New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

from the oops dept

I have to admit that I’m consistently amazed at just how badly law enforcement in both the US and New Zealand appeared to screw up the raid and the case against Kim Dotcom. I’ve said it a few times before, but it really feels like authorities in both places actually believed the bogus Hollywood hype being spread by the MPAA about how Dotcom was really a James Bondian-villain, and acted accordingly, while ignoring any evidence to the contrary. As you know by now, the New Zealand equivalent of the NSA, the GCSB, illegally spied on Kim Dotcom and other New Zealand residents and citizens — and the New Zealand government then decided to try to hide that. While the police agreed that the spying was illegal, they declined to do anything about it, so Dotcom sued the government himself.

The latest news in this: GCSB appears to have deleted key evidence in the case in a hamfisted attempt to cover up its illegal activities. Even more ridiculous, GCSB is trying to cover this up by claiming that the material had “aged off” — implying that it was deleted automatically. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key claims that they had to delete the information under the law.

Of course, there are a few problems with that. The first is that under New Zealand law, like most countries these days, parties have an obligation to preserve documents likely to be necessary in a legal case. But, even more damning is that there’s video of John Key in the New Zealand Parliament trying to defend against an earlier claim that GCSB had deleted some evidence by insisting that GCSB does not delete anything ever:

In the video, he notes: “This is a spy agency. We don’t delete things. We archive them. And they went right back to the ultimate source document, and asked themselves the question: Has there ever been a deletion? And the answer was NO!!” And yet now he’s claiming that it’s normal everyday policy to delete key evidence?

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Comments on “New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom”

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61 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

From what I recall, in the U.S. evidence spoilation requires the court to take the destroyed evidence to be as damning as possible to the party that did it. If NZ is even close to similar, the GCSB just committed judicial suicide. Granted, they’ll be able to spin it publicly however they like since there’s no evidence, but legally they would have just screwed themselves.

Given that the GCSB did that, I’m guessing that either there’s something even more damning than anyone guessed, and/or (probably and) that they intend to play something along the lines of the NSA’s state secrets game. Namely, lying and denying everything until (and after) confronted with evidence directly opposing their statements.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

The US and NZ should just drop the case against Dotcom

It’s pretty clear at this point that they were either willing or ignorant dupes of the MPAA/Hollywood when they decided to go after Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, what, 2 years ago?

And what do they have to show for it? More and more egg on their face. Seriously, the ratio of headlines where Kim Dotcom makes the US/NZ look like mindless thugs of the MPAA (or at the very least total buffoons) compared to the number of articles that paint Dotcom as an ‘evil copyright infringer/counterfeiter/money-launder/whatever they’re accusing him of being this week’ is so lopsided in Dotcom’s favor that it’s not even funny.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The US and NZ should just drop the case against Dotcom

At this point it is a bit late to just drop the case, even though they have totally screwed the pooch on it. They’ve broken their own laws to do this. Worse, they’ve put a business out of business that was successfully making money, they have confiscated all the money they could lay their hands on, and generally smeared Kim’s rep to the best of their ability.

If they drop the case now, they leave themselves open for false actions that have resulted in financial disaster for Kim and he has the right to go after them to make him whole again.

out_of_the_blue says:

Oh, rats! Because though (allegedly) obtained illegally, it's evidence of actual crimes by Kim Dotcom.

That’s of course obvious, but equally obvious not the pirate position.

Listen, kids: no matter what crimes other people committed (nor all of them since the dawn of time), Dotcom is still guilty of contributory infringement.


Keep perspective, kids: Megaupload is not the leading edge of new content delivery modes, it’s just trailing edge of theft from the old producers who are well justified in stomping out piracy. (181 of 195)

09:05:31[k-26-4]

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Oh, rats! Because though (allegedly) obtained illegally, it's evidence of actual crimes by Kim Dotcom.

shhhh!
its, um, a, um, sekret kourt ! ! !
(so sekret it exists in one mind on the planet ! ! !)

but, seriously, because, um, its DOTCOM, for dog’s sake !
isn’t that enough ?
and, um, well, he’s fat, too, so, that must mean he’s guilty…
um, and, he, like, um, flaunts his nouveau riches, which really irks old riches, um, so there’s that…
and, um, OH YEAH! something something filehosting = piracy ! ! !
so, yeah, obviously guilty, off with his head ! ! !

