New Zealand Government Admits That Order To Suppress Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom Only Such Order Issued In 10 Years

from the oops dept

You may recall that, back in September, the New Zealand government admitted that the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), the local equivalent of the NSA had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom to aid American DOJ investigators. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, apologized and ordered an investigation. Many were asking when Key actually knew about the illegal surveillance, which covered domestic communications, despite GCSB’s mandate being focused on foreign communications. It’s now come out that the order to “suppress” the information about GCSB’s activities, signed by acting prime minister Bill English (normally the Finance Minister) while Key was abroad, was the only such document in 10 years:

The spy agency has stated that the certificate signed by Finance Minister Bill English as Acting Prime Minister was the only one found in “a thorough search of our files”.

Mr English was asked by the GCSB to sign the “ministerial certificate” while Prime Minister John Key was overseas in August. The certificate said knowledge of the GCSB’s involvement in the Dotcom investigation would damage its ability to detect or prevent serious crime.

The fact it was the only ministerial warrant in 10 years was discovered by the Green Party under the Official Information Act. Its rarity has led Green Party co-leader Russel Norman to question how Mr Key stayed ignorant of its existence until a month after it was signed.

Beyond the concern of who knew what and when, there should be continued outrage in New Zealand at its goverment’s willingness to bend over backwards to break the law just because the US entertainment industry was putting pressure on the DOJ to “do something” about Megaupload. The fact that they appear to have not only broken the law, but then issued a one-of-a-kind order to try to hide the fact that they broke the law really says something about the lengths the NZ government were willing to go to please Hollywood.

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Comments on “New Zealand Government Admits That Order To Suppress Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom Only Such Order Issued In 10 Years”

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84 Comments
Zakida Paul says:

America's bitch

That is a title I normally use to describe the UK but, thinking about it, it is a fitting title for a lot of countries. For far too long, too many nations have bent over to the will of the US government and their corporate puppet masters. It is time for all those nations to stand up and say ‘no more’. It is time for those nations to start putting the interests of their own people ahead of the interests of US corporations who have got away with too much for too long.

Fentex says:

Re: Re: America's bitch

So far, it looks like the UK, Sweden, Cambodia, and New Zealand are all in a competition to become the 51st state.

NZ only looks like that currently because our current government is headed by a guy who made tens of millions in the U.S as a trader, so he’s a big fan and suck up.

But it’ll pass with his governmnet. Unfortunately the opposition at the moment isn’t a very capable collection so we aren’t all that keen on voting for them either.

Fentex says:

Mostly what happened was our police tripped over themselves, and all legal niceties, because they really really wanted to play with the big boys and it stroked their egos to be working with the FBI.

It isn’t the first thing in recent times they’ve done to trample our laws in an effort to play at being cool and hip bad asses. We’ve had our share of nonsense ZOMG TERRORISTS let us trample over people cause we’re bad ass terror fighters rubbish from them.

Authoritarians, as it is the nature of cops to be, are always threatening to lord it over people.

F! says:

nz no bitch

USA’s bitch is usually a term reserved for Australia. Seriously given their ass-kissing to the USA, it fits, all too comfortably.

I love NZ for their cynicism towards the USA. NZ (beifore the lap-dog wannabe John Key) could be considered a very safe place to live. NZ will remain safe as long as they reject the USA. As soon as NZ embraces the US (and MAFIAA, as John Key drools over) the world is lost.

For the love of all that is good, will the world please deny the TPP and repurpose all synonymous rules as impossible/illegal.

We’ll soon find out that Orwell’s 1984 was just an hors d’oeuvre, otherwise.

out_of_the_blue says:

Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

Yot, Mike, “capitalists” (plutocrats) don’t just use their power and money to provide the public with goodies, but to secure and extend their power regardless of “law”. That’s why to keep all corporations from becoming too big, and all persons from becoming too rich.

