Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Piracy Privacy The Courts The Internet Your Rights Online

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This discussion has been archived.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

Dotcom Drags NZ Spook Agency Into Court

Comments Filter:
  • Awwww (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:46AM (#42202925)

    Poor widdle government agency lost its sovereign immunity when it started working for the wrong sovereign.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by somersault (912633)

      You should be a little more respectful. The security of the local sheep herding and bungee jumping trades is of the utmost importance.

      • Re:Awwww (Score:5, Funny)

        by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:02AM (#42203645)

        You should be a little more respectful. The security of the local sheep herding and bungee jumping trades is of the utmost importance.

        Don't be so snide, the sheepherding industry was nearly destroyed by the money lost from Dotcom's sharing of Pocahontas 2!

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        you may joke a seriously ill unemployed man and his family are getting deported from NZ as he is to much of a dead weight on society not quite so fluffy as you like to think "A British family are facing deportation from New Zealand because the father has a brain tumour, it has emerged. Paul and Sarah Crystal have lived in New Zealand for seven years with their three children, setting up and running two successful businesses. But their application for residence was rejected because Mr Crystal's tumour mea
    • Simple Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by maz2331 (1104901) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:16AM (#42203825)

      I get the argument that some state secrets need to be kept to prevent aiding enemies from circumventing intelligence gathering activities. However, if that privilege is invoked, then the coutrs should simply give a default judgement as if the opposing side's claims are proven by the evidence provided. In other words, keep the secrets and be quiet and lose the case, or defend against it with the requested information - possibly provided under seal and only seen by the judge and a security-cleared lawyer for both sides.

      • 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 ewibble (1655195)

          I agree that the spy agency behaved badly but the New Zealand courts are rightly putting them in their place, it is the way the system is meant to work.

          No agency, department or person is perfect. That is why we have checks and balances like courts.

          If this wasn't working Dotcom would have simply been extradited and but fortunately that is not the case. It shows there are at least some parts of New Zealand with power, that have not gone completely insane over the global threat to world stability that people c

          • by sirsnork (530512)

            What annoys me (and I live in NZ) is that while Kim Dotcom is almost certainly a sleezy guy and hardly trustworthy, he didn't break any laws in NZ.

            The NZ law enforcement agencies should have told the US agencies to get lost and released a press statement giving the details.

            Of course, why the government allowed his residency in the first place is my real concern, given his criminal background. I guess promising to invest 10 mill in a country of 4 million people buy's a lot of bygones

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              What annoys me (and I live in NZ) is that while Kim Dotcom is almost certainly a sleezy guy and hardly trustworthy, he didn't break any laws in NZ.

              The NZ law enforcement agencies should have told the US agencies to get lost and released a press statement giving the details.

              You are aware of the existence of Extradition Treaties? Just because everyone on slashdot doesn't think Kim Dotcom has done anything wrong doesn't mean there aren't criminal charges against him.

  • This Is The Point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:55AM (#42202983)

    This is the point where the charges get dropped.

    It's unfortunate that an utter slimeball like Dotcom is the one to drag these agencies and policies out into the sunshine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:56AM (#42202987)

    What methods would it reveal? Surly they follow the law and have nothing to hide?

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      That's stupid. They don't want to tell the world how they gather information. Sources, names of informants, analysis methods, snooping programs, psychic researchers or whatever the hell. You can't run a spy agency without keeping that shit secret. What they're claiming is that if Dotcom's defense team gets to rummaged through their files on him, they will see enough clues that it will show how they get info.
      • 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.
      • 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 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."

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          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.

          We've had this argument in the UK with the security services bringing charges against terrorists. The way round it is for a judge to decide what is not permissible to be questioned by the defence in so far as it would endanger operational security. This generally just means hiding the identities of certain witnesses (e.g. undercover operatives) which seems fair enough to me.

          If the secret service uses (say) wiretapping to record evidence against potential terrorists, then this should be revealed in court

    • All you need to know is that the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are all signatories to the UKUSA agreement, which allows for the signal intelligence agencies of said countries to share a large amount of data. Therefore, some of the information the GCSB has access to is information which originates from the NSA. So Dotcom is not just taking on the GCSB, he's taking on every signal intelligence agency of the primary English-speaking countries.

      UKUSA information sharing agreement. [nsa.gov]

      • by PPH (736903)

        So its possible that the NSA will step in and ask that Dotcom's extradition and US copyright infringement case be dropped. The alternative would be to try him and risk not only NZ intelligence data but that of the US, UK, AUS and others.

        Now we'll get to see see just how powerful the MPAA/RIAA really are.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:58AM (#42203005)

    If the GCSB have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear, right?

    If they were using standard and allowed intelligence methods against this civilian, they have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear.
    If however, they were breaking laws, then there may be other consequences too.

