Hacker hopes hit internet song will help to beat extradition rap
But now Gary McKinnon has become this year's most unlikely pop star.
McKinnon's online recording 'Only A Fool' has stormed into the MySpace charts, hitting the top five of most-watched videos alongside Christina Aguilera, the Pussycat Dolls and Rihanna. Campaigners hope the popularity of the song will help in their bid to halt the Scot's extradition.
The 44-year-old Glaswegian, who suffers from a form of autism, faces life in a US prison for using his dial-up modem to hack into military computer systems at the Pentagon and Nasa between 2001 and 2003.
The amateur songwriter managed to gain entry to the most heavily protected data systems in the world while sitting in the bedroom of his north London flat.
He became America's most wanted 'cyber-terrorist', was arrested by specialist UK police and faces being handed over to the US authorities.
McKinnon has always insisted he had no malicious intent and claimed he was motivated by his interest in conspiracy theories and a desire to find classified information about UFOs and aliens. He did, however, leave messages on US government computers that taunted it for its warmongering foreign policy.
Despite struggling from depression, McKinnon posted his self-penned track on MySpace and within 48 hours it had been viewed by more than 100,000 people – taking it to No.5 in the video charts.
McKinnon's melancholy ballad is a tale of survival in the face of great adversity. The chorus features the lyrics: "Don't stop, don't say it don't matter/If it ain't easy try harder/Only a fool would let it go/Don't stop, don't sit and do nothing/If it ain't easy say something/Only a fool would let it show."
The equally downbeat video features youngsters trudging around a bleak inner-city location.
McKinnon was first arrested six years ago, but the Law Lords rejected his appeal against extradition in August. The UK Government has fully backed America's attempt to bring the hacker across the Atlantic for trial.
The programmer, who wants to be tried in Britain, says he will be treated as a terrorist, with one US attorney stating authorities want him to "fry".