Lauri Love, a 30-year-old from Suffolk, is accused of breaking into networks belonging to the Federal Reserve, Nasa and the US Army, and faces three separate criminal charges after his arrest on Wednesday.
Love had been indicted in the districts of Virginia, New Jersey and New York on various dates in 2012 and 2013.
According to the indictment filed in New Jersey, Love and others hacked into thousands of computers in the USA and elsewhere, collecting personal data from 104,000 people along the way.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the timing of its extradition request with British authorities.
Love’s solicitor, Karen Todner, said her client’s bail was cancelled more than a year ago and his arrest was “out of the blue”.
Love meanwhile faces an anxious wait until his full extradition hearing on 1 September.
His case will invite comparison with that of Gary McKinnon, a British computer hacker pursued by the USA for a decade after he broke into USA defence sites, who was also represented by Todner.
He initially was arrested in Great Britain in October 2013 and released on bail after he was charged under a United Kingdom law that permits the arrest of anyone who starts attacks from the U.K. on computers anywhere in the world.
This is not the first time that Love has been charged with hacking.
He is also alleged to have discussed the possibility of both defacing the Federal Reserve website and sending out fake emails to its users.
Using the moniker “peace”, Love, who is believed to have studied physics, maths and computing, told others in a chat room that he had ‘shelled, ‘ or infiltrated, the Federal Reserve computer system, the indictment said. Home Secretary Theresa May said the decision in the 10-year-old case was made on human rights grounds, after a medical review board warned that the extradition of McKinnon, who has Asperger Syndrome and “suffers from depressive illness”, would result in a “high risk” that he would commit suicide.
Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the USA attorney’s office in New Jersey, confirmed the information.
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