‘Embarrassment’ for NZ govt after ruling
Fri, 29 Jun 2012 5:51a.m.
By Kim Choe and 3 News online staff
A US technology writer claims the FBI runs the risk of making Kim Dotcom an "internet freedom fighter" after the court case against him faced a major setback.
Yesterday a High Court judge ruled that the raid on his mansion was illegal, a decision which could be a big blow to the FBI’s case against him.
Speaking from New York, CNet.com senior writer, Greg Sandoval, says in the court of public opinion Dotcom is already a winner.
“The prosecution of him could make him bigger than ever, he could become, if he loses, a martyr, and if he wins he could start another company,” says Mr Sandoval.
“This prosecution is helping him become a celebrity.”
Mr Sandoval is applauding the New Zealand court system for taking a look at the processes used by authorities during the raids.
Next week Dotcom's legal team will be back in court, trying to get back hard drives belonging to his file-sharing company Megaupload from the FBI.
The Megaupload founder was all smiles last night after winning over neighbours at a Coatesville community meeting but his real victory had come earlier in the Auckland High Court when Justice Winkelmann ruled the search warrants which saw police helicopters swoop on Dotcom's mansion in January were invalid.
Luxury cars and art work were seized in the raid and bank accounts and internet services were frozen, but by relying on those warrants the search and seizure was illegal.
In a statement, Kim Dotcom said that he and his co-defendants were happy with the judgment, and were considering their next steps.
The American authorities too will be deciding what to do next.
Law Society spokesman Jonathan Krebs says the ruling could have a huge impact on the rest of the case, including attempts by the US Government to extradite him from New Zealand.
“Evidence in court has to be admissible and to be admissible it has to be fairly obtained and if it’s been obtained pursuant to unlawful warrants that’s a pretty good steer that the evidence may well be unfairly obtained and shouldn’t be admitted,” says Mr Krebs.
Dotcom's lawyers are now asking that no more copies of his hard drives be allowed to leave the country, and that those already with US authorities be returned.
They also want anything that is not relevant to the case returned.
Speaking to Firstline this morning from California, Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken, called the seizures a “privacy intrusion” and says the High Court decision in favour of his client is an embarrassment to both the New Zealand and US governments.
“You have family photos, you have financial spreadsheets, you’ve got Microsoft Word documents, you have DVDs, you have just a vast amount of information that is private in nature and something that ought to be kept away from the government snooping on it,” says Mr Rothken.
“I think it's embarrassing for both the US as well as New Zealand. New Zealand apparently was induced by the United States to do this, and in what is being called the largest copyright case in history by the United States. One would think that they would use a high standard of care in how they carried out their operations. This situation looks like nothing more than a desire just to take down the Megaupload cloud storage site at any cost, and worry about the consequences later on.”
And media commentator Wayne Hope says the decision is a victory for new media.
“This is a defeat for the film industry and the music industry in the United States who are driving this,” says Mr Hope.
“And there's another new world, isn't there? - of file-sharing, counter-party exchanges, Apple, Google and social media. So the old media have had a real hit here.”
A hearing is due to start in the United States tomorrow, in an attempt to get the case against Megaupload thrown out altogether.
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6/07/2012 4:57:54 a.m.
The TPP could allow the US and US companies to trample over NZ (and any other country signed to it for that matter) whenever they want.
1/07/2012 3:35:15 a.m.
It an embarrassment to all New Zealaners to why the American should retreive the multi millionaires private materials.. The man is under New Zealand once granted a NZ residency therfore you have no right and no business here at all and whatever evidence you are seeking for is bellow 0..Dotcom and his acomplish CAN SUE you, rethink..
29/06/2012 6:58:57 p.m.
This was all done to appease the US govt, who would have been pushing hard for it to happen. People should be angry about the fact that they trampled all over our country's sovereignty, and angry at our govt for letting them. They took evidence back to the US that they were legally not allowed to take, and the Police/govt let them. The FBI has NO business being here, ever. The ruling stating that no more material can leave the country is a joke, they will have shipped everything they wanted off to the US the moment they got it. Big Media obviously thought Kim Dotcom would be an easy target and chose to make him suffer on behalf of all the millions of websites out there that also (deliberately or not) infringe copyrights. Looks like they were wrong.
29/06/2012 6:02:36 p.m.
Kim for NZ Prime Minister.He has more brains, guts and business nous than anyone else.Plus he is a Kiwi hero.Look how good Angela Merkel is, danke Dotcom.
29/06/2012 5:00:16 p.m.
NZ has utterly disgraced itself and betrayed its people! The illegal Rambo-style raid has exposed our administration for what it is: lackeys of the US.
A raid of this nature must have been signed off at the highest level. Those individuals must not be allowed to get away with this.
And make no mistake, this goes well beyond Megaupload. It profoundly undermines our sovereignty and sets a dangerous precedent.
This is the most significant event of this nature, since the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.
Heads must roll!
29/06/2012 3:00:07 p.m.
We all know that the nz police was just showing of to the FBI with the police jumping out of the helicopter and armed police etc etc.woohoo FBI look at us whos the idiots now.
29/06/2012 2:29:20 p.m.
Woohoo! Go Kim!
@S, Kim Dotcom is not stealing income from anyone. He set up a service with terms and conditions which users agreed to before being able use it. It's not his fault that some users breached the terms and conditions.
It's like if you rented out a house to people and asked them to sign a contract saying they wouldn't do anything illegal, but then they start growing marijuana and start a drug ring. Sure for one house it might be possible to enforce the rules regularly, but if you have over a 100 million for example, it becomes impossible to enforce the rules every second. All major websites have this issue, e.g. Google, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
29/06/2012 1:42:54 p.m.
I wonder if Facebook is going to be done by the US for all the illegal copyright infringements on their servers. It is the users downloading copyright or illegal material and up to the respective countries/government to put in measures to trace and prosecute users. Is Telecom/Telstra/Orcon etc going to be prosecuted, raided and their equipment confiscated for copyright material downloaded on their servers and equipment. Was the last picture or joke emailed to you or on Facebook copyrighted, scanned a book page or something you bought that was funny so you photographed it? Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh look out that search warrant is coming your way. Hope it is an original.
29/06/2012 1:29:15 p.m.
Congrats!!!finally freedom is protected.USA government is corrupt to the bone.
29/06/2012 1:11:59 p.m.
not hard to make them look like bumbling fools when they Are.
further, corruption is in evidence all over the place with this nonsense.
i've actually been following US sources on this as well: they just make it look even worse, as the various attacks on the megaupload company itself were illegal as well. (simply put, it has no agency(?) in the USA, therefore cannot be served under US law... there's more to it than that, but that's problem number 1. then there's the US government's constant attempts to get evidence destroyed and prevent megaupload from being allowed legal representation... and that's just the beginning of the irregularities. care to tell me how a website paying it's hosting bills is evidence of 'money laundering'?)
seriously, all your comment tells us is that you're trying your hardest to be the stereo-typical ignorant American who thinks patriotism means the government can do no wrong.
news flash: when your politicians are bought and payed for, the odds of them doing Right are far lower, especially in matters where those doing the buying have an interest in one side.
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