But anyhoo, I can’t get excited by a rather quaint NZ story about its techno-backwater: in the US, NSA (plus its commercial front, Google) are already doing surveillance on that level as matter of routine. Your foreign items don’t worry me at all: but I am worried when you’re apparently blind to worse in the US. Where are your anti-NSA pieces, Mike?

And as I’ve said, the Megaupload case is a rare exception where “law enforcement” is on the right side of morality. I’d say should go ahead on this line — though I’m not blind to the fact that gov’t will at same time inflict tyranny through this and other ways — but on the narrow case of Megaupload, a totally grifting site using other people’s products, it’s doing fine.

A legend on his own site! Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
Take the link now! It’s actually better than here!

Fentex says:

Re: Re:

As a New Zealander I was referring to NZ police.

Who I think were just keen little puppies stroking their egos running with a bigger pack withuot regard to their responsibilities cos it was cool.

After all there aren’t a lot of opportunities in NZ to get out the helicopters and guns and put on the cool black gear and run around mansions like you’re in Bad Boys or something.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

How is that every time that one of you come on here, we’re supposed to take your comments seriously? Honestly I would like to understand if you’re trying to be sympathetic to the entertainment industry, but your comment hurts my logic.

And can I ask: what side of morality is “law enforcement” standing on?

Anonymous Coward says:

And I’m sure 11 years ago, Mike Masnick bitched about a similar warrant being issued.

Oh wait, no he didn’t, because it didn’t involve some disgusting sloth that used loopholes in the law to financially rape artists and creators.

A practice Mike Masnick champions.

Btw, Mike Masnick conveniently forgot to admit that Pandora could salve the greed of their stockholders by adding a minute of ads every hour instead of cornholing musicians.

Yes, he forgot to mention that.

Because he’s really just here to help musicians make more money.

Not Google.

uh huh.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re:

The Internet’s huge. There’s much more to it than Google. If Pandora wanted more ads, then they can turn to millions, if not billions, of other places besides Google.

But enough about that (since I’ve never used Pandora before)… did you call outta your hole to do your daily “Cry Mike” story? If so, can you please sing a different tune because it’s really tiring. Try mixing it up and maybe we’ll start paying more attention (like we’re going to anyway…)

F! says:

Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

He’s all noise, no signal. That’s his MO. No way would you have ever any luck engaging that kind of tripe in honest conversation.

He’s a plant byt the CIA/NSA/FBI or if they’re not at least workign for them legitimately, they’re at least workign for them ignorantly. Which makes for the best dis/mis-information.

Cheers!

Niall (profile) says:

Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

Reported for three reasons:

First, useless spam sig.

Second, sheer couldn’t-care-less-ness about the rest of the world. Sorry, it’s your bloody idiotic **AAs causing trouble for the rest of us, along with your bloody recession. If this site is too international for you, go back to Free Republic.

Third, you were doing so well, then had to have a whine at Mike (and Google), instead of just asking nicely, or even providing some links. Besides, I’m pretty sure he’s had plenty of articles about you guys being illegally wiretapped (which the rest of us in the world could care less about 😉 – and if I were you, I’d be a lot more worried about government spying on its own citizens rather than some corporations – unless you have the government bought off?

Anonymous Coward says:

The fact that they appear to have not only broken the law, but then issued a one-of-a-kind order to try to hide the fact that they broke the law really says something about the lengths the NZ government were willing to go to please Hollywood.

That’s right. We represent “The Internet.” Nobody fucks with the internet. If we ran the government of New Zealand there would be no mistakes ever. We would never bend over for anyone–well, not just anyone. They’d have to be really special and buy us dinner. How perfect is Techdirt? So perfect that we hired a group of guys who know next to nothing about intellectual property laws to write bang up articles where they can’t even properly spot the issues that they’re writing about. And given our perfection in choosing such clueless writers, you know that everything we touch is perfect and golden. How dare anyone do anything in this Dotcom case without running it past us first. If they asked us first everything would be perfect. There wouldn’t even be a distribution right if we had our ways. Everyone everywhere could just give out all the copyrighted materials they wanted. That would be perfect. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not pro-piracy. I just hate copyright with every cell of my being. I’ll tell you platitudes like I’m all for an evidence-based copyright system. But what I won’t tell you is that I already decided definitely that there is no benefit to copyright ever, no matter how you look at it. Ergo, I do not support any copyright whatsoever. But I won’t say that, because I’m not honest and I don’t discuss my actual beliefs with specificity. How dare you even ask me a simple question.

