EXCLUSIVE: It was described by U.S. authorities as the “biggest military computer hack of all time,” and now the BBC is making a feature-length drama about the man behind the keyboard.
The BBC has greenlit The People v Gary McKinnon, which will tell the story of a Scottish computer hacker who broke into NASA and Pentagon military systems but avoided being extradited to the U.S.
The 90-minute single will be produced by Wall to Wall and is based on a script by Peter Harness, a writer who has worked on Doctor Who and Wallander. Lucky Number Slevin director Paul McGuigan is expected to be attached to direct.
The Guardian reported that the project was a feature film, but Deadline understands the BBC has commissioned the single drama for television. Production will begin next spring, with casting set to take place over the coming months. The BBC declined to comment.
In 2001, McKinnon gained access to American military systems in a quest to find information on UFOs from his apartment in London. He was arrested a year later and, with the support of his mother Janis Sharp, fought a decade-long battle against extradition. They succeeded in 2012 on the basis that McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, could be a risk to his own life.
He was able to hack into NASA and the Pentagon after realizing they used the Windows operating system. He left messages for U.S. authorities, including one that said: “Your security system is crap.”
Now 57, McKinnon lives in Leicester and runs a small search engine optimization company, according to The Guardian. The People v Gary McKinnon is based on Sharp’s book Saving Gary McKinnon: A Mother’s Story.