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Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the federal-amateur-hour dept.
New submitter StueyNZ writes "Justice Helen Winkelmann of New Zealand's High Court (non-appellate court) has ruled that the search warrants used to search and seize property from Kim Dotcom's Coatsville residence did not properly describe the offenses under which the search was being made. In particular, warrants did not make it clear that the breach of copyright law and money laundering offenses were U.S. federal offenses rather than NZ offenses. Therefore the search and seizure was illegal. I hope this means Mr. Dotcom gets his security footage back, which should shed some light on how many tourists from the FBI were present at the NZ police raid, and how many firearms those tourists were waving around as they joined in."
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Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal

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  • It's no surprise.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by intellitech (1912116) * on Thursday June 28, 2012 @07:46AM (#40477409)

    It's no surprise that this happened the way it did, and that the rest of the world really despises us because of the way our government throws it's weight around.

    I was once proud to be an american. Perhaps I still am, but my pride is severely diminished as of late.

  • Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @07:52AM (#40477441) Journal
    Has there, so far, been a single aspect of this case that didn't turn out to be an embarassing cock-up by the feds? Warrants not in order, video footage of the raid quietly goes missing, seized materials swiftly duplicated and fedexed out of NZ before anybody has a chance to object, Carpathia left sitting on tens of thousands a day in servers-in-legal-limbo, random megaupload customers who were using the place as a backup/transfer system locked out for months...

    Was somebody delusional enough to start out thinking that they had an open-and-shut case, and bodged it up? Did they start out thinking that; but start 'improvising' once it became clear that they didn't? Was the whole operation fully intended to be an incrementally-more-legal-than-just-having-a-Reaper-handle-it intimidation job?
  • Re:Jurisdiction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @07:52AM (#40477457)

    They worked with New Zealand police. Or did you forget that part?

  • Re:Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @07:58AM (#40477483)
    You seem to still think that this was about prosecuting Kim Dotcom. It wasn't.

    MegaUpload is done and dusted. There doesn't need to be a prosecution; It's Mission Accompllished. Dozens of similar sites shut their doors based upon these actions out of fear and intimidation, and that's what it was all about. "We're bigger than you, and we don't like what you're doing. We're going to beat seven shades of shit out of you in public, nobody is going to do a damn thing about it, and at the worst we'll get a strongly worded letter, which we'll use as toilet paper."
  • by jamesh (87723) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:12AM (#40477573)

    It's no surprise that this happened the way it did, and that the rest of the world really despises us because of the way our government throws it's weight around.

    I was once proud to be an american. Perhaps I still am, but my pride is severely diminished as of late.

    I'm also both amused and terrified at how stupid the American government can be sometimes. That investigation and raid must have cost a lot of money to put together... why not do it properly? (eg no obvious cock-ups that get the whole thing thrown out of court).

    I wouldn't feel too ashamed though... my government can be just as stupid... it's just they don't have as much weight to throw around and so their stupidity tends to to be more localised and so less newsworthy.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:13AM (#40477575)

    It's possible to be proud to be American and ashamed of our government. Although we are a government of the people, the government and the country as a whole are not the same thing.

  • Re:Jurisdiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:14AM (#40477593)

    The fun part is how you can do something overseas that's completely legal in the country you did it in, but then get arrested when you return to the US if it's a crime in the US. This is often used when citizens go overseas, have sex with young girls who are of legal age in their country but under age by US law, then arrested when they return to the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:15AM (#40477599)

    This is a good example of how totalitarian police activity can help to turn a career criminal like Dotcom into a hero. Look at this guy objectively: Has he done a single thing in his whole life which was not about breaking one law after another for his own selfish benefit? Don't delude yourself: he wasn't doing any of this to free our culture from Big Media or even to give you shit without you having to pay for it. This has always been about benefiting himself.

  • Re:Jurisdiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:24AM (#40477679)

    My next door neighbour had an extra-marital affair recently, and she's going to be travelling to Iran in the near future. Does anyone know the contact number for the Tehran Sharia Police?

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:28AM (#40477707)

    I've always maintained that the CIA has done more to damage to the U.S. over the years than any terrorist could ever dream of. Their work has built us up quite a long list of enemies too.

  • by LordSnooty (853791) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:29AM (#40477719)
    They got the megaupload servers offline, with much publicity, even if the whole thing is overturned there's no way it's returning in its old form. I'm sure the US authorities are thinking, 'job done'.
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:31AM (#40477735) Homepage
    So when you come to Europe and have a beer at 18, it's perfectly all right that you be arrested on setting foot in the US if they saw your vacation photos on Facebook ?!? Cancun is gonna close shop.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:33AM (#40477757)

    The fun part is how you can do something overseas that's completely legal in the country you did it in, but then get arrested when you return to the US if it's a crime in the US. This is often used when citizens go overseas, have sex with young girls who are of legal age in their country but under age by US law, then arrested when they return to the US.

    I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing the downside of this.

    Did you ever shoplift as a child or teen? How would you feel about having your right hand cut off upon entering an islamic country? What if you had a friend who lived in a western country but had dual citizenship by birth?

    Or how about this: Have you ever attended a rally or written a letter of complaint to an official? How would you feel about being jailed as a subversive if you went on holiday to China?

    If you don't understand the reason for jurisdiction, you really shouldn't be commenting. Laws vary so widely that you're bound to be a criminal somewhere no matter how you behave. Without some limits and barriers everyone who ever went overseas would risk jail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:44AM (#40477853)

    Find me a CEO of any fortune 500 company that can't be described in exactly the same way.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:54AM (#40477941)

    America has long been seen as the global champion of freedom and equality

    Which is, of course, mainly due to American politicians repeating it over and over and over again, not necessarily because of anything we've actually done. Certainly not within any of our lifetimes...