Anonymous Coward says:

Low hanging fruit! what was the point you wanted to make mansick ?

New Zealand Government Admits That Order To Suppress Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom Only Such Order Issued In 10 Years

ok, SO WHAT?

what’s the spin Mr Masnick?

In other words what does it matter when or even IF they last issued something to do with THIS particular case?

It seems that you started with nothing, and ended up not doing anything with it. Such a non-story, must be a week day, your keeping the big hitters to Friday.

I am sure you started this article with a point you wanted to make, it’s a shame you appear to have failed in making any point whatsoever.

It’s called picking the low hanging fruit. Everything else is just too hard for Mr Masnick. There is just no money in doing real work. Therefore just the low hanging fruit.

Jeremy7600 (profile) says:

Re:

Lets see, in 2008 “Royalty fees account for a majority portion of Pandora’s revenues.” for Pandora.. Really sounds like cornholing musicians to me..

in 2009 after they renegotiated the royalty rates, they were still “higher in fact than any other form of radio.”

and in 2011, wait, whats this? “Royalty costs accounted for 50% of revenue”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora_Radio#Royalty_developments_since_2007 Theres a convenient link for you.

I am shocked, shocked! I say; that you weren’t telling anything close to, or even a barely recognizable form of, the truth.

Cornholing musicians my ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Low hanging fruit! what was the point you wanted to make mansick ?

“ok, SO WHAT?”

I guess you overlooked the headline. Which was the New Zealand government admitting that they were illegally spying on Kim Dotcom and that they were ordered to suppress said illegal spying, which was the first and only time in ten years they’ve been ordered to do that.

There’s no spin. No nothing. It’s a fact.

“It seems that you started with nothing, and ended up not doing anything with it.”

That actually is more in line with your comments on this site in general than the stories on here.

“It’s called picking the low hanging fruit.”

And this too applies to your comments, you grasp at straws to try and hand wave away the articles/points being made and you usually end up looking like a moron who was accidentally allowed to touch a computer (your grammar and syntax use are atrocious, the Grammar Nazi in me literally never knows where to start when wanting to correct your posts).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

David Lowery, is that you?

“Oh wait, no he didn’t, because it didn’t involve some disgusting sloth that used loopholes in the law to financially rape artists and creators.”

First off, Kim Dotcom’s physical appearance literally has fuck all to do with the site and the laws. It’s just a distracting point, and one much more revealing about you than anything else. Namely, that you would resort to basically name calling rather than acknowledging the facts of the case, an area in which the DOJ seems to be lacking significantly in the eyes of the New Zealand courts.

Secondly, loopholes in laws are that loopholes. They are not illegal. While they may be considered wrong to some, that’s irrelevant. But as it pertains to Megaupload, you ignore the fact that despite not being bound to follow DMCA law they still did so anyway. Which in effect shows they were doing their utmost to comply with the law. Again, laws which they were under no legal obligation to comply with. Doesn’t sound like something someone using loopholes would do.

Thirdly, in no way were artists or creators being financially raped by Megaupload. If any were being denied POTENTIAL sales/profits it was being done by the users of Megaupload, something which is entirely out of the control of Megaupload. You can only police so much and so well. And before you use the “well they could check the file names!” bit let me just say, “No, they can’t.” I can easily name all my personal videos (which are substantial in size) to the same name as the latest Hollywood offerings, doesn’t make them become those offerings.

