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Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal 316

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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  • Jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tommy Bologna ( 2431404 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:48AM (#40477423)
    Whatever happened to the concept of jurisdiction?
  • Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:54AM (#40477467)

    I'm sure that'll make kim happy.
    Now that the goverment has destroyed his business and siezed a bunch of his assets.

    See, thats how serious the riaa is. Guy starts talking about promoting independant artists himself on his own site... And the riaa gets the usa goverment to stomp on him with both feet. ILLEGALLY!

    Such bullshit.

  • Re:Impressive... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:59AM (#40477497)

    Personally, I don't think they (our shit USA gov't and law enforcement). They have accomplished what the big media companies donating hundred of millions or more to members of the gov't wanted; the operation shut down. Honestly, even if right now, everything goes back to normal for dot com, how long will it take for him to get everything back and running if he ever does? Did you read about the server the FBI seized and held for 13 month, basically are the request of the RIAA and while the RIAA tried to find evidence of copyright infringment? Or that Obama placed several RIAA or MPAA lawyers to key positionsin the DoJ?

  • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by magic maverick ( 2615475 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:04AM (#40477523) Homepage Journal

    Not only does the "goverment has destroyed his business and siezed a bunch of his assets" (which government? please be clear), the damage done to his house, and the money spent in defence is all gone. He won't be compensated for damaged property, let alone mental anguish or similar.

    The police in NZ really fucked it up, and nothing will happen. The cop in charge won't even get a blackmark, let alone the judge who signed off on the illegitimate search warrant.

    It doesn't matter if this individual is the most foul and awful person ever, they deserve to be compensated (and not a mere pittance either, but damages plus extra) to discourage this sort of behaviour. And some of it should come out fo the pockets of those directly responsible.

    But no, we can't have that, we can't have any sort of fetters on the ability of the police to fuck up livelihoods, nor can we possibly actually hold accountable those responsible.

    (Most of the above post applies to all the world, not just NZ.)

  • MegaBoxed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wild_quinine ( 998562 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:05AM (#40477537) Homepage
    How interesting that Kim Dotcom has his assets seized and his business killed just a couple of months after announcing a new service called MegaBox that would have competed directly and legally with record labels.

    The bad news for those guys is that it's still good to go. I wonder if it will be successful. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:28AM (#40477713)

    Without government the country is just landmass. Landmass is nothing to be proud of.

    Pride is one's country is pride in one's government, unless of course you are proud of the random location you were born in for being arbitrarily better than x other location.

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

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:29AM (#40477721)

    Pretty much this. They needed to get the pirates using P2P again so that the new 6-strikes rules the ISPs are all implementing is actually enforceable, and they've got the deep pockets and the influence to do so.

    The cat and mouse game will continue as it always has, but at least this way they get John Q. Taxpayer to shoulder the cost of protecting their IP...

  • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:38AM (#40477805)
    He was refering to a recent well-known incident in which a SWAT team was sent to arrest a suspected drug dealer teenager still living with his parents. They proved to be very trigger-happy: Even though no-one at the property resisted, the team still destroyed part of the house, held the entire family at gunpoint and shot dead the two family dogs. To add further insult, the team was sent on false information - the suspect did have a small quantity of pot, but wasn't a dealer, only a user - and none of the family received any compensation for the disruption, distress, property damage or dead dogs.

    SWAT teams are trained for assaults on property occupied by the armed and dangerous. Their training says to strike hard, without warning, with overwhelming force, and shooting anything that poses the slightest threat to their own safety... like a dog. So when a SWAT team is send to raid an ordinary house and ordinary family, they tend towards overkill and a shoot-first, ask-later policy.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:38AM (#40477807) Homepage

    will it be to have the USA send back to New Zealand those FBI officers who we now know committed illegal acts when they were last in New Zealand ?

    I can't see the USA giving this any attention other than to laugh at it .... but what would they say if it were the other way round ?

  • Payback (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:54AM (#40477947) Homepage Journal

    Sort of payback from NZ officials for being treated like they were by the FBI after they did their best to cooperate. Not real surprised to see a virtual bird flipping back.

    But, Kim was put out of business for a while, so the effect was the same. Short sighted goals.

  • by FeatherBoa ( 469218 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:57AM (#40477967)

    I wonder, when the dust settles, as I suppose it one day must, will anyone add up the appalling costs to the NZ taxpayers to play out this farce? The Crown is likely going to have to fold their entire case and may face liability for wrongful conduct. It's all well to say that the Americans have achieved their goals just by putting the fear of god into all the offshore quasi-ethical file-share outfits and screwing up Mega's business. But NZ taxpayers will face millions in court costs and lost police and prosecutor time sorting this out. If the costs are large, the embarrassment significant and the gains are negligible or non-existent, how many more times will NZ or other small powers accommodate American expeditions of this type so willingly?

