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AlterNIC founder faces extradition

Eugene Kashpureff's extradition hearing is delayed again, this time until December 12.

AlterNIC founder Eugene Kashpureff's extradition hearing was again delayed today, this time until December 12.

The FBI has issued a warrant for Kashpureff's arrest on federal charges of wire and computer fraud and is trying to get him extradited to the United States to face those charges.

Kashpureff had been slated for a bail hearing Wednesday, but "the crown," the Canadian equivalent of the state, asked for the hearing to be delayed, said Kashpureff's attorney, William R. Gilmour.

Kashpureff plans to fight the extradition, Gilmour said.

"He doesn't believe he can get a fair trial in the United States," Gilmour said. "He's the victim of political persecution. He can't understand why the government is pushing so hard, so vigorously, through so many avenues, to try to restrict his liberties over something where there was no loss to anybody. The whole thing is all out of proportion to what it is and he doesn't believe he's going to get a fair hearing."

The FBI is charging him with computer and wire fraud in connection to his hijacking of InterNIC's URL this summer.

In what Kashpureff called a protest, he modified the master database that acts as a phone directory for the Internet so that many surfers trying to get to "www.internic.net" instead landed at "www.alternic.net," the home page for the organization Kashpureff founded. Once surfers got to the AlterNIC page, they could read about the AlterNIC protest or click a link to the InterNIC page.

That is why Kashpureff and his backers are arguing that even though some might say he tampered with the basic Internet infrastructure, he didn't cause any material damage.

The FBI, on the other hand, is arguing that businesses lost money because they could not get to the InterNIC to register new domain names and that the InterNIC itself lost money.

Gilmour said he is baffled by the severity of charges. "I can't understand why it's happening," he said.

Kashpureff was originally arrested on Halloween by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under provisions of the immigration act. On Tuesday he was ordered released by immigration authorities and immediately rearrested pending an extradition hearing, Gilmour said.

"He never got out of jail," Gilmour said.

As for Kashpureff, a father of four, "He's not doing very well. He wants to hug his kids," Gilmour added.