“A practice Mike Masnick champions.”

Mike has gone on record in the comments more than once to clearly state that he does not condone copyright infringement, but he understands it is going to happen regardless. Which is not the same as condoning it, contrary to what you may believe.

“Btw, Mike Masnick conveniently forgot to admit that Pandora could salve the greed of their stockholders by adding a minute of ads every hour instead of cornholing musicians.”

Well, first off the stockholders are in no way greedy, if they were they wouldn’t have agreed to the royalty rates they agreed to pay. Which are substantially higher than terrestrial radio. Which negates your “cornholing musicians” bit. If they were truly doing that then they wouldn’t be paying absurdly high royalty rates, now would they?

Secondly, the stockholders are entitled to some return on their investment. One cannot truly fault them for wanting to turn some kind of a profit from the venture that is Pandora. And they have stated as much multiple times, but they’ve also stated that what they are paying in royalties takes a significant cut of any profits they do make, to the point that if it continues Pandora may become a non-profitable venture. Which would clearly result in its services being shuttered. Meaning shut down/closed/etc for the laymen (which you are). What this means is that it would be one less revenue stream for artists and one less way for fans of music to hear and discover new music. This would be a true loss for both the artists and fans of music.

The ones cornholing musicians in regards to Pandora are the record labels. As has been proven time and time again, they ask for significant royalty rates and then give a pittance to the artists. Per their previously negotiated contract/arrangements. Now, if you were truly wanting to defend artists and wanted what was best for them you would be railing against the labels for not giving them a bigger cut of the royalties. But that would hardly fit your diatribe now, wouldn’t it.

As for the rest of your nonsense, Mike isn’t working for or shilling for Google. Contrary to whatever misunderstanding/delusions you may have.

DanZee (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“…Pandora may become a non-profitable venture”

Actually, Pandora has NEVER been profitable. As it gains listeners, its losses widen!

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:68OtCnuBIyEJ:online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120829-713803.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

63% of its revenue goes to the record companies up from 52% last year. The licensing fees are scheduled to rise each year to eat up more of Pandora’s revenues. The record company fees have made the model of “legal” Internet unsustainable!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I want to add just a bit to your second and third points:

2) At one point during the past year it came to light that Megaupload was in the process of preparing to launch an IPO prior to the raid. From what I understand, that process involves a lot of outside scrutiny of ones business and corporate finances in order to approve and finalize the IPO. That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing someone running a shady business operation would want or seek out, does it?

3) Megaupload can’t just go in and proactively inspect files without a reason or warrant. There are privacy laws in place to protect people from that sort of thing.

The Real Michael says:

Re:

Yeah, it’s aggravating but then that’s their sole purpose — to frustrate dialogue by repeatedly trolling. And here’s the thing: they’re probably being paid to do it. Since they know that Techdirt is 100% legal and therefore cannot censor it, this is what they resort to doing. Such be the desperate actions of a depraved group of people who cannot win public support.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s exactly how trolls are supposed to operate. Many are hired to do just what you said. They don’t have to make sense. They don’t have to even believe their own posts. All they have to do is spout post after post of chaff to derail threads, make it appear that their masters have more public support than they actually do, and in general strive to lower the signal-to-noise ratio in comment threads as much as possible.

If a particularly insightful or dangerously informative post is made, it is often their job to spam the comments thread so much that the offending post becomes lost under a wall of garbage posts.

And these trolls are often paid either directly or indirectly by the corporations whose side they take, so its not unusual for them to live at a computer most of the day, scouring the web for any and all posts relating to their paymasters so they can rush in and do some perception management.

