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Dotcom Drags NZ Spook Agency Into Court 165

Posted by timothy
from the it-is-your-methods-we'd-like-to-reveal dept.
New submitter d18c7db writes "Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has won another court victory, today given the right to drag the secretive GCSB into the spotlight of a courtroom. Forcing the GCSB to be tied to the court action opens it up to court ordered discovery — meaning Dotcom's lawyers can go fishing for documents as they continue to fight extradition to the U.S. to face copyright charges. But the GCSB claimed any disclosure of what [was] intercepted would prejudice New Zealand's national security interests 'as it will tend to reveal intelligence gathering and sharing methods.' Dotcom and his fellow Mega Upload accused asked Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann for the right to have the GCSB become part of the proceedings, amend their statement of claim, and for additional discovery. In a judgment issued today she gave that permission."
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Dotcom Drags NZ Spook Agency Into Court

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  • Re:I have an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:06AM (#42203065) Journal

    Has there always been this much Dotcom-hate on /., or is there the beginning of an astroturf campaign going on here?

  • by mug funky (910186) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:08AM (#42203083)

    even balls of slime have their uses.

  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:10AM (#42203101)

    If I told you how I came about it, you might think I stole it!

  • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:10AM (#42203105)

    I don't really like Kimmie either, but for the first time in his miserable life he's doing something for the greater good. Even if only to save his own sorry ass.

  • by Brucelet (1857158) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:19AM (#42203163)
    And their rights.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:20AM (#42203169) Journal

    Why is it unfortunate? Compared to the US federal government, and the interests it serves, Dotcom is an angel.

  • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joehonkie (665142) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:22AM (#42203195) Homepage
    Yes, because we should put people in jail based on wether we like them or not.
  • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:25AM (#42203225) Homepage

    Can they just charge him with being the world's biggest arrogant douche and get it over with?

    Arrogant douche or not, when your national spy agency is accused of giving too much information about a citizen to a foreign power so they can investigate the commercial interests of one of their own companies ... well, things might have gone a little too far.

    His lawyers have already proved that GCSB's surveillance of the mogul was illegal, and search warrants for the January raid were invalid.

    They went outside of their legal mandate so they could go after this guy. They broke the law.

    Are you defending the rights of the state to go after people by any means necessary? This is as much about the fact that law enforcement needs to follow the law as anything Dotcom did now.

    I don't give a rats ass about what he did or didn't do, but I do expect governments to reign in their security apparatus and make damned sure they're following the law. In this case, they didn't, and now they don't want the evidence of that peeked into.

  • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moronoxyd (1000371) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:30AM (#42203285)

    I didn't have a problem with him until I read his wikipedia page. Now I have a big problem with him. I suggest you do the same. If you're basing your opinion of him on the fact that you liked downloading things from megaupload and hate the MPAA, you're missing a lot of real info.

    I don't like what I heard about his personality, but it doesn't matter: If somebody is a douche or not has no bearing on whether the actions taken against him and his company are legal and befitting the alledged crime or not.

  • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:31AM (#42203295) Journal
    I didn't have a problem with him until I read his wikipedia page.

    Complete jackasses still have a right to due process. And secret agencies that consider themselves above the law simply need to cease to exist.

    Really, though, unless I missed something, his Wiki page has nothing all that damning. Some petty hacking, some (non-identity theft) carding, and a pump-and-dump on an already-dead company. Woo-hoo.

    Except that he has a rare combination of tech savvy with business acumen, you'll find far, far more evil people going about their daily business of screwing the plebes in nearly every corporate boardroom in the world. Kim, at least, sounds like he just did it for kicks.
  • Case Dismissed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:05AM (#42203683)

    Maybe the GCSB will say their methods are secret and can't be disclosed in open court, and the court will dismiss the charges against Dotcom, giving the government a way out. It's happened in the US a few times.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:18AM (#42203843)
    Just like the DVD Jon bullshit it's blatantly obvious that the locals were just there to serve a warrant for an investigation run elsewhere. There's nothing to keep secret apart from embarrassment that they were working for another country, which has got to have been authorised by somebody in politics that wants to pretend otherwise. So the real secret is whose arse is being covered.
  • Re:Separation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twmcneil (942300) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:22AM (#42203893)
    May be the lesson here is that we shouldn't be asking national security agencies to investigate copyright claims at all in the first place. Copyright claims should be handled as the civil matters they are. There is absolutely no just reason that any government agency should be involved in investigating these civil matters amongst private entities.
  • by Quila (201335) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:24AM (#42203915)

    That's how it works sometimes. One of the world's lowest slimeballs, Larry Flynt, established the precedent of parody and satire being protected under freedom of speech in the US (a protection missing in many countries).

    I like that it works this way. If the precedent of rights and protection is established for even the slimeballs, then the rest of us should be good.