    The defense only claims that it cannot be touched. Somehow, I think this is not a strong defense.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:12AM (#42203119)

      Can you see this dialogue?

      "We cannot tell you because it would threaten the national security."
      "It would threaten the national security if you tell us how you ignored laws that should protect national security by disallowing the sharing of potential trade secrets with foreign, possibly hostile, nations?"
      "Yes"

      • That's circular reasoning.

        They made a statement that they can't reveal the information under threat of national security, but they have to prove that this is actually the case ... Without falling back on the same dumb one liner.

        I hope the judge and parties involved are smart enough to see this.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:08AM (#42203087)

    That could reveal that we illegally shared information with foreign nations!

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

  • When I hear [read] the name Kim Dotcom, I thought he was Korean or something along those lines as that is the only place I know of where men can be named Kim. I guess I was wrong on that. Looking at the picture of Doctom in the article, I am reminded of Eric Cartman.

    • I always figured it was a name he took because he was a pompous twit (and his family was embarrassed to be associated with him).
    • Which mostly shows that you don't know much about names: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_(given_name) [wikipedia.org]

    • In Korea, Kim is a surname. Koreans do refer to each other by surnames rather than given names so it gets a bit confusing.
      Kimberley is the name of a place. As a given name it is unisex, though in America mostly given to girls. As of late, the inexplicable popularity of a female named Kim is tilting the balance to make it a girl's name. Same as Paris.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      That's where the comparisson ends, though; Cartman has a much higher moral standard than Dotcom.

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:24AM (#42203205)
    So finally a judge states the obvious for countries that have constitutional systems that provide for laws restricting the powers of the government: that no one is above the law and that no one is above being reviewed/judged by the judicial system. Note in this country (USA) how often the executive branch pleads/claims executive privilege in attempting (and succeeding in) avoiding judicial review of the president's actions and powers.
    .
    The latest ruling is another milestone in Dotcom's bid to challenge extradition to the US on copyright infringement charges.
    His lawyers have already proved that GCSB's surveillance of the mogul was illegal, and search warrants for the January raid were invalid.

    Are we supposed to cheer for the judge for making a reasonable ruling, or are we supposed to cheer that the judge allowed for the review of possible criminal / illegal activities by the law enforcement officers of New Zealand? Any way you look at it, it's sad that it came to this: law enforcement in NZ breaking laws (possibly under the external request / direction of others) and using force to execute searches for evidence of copyright infringement.

  • by redelm (54142) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:56AM (#42203579) Homepage

    The "national interests" reply is getting worn more than a bit thin. The proper reposte is:

    "Since national security is so important to you, you ought to take especial care not to violate any laws or commit torts. Then you won't need to worry about being before courts, or can get yourselves severed from actions."

    But No. The real problem is that at least some government officals believe themselves to be above the law. The same belief as held by common criminals. These officals believe that their "mission" is more important than obeying the law. Never mind that most of them are breaking some laws to enforce other laws. The irony escapes them -- must have thick heads. And please understand, obeying the law isn't tough -- there are lots of tame judges who will give out warrents. The rogues just don't want to submit, and can get away with it. Power trip.

    I wonder why large numbers of office-holders aren't charged with treason as they wilfully violate their oath of office to uphold the US Constitution. But then, we live in a praetorian culture, much worse since 2001.

  • The lesson to be learned is to keep investigative branches separate; do not have the same body responsible for investigations into issues of national security and investigations into trivial copyright infringement.
    • 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 Tom (822)

        Even without the last decade of copyright law stupidity, setting up a business that works by copyright infringement would be a criminal offense in all western countries.

        Individual infringements are civil matters. Running an organization based on them is not. The law knows about a point where intentional, continued civil matters become criminal matters.

  • Case Dismissed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      This is not a case that can be dismissed. He is fighting extradition to the US. Either he wins and stays in NZ, or he loses and gets on a plane to America.

      It should be noted that Mr. Dotcom was more or less done for until he hired an American law firm [twitter.com] to represent him; his new legal team is lead by one of President Obama's law school classmates. That firm, of course, also represents Google and almost every Android phone manufacturer against Apple and Microsoft.

    • 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.

      I'm wondering how much of GCSB's equipment and methodologies are genuinely indigenous, versus how much is supplied by larger Echelon [wikipedia.org] nations like the UK and US. It's pretty amazing that a nation of less than five million has a full-blown NSA equivalent. Then again, with manufacturers like this [wikipedia.org] float

  • ...I'm tired of various entities somehow being above the law and able to just say no whenever they want. The things they do are on the taxpayer dime. They are arms of the government, which is a servant of the people. In no way are they nor should they ever be above the law, period.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas

Working...