I’ve had plenty of experience with paid trolls working for a certain software company in the past. The playbook doesn’t change much, regardless of whether the troll is defending legacy software organizations or legacy media organizations

Anonymous Coward says:

apart from anything else, it shows the power the US entertainment industries have over law enforcement agencies and governments and also the lengths it will go to to maintain it’s control over it’s media, even though it wants everyone to buy it, but the lengths it will go to to NOT adapt to the digital age or give the customers it relies on completely to exist. the cooperation between the USA entertainment industries, governments and law enforcement agencies only exists because of the manipulation and ties that exist between those that worked in one industry of the 3 moving to work for another of the same 3. if this type of ‘cross contamination’ was forbidden, perhaps the problems caused by it would not exist!

Anonymous Coward says:

Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

Wanting a government thats truthfull, transparent, and all members accountable, yeah…….Craaaazy

Stop being being a sympathizer to a unaccountable system, and start caring man, assuming you have a empathy towards other people

“Thats how things work”, the type of arogance is why you have opposition, barring the anihalation of those who want to question rather then blindly follow, you wont surpress it, unless you try to control what information we have access to, and when we see governments trying to control more and more, so to will the questions, and the obviousness lack of, truth, transparency, and the accountability of those who govern the people

All and every government official should be the best, and not the worst of us

Anonymous Coward says:

Troll definition

A person commenting on an internet commenting section of a website, whose seemingly sole purpose is to disrupt, slander or insult a , duscussion, belief or peoples, that are critical of their respective governing body, both commercial and governmental

A shill
A suspected individual who trolls for beneficial reasons, those being, or/either/all, monatery gain, influention gain, position gain.

Many are thought to be very dedicated to authority, and see no distinction between right or wrong in the actions of that authority

Anonymous Coward says:

“Mr English was asked by the GCSB to sign the “ministerial certificate” while Prime Minister John Key was overseas in August. The certificate said knowledge of the GCSB’s involvement in the Dotcom investigation would damage its ability to detect or prevent serious crime.”

When is Mr. English’s trial date scheduled? Has he been served with an indictment yet?

Brent (profile) says:

When I read the excerpt, I kept seeing all these coincidences lining up like ‘V for Vendetta’ or any other conspiracy movie. It just so happened that the Prime Minister was out of the country and the acting PM was the one who actually signed the document. -WHY was the PM out of the country just then, did the US know and push for action right then knowing the ‘temp’ guy would probably just sign it or did they orchestrate the event that the PM attended to put the puppet in place?

Makes me laugh b/c its probably nothing like that (but at the same time, it could be….)..

tqk says:

Re: Re:

… did the US know and push for action right then knowing the ‘temp’ guy would probably just sign it …

From what I’ve seen of NZ politics lately, PM Key would have signed it just as easily. He’s likely sighing with relief that he lucked out and this clusterfsck can be blamed on someone other than him.

Wally (profile) says:

“Beyond the concern of who knew what and when, there should be continued outrage in New Zealand at its goverment’s willingness to bend over backwards to break the law just because the US entertainment industry was putting pressure on the DOJ to “do something” about Megaupload. The fact that they appear to have not only broken the law, but then issued a one-of-a-kind order to try to hide the fact that they broke the law really says something about the lengths the NZ government were willing to go to please Hollywood.’

When you look at all the films shot in NZ, I am really not surprised by this at all. I mean we heck the “Lord Of the Rings” series shot there…we had 2 Narnia films shot there entirely, and lord knows how many others.

kenmartin (profile) says:

GCSB Ministerial Certificate New Zealand Oops

My Prime Minister, John Key aka The Face, Mr Smile and Wave, is rather fond of the money market – good on him, he has made a bundle there – and the US. But I do wonder about his commitment to the welfare of ordinary NZ people, rather than just the rich here. I think NZ may be monstered in the TPPA “negotiations” if we are not very careful.

Some of our negotiators’/officials’ egos may get in the way of our true interests. People with high opinions of themselves can be manipulated.

Because of the appalling secrecy surrounding the “negotiations”, we do not have a clear idea of exactly what is going on. Our Parliament does not have to ratify any agreement. An undemocratic and disgraceful state of affairs!

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