  • by berashith (222128) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:32AM (#42203973)

    I would argue that if you dont want to have these techniques made open in court, then dont use these techniques to pursue someone who will have charges brought up in court. National security investigation techniques implies that this was a case of national security. Seems a bit petty to use these resources to defend disney, pop music, and porn.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:59AM (#42204269) Journal

    DotCom rocks the boat and conservatives don't like that. Not for any reason. Most people don't. Rock the boat even to stop people from drowning and the very people who are drowning will complain the loudest about being saved. People want a quiet life. They REALLY don't like someone who makes them think or do anything. Not even if they agree. Oh you might THINK you are left or right wing but as soon as someone starts hinting you actually do something about it, you start to resent that person. It happens to all of us to a greater or lesser degree. We LOVE pragmatist and hate idealist where pragmatist stands for: what you are doing goes against everything you believe but hey, it is the easy way out so as long as you don't feel 100% happy about doing wrong, it is okay to do wrong. An idealist is an extremist who dares to suggest that if you believe something to be wrong maybe you should consider doing just the tiniest bit less of it. RADICAL EXTREMISTS!

    Julian Assange, Kim DotCom, Richard Stallman, they are all hated because they don't just say on accasion we do wrong but actually expect us to change, claim that if we keep doing X there are consequences! Linus Torvald is loved because he has no opinion and just lets us do what ever we were doing.

    We love environmentalists just as long as we don't have to anything about, love opensource just as long as we can keep paying companies to lock us into walled gardens and Kim DotCom reminds us to much that filesharing is not just about copying a file from your friend but a huge economic battle between two ways we can run our economy in the future. Thinking about the effects of this battle going either way would do us good but thinking hurts and the Simpsons are on, a show that for a quarter of a century hasn't changed ANYTHING. We like that. It is safe.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:05PM (#42204337) Journal
    In my opinion NZ's spy agency behaving like the USA's dog creates way more national security concerns than Kim Dotcom ever did.

    The NZ citizens should be concerned that their spy agency behaved like that, and take measures to ensure that their spy agency is really serving NZ's interests instead of some other entity's interest.
  • by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:05PM (#42204339)
    "Slimeballs" like Kim Dotcom are the only ones who can drag these people into the limelight. Like it or not, your rights are defined by the precedent set in cases involving duplicitous people. It's easy to say "Oh well he's obviously guilty, so in this case it's okay to violate his rights to get the correct result." Problem is, that is one slippery-ass slope you're heading down.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:31PM (#42204651) Homepage Journal

    If the precedent of rights and protection is established for even the slimeballs, then the rest of us should be good.

    The rights of the majority don't need protection from the majority. Popular speech isn't censored.

    Then again, perhaps the premise that a majority has the moral ability to take away the rights of the minority (in any number of instances) is the more fundamental problem.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by akpoff (683177) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:50PM (#42207221) Homepage

    I live in NZ too, but NZ have treaties with the US to extradite criminals and that is OK. People shouldn't be able to evade justice by simply going to another country.

    That's the point, though, isn't it? Dotcom didn't physically perpetrate any crimes in the US. He didn't flee our jurisdiction. Extradition laws are typically about crimes committed in a jurisdiction from which the the defendant fled.

    Even more to the point. Dotcom is CEO of a corporation that is accused—not convicted—of copyright infringement. Officers and employees of corporations are usually exempt from prosecution for laws broken by the company. There are ways of piercing the corporate veil but to do so typically requires that the officers and employees in question knew the actions were illegal. MegaUpload and Dotcom are arguing that they adhered to the laws and even helped US authorities gather evidence in other proceedings.

    There's a great deal of uncertainty regarding the case...uncertainty that might be clarified during trial proceedings against MegaUpload. To argue that Dotcom should be prosecuted at all would, to me, require that MegaUpload be first found guilt of a crime. Once that had been done the extradition request would have been a mere formality.

    But that's not what happened. US authorities have seemingly abandoned the niceties of sending officers to the accused's house or place of business during daylight hours. In many cases they've resorted to a shock-and-awe methodology of pre-dawn raids with smoke, tear gas and loaded weapons drawn. The argue it's necessary to prevent destruction of evidence.

    Somehow US authorities convinced NZ authorities this method of arrest was necessary to "capture" a rather portly big mouth who's shot more videos than he has firing-range targets.

    I don't believe any of it was necessary. I don't believe there's a viable case of criminal conduct. What I suspect is the whole thing is a botched case that authorities in both countries want to sweep under the rug. And, while we're on the topic...the argument that exposing the case to public scrutiny will "reveal intelligence gathering and sharing methods" is straight from the US playbook.

    The real shame is they tried to use criminal-case law and methods in what should have been a civil case, screwed it up and as a result have undermined public confidence in the justice system in general.

  • by Blue23 (197186) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:28PM (#42211363) Homepage

    I would argue that if you dont want to have these techniques made open in court, then dont use these techniques to pursue someone who will have charges brought up in court. National security investigation techniques implies that this was a case of national security. Seems a bit petty to use these resources to defend disney, pop music, and porn.

    I'd love to see a judge say: "Look GCSB, if you can show that Dotcom was a known national security threat to NZ while you were doing this, we can talk about keeping some things off the table. But if you can't, then you weren't doing 'national security' operations and no 'national security' techniques should have been used, and I want to see every single bit that's even tangentially related to this and enter it into the public record."

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