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NZ Broke the Law Spying On Kim Dotcom, PM Apologizes 235

Posted by timothy
from the no-hard-feelings-right? dept.
Mad Hamster writes "In the latest installment of the megaupload saga, an official study has determined that New Zealand's Government Communications and Security Bureau broke NZ law by spying on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. NZ Prime Minister John Key has apologised to Dotcom and all New Zealanders for this, saying they were entitled to be protected by the law but it had failed them. Link is to writeup in The Guardian." Lots of outlets are reporting this, based on TorrentFreak's report.
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NZ Broke the Law Spying On Kim Dotcom, PM Apologizes

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  • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:33AM (#41476839) Homepage Journal

    Don't do wrong, especially to bad people, since in the latter case you have to apologize to bad people, and it sucks.

  • Whats this?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren (1009823) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:35AM (#41476873)

    A politician and government owning their mistake? Color me impressed.

  • Still not over. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Infernal Device (865066) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:40AM (#41476915)

    Awesome. Thanks.

    Now, how about handing out some punishments to the people responsible, so they don't try this sort of bullshit again?

  • Hollow sentiment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:41AM (#41476937)
    Come back when you've prosecuted those guilty of breaking the law during this process, all the way up to your own staff. I'd also say that he should be compensated for losses, but it would be paid with tax payer money, and ultimately it's not the tax payers who threw him to the wolves.

    FWIW, Kim Dotcom is a scheister with a history of extremely shady business dealings, but even criminals deserve justice.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:47AM (#41477013) Journal

    This report shows that officials broke the law. People that break the law should be investigated, if they did it willfully or worse, for profit, then they should go to jail.

    Fairly sure that won't happen.

    Hope Kim DotCom has the balls to sue the hell out of the New Zealand government, basically they are now responsible for disrupting his business and the service to millions of users with no cause. No point in sueing the US, Americans have no honor but if the New Zealand government has to cough up several hundred millions, other governments might grow a backbone. Human rights matter little but no politician like to be held accountable for such a visible waste of tax payers money. HAHA, yeah, I know.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:47AM (#41477017) Homepage Journal
    Whoopsie, we illegally destroyed your multi-million dollar company and damaged the brand to the point that even if we gave you all your servers back your user base will never recover to what it was! Our bad!

    Talk is cheap. Sending the people who actually broke the law to jail and paying Kim for lost revenue would be a step in the right direction. Even then, his company has been irreparably damaged by these actions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:48AM (#41477021)

    Who are these "bad people" you write about?

  • by dmbasso (1052166) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:49AM (#41477039)

    Don't do wrong, especially to bad people, since in the latter case you have to apologize to bad people, and it sucks.

    Only if you have honor. That doesn't apply to 99% of politicians.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:51AM (#41477057) Journal

    ...

    FWIW, Kim Dotcom is a scheister with a history of extremely shady business dealings, but even criminals deserve justice.

    Yep, well, it seems to me if he was such a bad character, then they wouldn't need to break laws and trample his rights bring him to justice.

  • by cpghost (719344) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:52AM (#41477075) Homepage

    Even then, his company has been irreparably damaged by these actions.

    Which was precisely the point of the drill, wasn't it? Legalities matter little to those in power: results do.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:56AM (#41477101)

    Don't do wrong, especially to bad people, since in the latter case you have to apologize to bad people

    Cool - and next US can apologize for seizing his assets and we can forget about this little ugly incident?

    How about trying to compensate him for the damage? Who is lining up to do that?

    From the TFA:

    American authorities are appealing against a New Zealand court decision that Dotcom should be allowed to see the evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.

    Ah, another proud day for America :(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:58AM (#41477119)

    They didn't do wrong, they did illegal. And had to apologize. You or me do illegal, its jail-time and fines.

  • Re:Still not over. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davegravy (1019182) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:59AM (#41477137)

    Whoa Whoa WHOA!

    That's not the kind apology the PM was offering. It was more a "sorry about your luck" kind of apology, not the "this is broken and needs to be fixed" variety.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:59AM (#41477139)

    No the lesson here is if you break the law you go to jail, if government breaks the law you get a half-hearted apology.

  • Re:Whats this?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:02AM (#41477175)

    Unless there is accountability then an apology is simply words. You need both to right this type of wrong.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:04AM (#41477215) Homepage

    This business is amazingly stupid on the part of the US and New Zealand governments. MegaUpload really was a criminal enterprise: their entire business model was facilitated on fake takedowns, incentives for copyright violations, and other games. That it is gone is good riddance.

    But they didn't need to create a massive violation of the law like this and create a huge circus about it: They had enough evidence to get plenty of legal wiretaps. They didn't need to come in with the SWAT team. If they played it by the book, Mr Dotcom would probably already have been extradited to the US.

    But instead it is horribly misplayed, and as a result there is a non-trivial chance that Dotcom will slip free with his millions intact.

    This is why law enforcement needs to actually follow the law.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:11AM (#41477281) Homepage Journal

    If you have to apologize, you ARE the "bad people."

  • Re:Whats this?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:12AM (#41477285) Homepage

    Owning their "mistake"? No. It's like Janet Reno "taking responsibility" for the deaths at Waco.

    Let me explain this. I'll do it slowly so everybody can follow along.

