Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime Piracy Your Rights Online

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NZ Broke the Law Spying On Kim Dotcom, PM Apologizes

Comments Filter:
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:33AM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:48AM (#41477021)

      Who are these "bad people" you write about?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Pirate enablers.
        • by Nitage (1010087) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:04AM (#41477209)
          What, like people who sell eye-patches, parrots, and wooden legs without asking for ID?
          • *shakes fist* those accursed parrot peddlers! ID or not!
          • They have been touched by his noodlely appendage. Ra-men.

        • by geekanarchy (769840) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:02AM (#41477881)
          General Motors = Dry-by shooting enabler.
          ExxonMobil = Arson enabler.
          Louisville Slugger = Mugging enabler.
          Pacific Lumber Company = Mugging enabler enabler.
          Slashdot = Trolling enabler.
        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:20AM (#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 T Murphy (1054674)

            Double standards much?

            How did you go from the implied "Kim Dotcom is a bad person" to "I wholly endorse the use of an armed assault team breaking into his place, disregarding laws, and believe all media companies are the best thing ever"? Oh, right, you're just jumping to conclusions to make the /. mods pile on with "+1 agree".

            The original comment even implied that the assault on Dotcom's house was a bad thing, and had nothing to do with media companies. I'll agree Dotcom isn't as bad as the media companies, but then again th

      • by Goaway (82658)

        How about people who make big money off the work of others without giving them a penny?

        How about people who make big money off insider trading?

    • by dmbasso (1052166) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:49AM (#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 Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:56AM (#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 Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:28AM (#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.

        • by Sprouticus (1503545) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:52AM (#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 sjames (1099)

          Let's check the score. The spying before the raid were ruled illegal and the search warrant for the raid itself was declared illegal. If they thought they had enough without it, why did they bother with the raid?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:58AM (#41477119)

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

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:59AM (#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.

      • No the lesson here is if you're so much as suspected of breaking the law you go to jail, if government breaks the law you get a half-hearted apology.

        FTFY.

    • The US could learn a lesson or two from NZ. Impressive. Now NZ should compensate Kim for his business/personal losses.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:11AM (#41477281) Homepage Journal

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

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Diss Champ (934796)

        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.

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

        Funny, it's usually the 'bad people' that don't have a conscience.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:40AM (#41477589) Homepage

      I'm sure the apology makes him feel much better. He's probably celebrating right now.

      Weirdly enough the article seems to have skipped the bit about where the lawbreakers are being processed by the law along with the return of his property and some restitution for his losses. I'm sure it's happening though. I mean, why wouldn't it?

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

      I don't think it should matter. Even if he is a "bad person" he has rights until he is convicted of a crime and they are revoked. At least that's how it works in civilized countries. I'm all for busting him up if he did commit a crime, but if a country throws it's own laws out the window when it's convenient then the laws are really pretty worthless. Might as well just take an "every man for himself" attitude at that point.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      hollywood accounting is really bad, but you see the US government not only not going after the movie and music industries for cheating artists and taxpayers, but breaking the law to go after their perceived enemies.
  • Whats this?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren (1009823) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:35AM (#41476873)

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

    • by aeortiz (1498977) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:38AM (#41476901)

      Happy to oblige! What's the RGB code for impressed?

      • It appears to be a light blue. .impressed
        {
            color: #impressed
        }

        <span class="impressed">I'm light blue</span>

    • by nettdata (88196)

      I'm also impressed that the investigation was done so fast and the apology given as quickly as it was.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

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

      by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:12AM (#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.

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

        by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:38AM (#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.
        • An apology is just so great compared to the "fuck you, deal with it" that we've all come to expect.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        No, we also take mistakes into account.

        If you mistakenly pick up the wrong bag you will usually be able to explain the error and not get arrested and charged with theft. Heck you can shoot someone and if the police believe your story that the guy was attacking you won't get arrested or charged with that either (at least until it becomes a major national news story).

        And of course you only get hit with whatever the law states is the penalty. Often enough such restrictions on government actions don't bother ha

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

          by The Moof (859402) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:11AM (#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.

          • I fI make a mistake and someone dies, the prison sentence might be lighter, but Im still probably going to jail.

          • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:59AM (#41478645)

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

            No, but based on the data, direct involvement in writing the laws does.

            • by micheas (231635)

              MIn countries like the US, and NZ that use British common law as the foundation of their legal system. Legislative intent matters.

              If you wrote the law, you can say "That's not what I ment when I wrote the law." Which is work to overcome. (Obviously statements that are were made during the time the law was passed can be used to impeach that statement, but the legislator has an a ace in the hole when being charged with a crime he/she wrote.)

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Not that I've looked closely or anything. But I thought it was a case of they are allowed to spy on X, they are not allowed to spy on Y. Someone put him in category X when he should be in category Y. If that was actually a mistake then it could be an "oops".