    I think there's an onus on New Zealanders to complain to their parties about the policies that let this happen, use access to information to ferret out the complicit officials into the light of day. Make the costs and embarrassment of following though on this farce a political issue for the government.

  • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @10:01AM (#40478035)

    So exactly why can't Mr. Dotcom sue over this? It seems to me that damages done during serving an illegal warrant would be recoverable.

  • by k(wi)r(kipedia) ( 2648849 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @10:17AM (#40478215)

    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'.

    That, or the US law en-forcers were actually attempting to follow the old thinking of how when the US asks something of a country it's on "friendly" terms with (e.g. allies), the US gets it. But maybe the world has changed. With things like social networking and Wikileaks-inspired news reporting, countries that would once "willingly" oblige might now be more fearful of the local backlash likely to be spawned by bending over a little for a "friend".

  • Name some names (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UnoriginalBoringNick ( 1562311 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @10:45AM (#40478531)

    After the media storm following the arrest of Mr. Dotcom - who has yet to be proved guilty of any crime - can we now hope to have published the names and photographs of all those who took part in these illegal acts. Not to mention descriptions of their homes, cars and financial assets.

    If the aim of the action was to scare all the other download sites out of business voluntarily I feel that natural justice requires the DOJ and NZ police forces get an example made of them to make sure they and other national police forces never try to perfom such egregiously illegal acts again.

    Way to go, MAFIAA/DOJ. You managed to convert someone most people would have loved to hate into a martyr.

  • by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @11:16AM (#40478853)

    That investigation and raid must have cost a lot of money to put together... why not do it properly?

    One distrubing issue on why such raids are handled so sloppily has to do with the laws covering the seizure of assets under certain circumstances. If they found any evidence of drug trafficing, for example, then the raid would literally have been profitable in the "you just lost all your assets to police auction" sense (after they use the assets to convict.

    Of course, that probably wouldn't happen in a foreign country as easily; but, it is the culture of police work that american police forces bring with them. More raids means more funding, and eventually you get desensitized to the relative merits of a raiding X over Y when they all are affordable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @11:45AM (#40479157)

    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?

    Yeah, but this is the United States of America you're talking about. There is no tradition. There is no culture except popular culture. There is no U.S. ancestry. Unless you're a native, you pretty much can trace your ancestry to some other part of the world within the past 500 years. And around 300 of those years were spent as Europeans. The U.S. has existed for not much more over 200 years, while other countries have existed culturally in some form or another for well over a millenium. There is none of the stuff you've listed in any substantial form. And where there is some (literary greats, important historical events, etc.), there's a whole anti-intellectualist movement dedicated to forgetting about it.

    The U.S. is defined by its government. Not necessarily the people running the show, but the system in place. It is defined by the Constitution and the Declaration. There is literally nothing else that separates someone from the U.S. over someone from say, Europe, Mexico, or even Canada.

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing. What I'm saying is that if the government fails in its duty to uphold the Constitution and to maintain the values of freedom and openness set by the founding fathers, the U.S. as a country has failed, along with every citizen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @12:01PM (#40479315)

    In one of the last stories on this, I clamored that there was no way the US gov. could be that stupid. I was denounced as a heretic and promptly sent to the dungeon for re-education.

    Though Hanlon's razor is apropos, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity", I still maintain wholeheartedly, that this entire operation was a smokescreen to cover a massive data grab under the auspices of espionage. Be it military, corporate or other, I'm thinking the US is grabbing vast amounts of pilferred info from Beijing. So much so that normal transfer methods, a'la Internet, weren't an option.

    The US Gov. botched this entire case from the start. This whole scenario is just too far out for it to be a massive infringement takedown gone haywire. Alas, this ruling, IMO, is the nail in the coffin for any case the US might have. Next would be an appeal to the WIPO or something, but I'm betting we won't see that as the US actually got what it wanted.

  • Re:That's impossible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Internetuser1248 ( 1787630 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @12:06PM (#40479365)

    US government is against terrorism.

    I realise you are being sarcastic, but some other people probably think this is true. I would like to state for the record that the US has been convicted in international court of supporting terrorists [] and ordered to pay reparations, which are still unpaid to date. In addition the US and Israel were the only two countries to vote against a UN resolution to combat terrorism [] in the 80s when the whole war on terror thing was getting started.

    The US is resolutely pro terrorism in policy and has been for a long time, they are only anti terrorism in their PR and propaganda branches.

  • Re:That's impossible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @03:43PM (#40484513)

    I propose Slashdot adds "Ultra-Interesting" level to comments.

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