    If someone "broke the law" that makes them a _______? The correct answer is "criminal". By definition.

    What do we do to criminals? Well, if only we had a system that would try them for their crime and determine an appropriate punishment.

    Oh, wait, we do. It's called a "court" and the punishment is a "prison".

    Unless someone in the government is charged with the crimes and subsequently convicted, the "apology" is meaningless. A governmental official breaking the law (even if "under orders") is far more serious than some guy smoking pot in his house. So let's treat it as such.

  • by X.25 (255792) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:19AM (#41477355)

    Kim Schmitz' criminal history with all of the citations you need.

    And?

    He did stupid things when he was younger. Real shocker.

    He has been living a decent life for a long time, he has settled down and became a real family man, and you are still going to justify shit done to him now because of things he has done 10+ years ago (and was held responsible for it and was punished)?

    He is turning up to be the most honest of the whole bunch involved in this circus.

  • Re:Still not over. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:30AM (#41477481)

    Or at least is was until we started calling whistles blowers enemy of the state (like one Julian Assange) now people that try to keep the government honest are to be executed with extreme prejudiced.

  • Re:Still not over. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Infernal Device (865066) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:37AM (#41477547)

    It's also your job to punish failure and merely "not re-electing" them is a pretty weak gesture, honestly.

    These people ignored the law, destroyed the man's business, and handed the assets over to a foreign government who will never return them. How about I kick in your door in the middle of the night, steal all your assets and hand them over to the Chinese government and say it's punishment for all the slave labor that goes into producing half the goods you and your family use to survive?

    Sorry, but I think it's time some people were very publicly named, shamed and imprisoned for not only their failure to follow the law, but the misinterpretation of it in the first place.

    Public service is a privilege and the failure to properly exercise that privilege should, by definition, come with a higher punishment than standard crimes.

  • Re:Whats this?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:38AM (#41477555)
    This. Why are people so fucking pleased with an apology? If there is a particularly bad pothole in the road, I want an apology and to have it fixed. If a civil authority fails to follow the same laws it imposes on it's populace, heads should roll and jail sentences should be handed out.
  • by Diss Champ (934796) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:39AM (#41477583)

    Everyone screws up sometimes. I'd say that if you feel you DON'T ever have to apologize for anything that's a lot worse. That sort of view is part of why we so often get only psychotics who never admit to doing anything wrong in positions of power. The decent folks admit it when they screw up, try to fix it, are attacked for having displayed a weakness, and so tend not to prosper.

    Of course, to apologize is only part of making things right when you screw up. But it is an important first step.

  • by ljaszcza (741803) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:48AM (#41477683)
    Well, The next time I break the law, I will issue a sincere apology. This apparently makes everything all right and obviates the need for punishment, prosecution, or any such things. Or, are politicians simply a different class of people with different rules and consequences than the rest of us? Orwell said: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. Oh yeah.
  • Re:Whats this?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Moof (859402) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:11AM (#41478039)

    No, we also take mistakes into account.

    Yea, we do to an extent. But this wasn't a case of "oops, we accidentally spied on you," this was a case of "we intentionally spied on you, and it turns out that was illegal."

    Ignorance of the law doesn't make you exempt from the punishment for your crime.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:20AM (#41478167) Journal

    So what about pirates like UMG, who sell music for direct profit without the permission of the rights holders, and without adequate accounting controls to even give a proper statement of sales and royalties? If Kim Dotcom can have commandos break down his front door, why aren't you demanding the immediate arrest of the CEO, CFO, CIO and the board of directors of UMg?

    And why aren't you demanding an immediate deep forensic audit by the IRS of every Hollywood film made over the last thirty years?

    Double standards much?

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:28AM (#41478269)

    Or it could be that this mistake was entirely on the side of the NZ government and has exactly jack shit to do with the US's case against Dotcom, as the Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] article states:

    Key told reporters he did not expect the illegal GCSB surveillance to affect the fight over extraditing Dotcom to the United States, because none of the evidence the United States planned to use against Dotcom in those proceedings were derived from GCSB surveillance.

    So, no, thats not going to happen because of this. The US's case may be wrong/illegal for other reasons, but saying they should drop it because the NZ government made a mistake is... rather ridiculous.

  • Re:Still not over. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LVSlushdat (854194) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:32AM (#41478345)

    That term "Enemy Of The State" gives me the creeps.. I'm old enough to remember clearly the old USSR and all of the behavior that went on in that country during that time. That term, enemy of the state, was used a LOT back then.. When I hear *my* country using it, I become very upset. Of course, the US government could care less what one 62 year old Vietnam vet thinks.. Clearly it seems the USA is well on its way down the road to being a replay of the old USSR, without the Russian language..

  • by Sprouticus (1503545) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:52AM (#41478563)

    How do we know none of the evidence was gathered in the raid.

    THEY WONT LET HIM SEE IT....

    Are you saying we need to rust the NZ government on their word? Seriously. .I mean they are not as bad as the US government, but that's not saying much.

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @12:40PM (#41479107)
    Indeed, like prostitution, which is a completely legitimate business forced to work around illegitimate laws. Your "moral authorities" all have histories that can't be examined too closely and bank accounts stuffed with cash, but unlike Dotcom they make the lives of the people worse rather than better. Kopimism is the one true faith.

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