Gary McKinnon ison charges of hacking and causing damage to U.S. defense sites. If found guilty, he could face 60 years in prison.
When the U.S. request for extradition, McKinnon admitted that the prospect of facing court in the U.S. "terrified him." Beginning Tuesday he faces a hearing scheduled to last three days to see if he will remain a free man.
McKinnon was arrested in June of last year on charges of computer fraud, and claims that he had illegally accessed 97 U.S. government computers. In July, McKinnon said that his actions were prompted by an interest in the U.S. space program and the.
The U.S. prosecution team alleges that McKinnon hacked into sensitive equipment over a one-year period from February 2002 and caused $700,000 worth of damage. McKinnon, though, denies causing serious damage.
Although McKinnon was arrested in the U.K. shortly after his alleged hacking activities were first exposed, he was released under caution. Since being charged by the U.S. authorities, he has been banned from using the Internet.
Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.