    I chalk it up to the last bit of Cold War propaganda that's still kicking around in the global collective consciousness. Give it another generation or two and, much like all the lessons learned during the Great Depression that have gone right the fuck out the window, it will all be forgotten...

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:56AM (#40477963) Homepage

    curious, why would you despise the US government for a treaty that the UK signed?

  • by Hizonner (38491) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:58AM (#40477987)

    Um, your culture? Your traditions? Your ancestry? You can't think of anything that somebody might use to define a country other than its location and its government?

    I think those things are BS, and I think patriotism is nothing but soft nationalism and needs to go away. But it's just absolutely idiotic to say that governments are all patriotic people have to be attached to. Or even that governments are what most of them are attached to.

  • by artfulshrapnel (1893096) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:01AM (#40478029)

    ...That investigation and raid must have cost a lot of money to put together... why not do it properly? (eg no obvious cock-ups that get the whole thing thrown out of court).

    They didn't do it properly because what they wanted to do was not properly legal. The US government wanted to prosecute someone on NZ soil based on flimsy evidence provided by biased parties, without due authorization or process.

    Protip for US Law Enforcement: If something you want to do is against the law it doesn't mean the law is bad, nor does it mean the law should be rewritten/removed. It means what you want to do is wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

  • Re:Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:05AM (#40478085)

    MegaUpload is done and dusted

    Yep, just like how The Pirate Bay got raided that one time and now they're gone forever.

    Kim Dotcom has way more money than a bunch of technically literate Swedish dudes. He'll do the same thing TPB did, though. He'll rebuild the site and make it as difficult as possible to take down on a technical level.

  • by universalconstant (1269920) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:14AM (#40478187)
    The last government who agreed to sign us up for the treaty is also despised for its lack of backbone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:32AM (#40478371)

    If something you want to do is against the law it doesn't mean the law is bad, nor does it mean the law should be rewritten/removed. It means what you want to do is wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

    Good advice for copyright infringers, innit?

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:35AM (#40478419)
    I think after this ruling, next time a country might be more skeptical when the US serves a warrant. There might even be just cause for blowing off the US DoJ in allied countries.
  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:38AM (#40478445)

    Well, let's look at this another way then.

    You need to be 18 to get a drivers license in Denmark.

    If you're an exchange student to the US you can get a US drivers licence at 16.

    Should those Danish exchange students be arrested and thrown in jail for having driven a car while in the US, once they return to Denmark?

    Keeping in mind, that they broke absolutely no laws while in the US nor while they were in Denmark?

    Or how about we turn it around.

    In Denmark the age of consent is 15. Suppose a 15-year-old US citizen travels to Denmark on holiday with his or her family and ends up having sex with a 15-year-old in Denmark.

    Should the 15-year-old be charged and marked for being a sex offender (statutory rape), travelling to engage in such etc., upon returning to the US?

    How about this one. US citizen living in Nevada travels to New York. In New York he's arrested for having paid for sex with a prostitute in a licensed and regulated Nevada brothel. Something that is completely legal in Nevada, but illegal in New York.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:38AM (#40478455)
    This might be the waterloo for copyright enforcement, and outrageous demands by the DOJ worldwide. Think about it. Since an NZ court threw out American charges, other allied countries get the nuts to do the same. The government might have to resort to *gasp* diplomacy, or even trying to respect the rights of citizens to maintain credibility.
  • That's impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:39AM (#40478459) Homepage Journal

    They got the megaupload servers offline, with much publicity, even if the whole thing is overturned there's no way it's returning in its old form. I'm sure the US authorities are thinking, 'job done'.

    But.. but.. that's impossible. The US government would never use force to create fear of vigilante justice in the minds of civilians, for purposes of effecting political or behavioral changes. Why? Because US government is against terrorism.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @10:12AM (#40478819)

    It means what you want to do is wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

    It's not necessarily wrong because it's against the law. There is such a thing as a bad law.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @10:23AM (#40478909)

    I have pride in the ideals of America. I do not have pride that the government no longer aspires to those ideals.

    And there is only so much that any individual can do. Especially if you hold justice and liberty as sacred.

    You can't just execute every bothersome politician. And it wouldn't do much good any way.

    All I can really do is be vocal, vote for the least bad option and maybe run for local office.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @11:19AM (#40479509)

    If the warrants are invalid the seizures are invalid. That means he gets all his money that was in NZ back and he can pay lawyers to fight the case in the US. One of things the FBI tries to do is take away your ability to fight the case by seizing assets. If Dotcom has the money to pay fancy lawyers he just might win the US case and the FBI will get one huge black eye.

  • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @11:28AM (#40479659)

    In the US it is quite clear that there is legal liability for law enforcement agents for exceeding their authority.

    Suits based on civil rights violations by law enforcement do happen.

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/06/07/37170.htm [courthousenews.com]

    Given NZ is a civilized nation I would hope the same applies there.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @12:52PM (#40481839) Homepage Journal

    Wait wait wait, you actually ASKED FOR A CITATION to demonstrate that we, as citizens, can't execute every bothersome politician?

    These bothersome politicians think it's fine to execute anyone they don't approve of. Our nation has been doing it for as long as we've been a nation. Half our first ten naval battles involved bombarding towns south of the border to force the residents to do business with United Fruit Company, aka Chiquita, aka Bonita. Still around, still killing people for profit, and now poisoning the earth too.

    We vote and the votes aren't counted. We protest and they invent new weapons to prevent us from protesting. Are you waiting for a signed invitation to a concentration camp before you'll believe that the system is not working for you and never will?

    I'd like to see enough people up in arms that no violence is actually necessary. As long as people are willing to have murder done in their name, though, it will continue.

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