            I'm not saying that makes it OK. At the very least somebody high up should be out of a job already. And it should be being investigated, but there's that slight possibility someone actually did make an honest mistake (and losing your job would be a justi

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Unless someone in the government is charged with the crimes and subsequently convicted, the "apology" is meaningless.

        So you'd rather the official in question deny any wrongdoing? If not, then it isn't meaningless.

    • What mistake? A mistake is accidental. My understanding is that this spying was not mistaken, accidental spying. "Oh, we meant to spy on your neighbor, the druglord, and accidentally came upon this...."

      This was not a mistake. Someone made a decision to do something in violation of the law, and then carried out acts in violation of the law. "To catch a thief" is not sufficient justification in my mind for violation of the law by government officials.

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

    by Infernal Device (865066) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:40AM (#41476915)

    Awesome. Thanks.

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

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

      by davegravy (1019182) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:59AM (#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.

      • Right. This sounded more like "I'm sorry you're upset about what we did to you." not "I'm sorry about what we did to you."

    • We're sorry... http://vimeo.com/16337587 [vimeo.com]
  • Hollow sentiment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:41AM (#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 Nyder (754090) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:51AM (#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.

      • You do realise that history is the past, right? It's in his past. He has a past history of crime, including breaking in to protected computer systems and selling access for profit, and pump-and-dumping stock fraud.
        • Isn't 'past history' redundant?

          • Yes. I felt I needed to be explicit, though, as some people don't seem to understand that "history" is longer than a couple of months ago.
          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Obviously, but apparently Nyder didn't know what the word history meant, and so it was explained to him.

            Making redundant statements to more clearly repeat a claim that has been misunderstood due to an apparent lack of knowledge of a particular word's meaning isn't that unusual.

      • Re:Hollow sentiment (Score:4, Interesting)

        by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:05AM (#41477933)

        Please notice also the apparent fact that "...police clearly knew of Dotcom’s residency status when they compiled a planning document known as the 'Blue Folder' in which help from the anti-terrorist Special Tactics Group was requested." (emphasis mine)

        If that's true, they apparently didn't just break the law intentionally, but also got the "Anti-terrorist Special Tactics Group" involved. Because we all know that running a business which might enable people to commit copyright infringement is terrorism.

    • by schwit1 (797399)

      No doubt.

      Somebody at the top needs to go to jail for a long time, and anybody who knew about it and didn't try to stop it should be fired and heavily fined.

      For John Key to do otherwise is to tacitly approve it and only be upset that they got caught.

      NB
      In the USA these criminal actions would warrant promotions.

    • Well the solution is simple, pay him with tax money, then recover it from those responsible.

  • by zixxt (1547061) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:44AM (#41476961)

    Kudos and well done John Key you have earned my respect, New Zealand sounds like a awesome place.

    Here in America we are still waiting for Obama to apologize for murdering American citizens, and putting us in concentration camps.

    • I knew I didn't like Obama, I just didn't realize I had been killed and have been living in a concentration camp?
      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        That's because you aren't Anwar Al-Awlaki, or his son (neither of which were ever proven to have anything to do with terrorism in any kind of judicial process).

        As far as living in a concentration camp, I assume he's referring to Gitmo, which last I checked had released the US citizens imprisoned there (e.g. Yaser Esam Hamdi, in 2004).

    • The apology is worthless. If you set up the same intercept kit the government is using - which is not actually illegal, all on NZ soil, then used it to intercept the PM's phone and data channels via a box in the telco exchange, a satellite link, or the cell tower microwave trunks in his area, you would be fined or more likely end up in jail.

      The law is quite clear on this, if one end point is overseas and one domestic, the domestic party can never be identified. Ever. Regardless of citizenship.

    • Here in America we are still waiting for Obama to apologize for murdering American citizens, and putting us in concentration camps.

      Murdering American citizens, Check.... Putting us in concentration camps.. Coming up!! Watch and see what happens when Obama gets handed his ass
      on a plate in November.. He's then a lame duck with nearly 3 months to do all sorts of mischief, armed with the NDAA and all of his EO's... Just watch and see what kind of even MORE blatantly un-constitutional stuff he can come up with in that time,

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:47AM (#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 @08:47AM (#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 cpghost (719344) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:52AM (#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.

    • not multi million dollar company...but BILLION dollar company...according to some valuations bf the incident

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:13AM (#41477297) Homepage

      What "lost revenue"? Is that like when media companies "lose revenue" to piracy because someone else's actions result in them getting less money than they think they deserve?

      That argument cuts both ways. Since "Dotcom" was - let's be honest - growing rich from ripping off the MPAA et al, I find it hard to sympathise with his predicament.

      No, that doesn't mean I'm pro MPAA - we're just watching a struggle between an engorged leech and the bloated tick that fastened onto it.

      • Is that like when media companies "lose revenue" to piracy because someone else's actions result in them getting less money than they think they deserve?

        That's a poor analogy between the two. A better one would be if pirates, instead of copying music/movies, literally kidnapped all the actors/performers.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        What "lost revenue"?

