the 2013 raid and has given him back all but six of them.

​Love, 34, made an application under the 1897 Police Property Act for the return of the six items, which included a Fujitsu Siemens laptop which contained hacked data from the Police Oracle website.

The other items were a Compaq computer tower containing pirated versions of films, a Samsung laptop containing data, an SD card containing encrypted files, a Western Digital external hard drive containing an encrypted file and a hard drive containing hacked and encrypted data from the United States Department of Energy and the Senate.

In her judgement, Judge Coleman explained why she had rejected Love's request to get the equipment back.

​"I found Mr. Love to be evasive. He repeatedly tried to avoid answering questions by posing another in return…and would say nothing until full disclosure had been made to him and his legal team within a criminal prosecution. The applicant has the right not to self-incriminate but his refusal to answer questions about the content of the computers has made it impossible for him to discharge the burden of establishing that the data on his computers belongs to him and ought to be returned to him," said Judge Coleman.

"He did concede he should not have the private details of individuals. He asked me to accept an undertaking from him that if the computer hardware is returned to him he would not decrypt or even attempt to decrypt any of the data. That is not a course I am willing to take," she added.

The US authorities want to extradite Love to face cyber-hacking charges.

But in February 2018 Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley blocked his extradition, claiming it would be "oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition."

He currently lives with his parents near Newmarket.

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