US Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday denied allegations from Kim Dotcom that the prosecution against the Internet tycoon was launched to appease Hollywood moguls concerned about online piracy. New Zealand-based Dotcom launched a “white paper” to coincide with a visit by Holder to…
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Lawyers for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom accused the US government Wednesday of launching a flawed prosecution against their client with “frightening” implications for all Internet users. The New Zealand-based Internet tycoon’s legal team released a “white paper” to…
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Kiwi officials have determined that the state spy agency that monitored Mega founder Kim Dotcom broke the law in 88 similar cases. Meanwhile Internet tycoon Dotcom is putting pressure on officials to apologize for the wrongdoing.Prime Minister John Key admitted the new information about the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) made for “sobering reading” and is certain to hurt the agency’s image.“I acknowledge this review will knock public confidence in the GCSB,” said Key, who is the minister in charge of the organization. “I expect the GCSB to always operate within the law.”Key ordered the review after a court ruled the GCSB’s surveillance of Dotcom that came in the months before the January 2012 raid on his Auckland home constituted illegal spying. GCSB officials insisted that the Dotcom controversy was an isolated event and that a subsequent review was unnecessary.Details of the 88 cases identified by investigators were not made public but Dotcom took to his Twitter account to call on the government to do the right thing. Key publicly apologized to Dotcom after the ordeal last year.“I’m surprised at the scale of the breaches,” the Megaupload founder wrote. “The Prime Minister should apologize to those people too and inform the targets.”Dotcom agreed with the opinion of New Zealand’s Labor party, which called for a wider report on the government’s intelligence policies, adding that it was the “worst feeling” upon learning he’d been spied on. A court previously ruled it to be within Dotcom’s rights to sue the government for damages.“These people have to know what happened to them,” Dotcom told The Dominion Post. “They need to have an option to take the GCSB to court. It might have an effect on whatever happened to them. And it’s really important at this point in time to really have a thorough independent inquiry into the whole matter.”Dotcom, 39, has long been the target of the US Department of Justice, which alleges that he’s cost US copyright owners over $500 million by facilitating Internet piracy. … Read More
It’s the headache that just won’t go away for New Zealand’s government and its top spy agency.
From December 2011 to January 2012 the spies of GCSB monitored Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his associate Bram van der Kolk. Both have New Zealand residency which rendered the surveillance illegal. Last month a High Court judge gave Dotcom permission to sue the government for damages over the incident.
Now, in documents obtained by the Labour opposition and handed to 3News, there is yet more embarrassment for officials tied up in the controversy.
Dotcom – who the papers reveal was given the codename of “Billy Big Steps” – was first subjected to monitoring on December 16 2011. The documents reveal that on this date the police were already in possession of papers which showed that Dotcom was a New Zealand resident and therefore exempt from GCSB spying.
By January 11 2012, just days before the huge raid on Dotcom’s mansion, the whole detailed immigration file was in police possession and by February 22nd GCSB knew that they had carried out illegal spying. Even so, it took until September 2012 for them to admit that to Prime Minister John Key.
Making matters worse and despite the catalog of errors, the papers show a GCSB operative stating that “..people here have been very relaxed about it all.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, high-profile heads are now beginning to roll.
The first casualty is Hugh Wolfensohn. He joined the agency back in 1988 as a legal advisor and was later promoted to Deputy Director of Strategic Policy and Corporate Services. From there he became Deputy Director of Mission Enablement, finally going on to become overall GCSB Deputy Director.
During the month-long monitoring of Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk, Wolfensohn was acting GCSB Director meaning that he was the person with overall responsibility for the illegal surveillance. After 25 years with GCSB Wolfensohn has now stepped down. When Prime Minister John Key was asked whether Wolfensohn was paid off he laughed and said that was something for the former spy to answer.
The news comes in advance of the findings of a high level inquiry ordered by Key into the spying fiasco and set to be published in a few weeks time. When pressed, Key admitted that there are still “big changes” to come at GCSB, which can only be good news for Dotcom.
Source: Kim “Billy Big Steps” Dotcom Still Causing Headaches For Spy Agency
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The Court of Appeal upheld last year’s ruling of the High Court,which the country’s attorney general was seeking to overturn.The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was spyingon Dotcom prior to the police raid on his home in 2012. The agencydid so illegally, believing that the German national had noresidency in New Zealand.The blunder led to Prime Minister John Key apologizing toDotcom, saying New Zealand “failed to provide that appropriateprotection for him.” Dotcom wants to include GCSB in a suit heplans against the police alleging wrongful arrest.The ruling also means GCSB will have to disclose to Dotcom’sattorneys detail of information sharing arrangements it had withforeign agencies, particularly US authorities. American lawenforcers seek extradition of Dotcom to the US for trial overalleged internet piracy and wire fraud. The charges carry a maximumsentence of 20 years, if proven. Extradition hearings are scheduledto begin later in March.Dotcom’s defense team questions the legality of evidence seizedin the raid after the warrants for it were declared invalid.Earlier the Appeals Court ruled that the US authorities are notobliged to present their entire corps of evidence against Dotcom tohis attorneys. A summary of the case is sufficient, the judgesdecided.Dotcom’s file storage service Megaupload was taken down inJanuary 2012 by authorities over its use to store pirated movies,music, software and other content. US officials say he and sixassociates caused damages amounting $500 million to copyrightholders and encouraged users to engage in piracy, allegationsDotcom denies. … Read More
Kim Dotcom has announced plans to garnish his encrypted file-sharing service, Mega, with an encrypted email service. The file-sharing mogul, who faces extradition from New Zealand to the U.S. over copyright infringements on his former site Megaupload, has reported swift success with new project Mega.Dotcom told the Guardian that the secure cloud storage service, launched in January, already had 3 million registered users who have stored a total of 125 million files in the first month of operation. “We’re going to extend this to secure email which is fully encrypted so that you won’t have to worry that a government or internet service provider will be looking at your email,” said Dotcom.Mega, unlike most cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, gives users both the encryption and decryption key. Dotcom has said the idea is to protect user privacy and his own ass: Mega, the provider, does not have the ability to decrypt the content it stores, so it cannot turn such content over to the authorities decrypted, and, Dotcom hopes, Mega can’t be held responsible for copyright infringing content stored as the provider can’t see the decrypted files.Continue Reading… … Read More