        Well, US did seize his servers. And cut out access to his customer accounts, including his paying customers. So (orthogonal to legality questions), there is some actual, lost revenue.

        Since "Dotcom" was - let's be honest - growing rich from ripping off the MPAA et al, I find it hard to sympathise with his predicament.

        You don't have to sympathize with him to insist on legality of his treatment. Let them punish Dotcom legally, if he's such a bad guy

        Or do you mean illegal means are fine with you as long as the guy is scumbag?

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      But NZ is not responsible for the servers, or are they? They'd point to the US government for that, and I think that would be correct in this case.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:56AM (#41477105) Homepage

    Now the PM needs to follow up by tasking their equivalent of the US Attorney General to investigate and prosecute. If that equivalent is implicated, the PM needs to appoint a special prosecutor to carry out the investigation and file charges where appropriate. As a conservative American, I gladly include our representatives to New Zealand in that mix if legally possible and they conspired to break the laws (meaning were briefed and involved in the strategy for taking down Dotcom). If the roles were reversed, I'd want to see New Zealand's people taken away in dark SUVs by G-Men on charge of violating civil liberties under color of authority (a felony in the US).

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Now the PM needs to follow up by tasking their equivalent of the US Attorney General to investigate and prosecute

      Well, the same position, but different in that the NZ guy needs to actually prosecute government officials when they commit crimes.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:04AM (#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 Rogerborg (306625)
      Eh, the MPAA busted up his racket pretty effectively. That's how mob turfs wars works. Far more efficient than dull old due process.
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:10AM (#41478017) Journal

        Kim Dotcom is unlikely to even have to go to court with this many screw ups, let alone do any time.

        And he already has backing for a new megaupload, this time better setup to not be so easily taken down. And you got to be really stupid as a foreign prosecutor to go after this guy a second time when the first time was such a disaster.

        Kim Dotcom is back, with more resources, more experience and now untouchable.

        I doubt this is what the content mafia wanted.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      They had enough evidence to get plenty of legal wiretaps. ... 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.

      His servers have been seized long ago, though. Even if he gets them back, the business is presumably damaged beyond repair (whether it was legal or not)

      That was probably the point -- why bother with unpredictable "legal" routes, when you can just quickly eradicate his business? But yes, law enforcement _should_ follow laws, even if it is easier not to.

    • by ram.loss (151102)

      It's only stupid if you think it was about upholding the law to take down an illegal enterprise, which it wasn't. It was to send a message to all other sites: 'you could be next'.
      And now the message is complete: we did this, it was illegal and your business is over and even the local government admits it, an yet there will be no consequences for those who did it.
      So, it's a nice little service you have here, would be a shame if something happened to it.

    • by Drogo007 (923906)

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

      Except that's NOT what the conniving bastards behind this will take away from this.

      THEY will take away the fact that they need to ram through even HARSHER laws that prevent the need for apologies.

      Why yes I'm bitter and cynical, why do you ask?

    • by mounthood (993037)

      How do you get from unfounded accusations ("fake takedowns, incentives for copyright violations") to "MegaUpload really was a criminal enterprise"?

      If you think the takedown compliance was "fake" because it un-linked a file without deleting it, you should know that Google does the same thing with their music service -- uploaded music is hashed and linked, not stored uniquely. Accusing MegaUpload of "incentives" is as nebulous as it gets. What did they do that was illegal?

  • Look, if you're going to be the United States of MPAA's bitch, these things are bound to happen. Just don't let it happen again without modifying your laws to comply with MPAA guidelines, or your units^H^H^H^H^Hcitizens will start to get uppity.

  • by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:10AM (#41477275)

    "Megaupload's Kim Dotcom, a willfully tacky fat guy with a baby face and a vanity license plate that says "guilty," has styled himself as a kind of comic villain, a composite of everything people love to hate. He effectively serves as empire's face of piracy: an overweight nouveau-riche wannabe hacker who finally gets his comeuppance through the macho justice of Uncle Sam. It's so easy to hate Kim Dotcom that you almost forget that the US convinced the New Zealand government to send in an assault brigade, bereft of a valid warrant but outfitted with automatic weapons and helicopters, to arrest a Finnish citizen at the demand of Hollywood studios. If Kim Dotcom didn't exist, the FBI, with the help of the MPAA, would have invented him."

    http://jacobinmag.com/2012/08/gimme-the-loot/ [jacobinmag.com]

  • Does this mean you're not about to grab me, throw me handcuffed onto a plane, and send me to the U.S. to rot in a prison for pissing off the RIAA/MPAA?

    What, no?

  • by ljaszcza (741803) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:48AM (#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.
  • by klui (457783) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:37AM (#41479067)

    So if you break the law in NZ, all you need to do is apologize?

  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:33PM (#41480647)

    So, since the Government Communications and Security Bureau broke the law, are they going to go in with a swat team, take all of their computers, and shut them down for six months?

    ~Loyal

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

Working...