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Oh, rats! Because though (allegedly) obtained illegally, it's evidence of actual crimes by Kim Dotcom.

How?

He didn’t tell anyone to violate copyrights on his site.

He gave the MAFIAA tools to police it themselves.

And it’s already been proven that the only case he didn’t do this was at the request of the US government themselves.

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Oh, rats! Because though (allegedly) obtained illegally, it's evidence of actual crimes by Kim Dotcom.

Out of the blue, perhaps I should say
That official abuse everyday
Is far more serious
And deleterious
Than taking a movie with no pay

In plain English – there are some very serious reasons why illegally gathered evidence is thrown out, and it’s because it’s considered far more grave to the health of our society for law enforcement to abuse their power than catching even the most deadly of criminals.

Anonymous Coward says:

When will commentors learn?

How long is it going to take for everyone who comments here to learn that by responding to OOTB that you’re GIVING HIM EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS: attention!

Evidence here: “Yet they can’t keep from commenting at me”

It’s about time people learn to

REPORT OOTB AND EVERYONE WHO RESPONDS TO HIM

Those “conversations” add NOTHING OF VALUE to the site and are DRIVING PEOPLE AWAY FROM TECHDIRT (myself included soon if something isn’t done to reign in this nuisance)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: When will commentors learn?

Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 1:25pm

When will commentors learn?
How long is it going to take for everyone who comments here to learn that by responding to OOTB that you’re GIVING HIM EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS: attention!

“Evidence here: “Yet they can’t keep from commenting at me”

It’s about time people learn to

REPORT OOTB AND EVERYONE WHO RESPONDS TO HIM

Those “conversations” add NOTHING OF VALUE to the site and are DRIVING PEOPLE AWAY FROM TECHDIRT (myself included soon if something isn’t done to reign in this nuisance)”

This comment added NOTHING OF VALUE to the site “off with his head”

Anonymous Coward says:

no different to any other politician and government member! they’re all out and out liars who will do whatever they can, whatever they have to do, to be able to cover the arses of themselves and their friends!
i still remember where a NZ politician was speaking in parliament prior to voting in favour of a bill to make downloading music illegal. she was of the opinion that it was different and ok to do the downloading when SHE was sharing ‘with a few friends’ (which is exactly what 99.9% of people want to be able to do) but had to stop everyone else from doing the same!! even worse than others, or so it seems, these NZ politicians!

i’m waiting for the headlines to appear of how Dotcom has been killed in an ‘accident caused by car brake failure’ or similar. there’s too many big names going to get badly burnt here and they are not gonna let it happen if they can help it!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nah, the prefered NZ government method of dealing with such is Really dubious tax related shenanigans leaving the individual in question with no funds and no recourse to reclaim them. Then having a chat with the media to make sure the story dies quietly. (Most of the news media in NZ is owned by the government or one or two (I’m unsure) US interests.) Or things to that effect.

out_of_the_blue says:

Hello, me: you've been censored again for complaining about censoring! They're on a real kick today!

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it — The horror! Turn away, weaklings!

identicon
out_of_the_blue, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

Re: When will commentors learn? — “if something isn’t done to reign in this nuisance”?
No, that’s not censorship, ’cause YOU are teh High Arbiter of teh internets.
Where the fanboys troll the site with vulgar ad hom, and call anyone disagreeing “trolls”! (7 of 195)

09:44:56[k-937-2]


Insanity is doing same thing and expecting different results. You kids keep using same stupid tactics that I’ve worked around — besides YOU are ruining this fine site — and don’t seem able to change.

Hell, there’s even yet another attempt to organize censorship:

“REPORT OOTB AND EVERYONE WHO RESPONDS TO HIM”

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140204/07522126085/new-zealand-spy-agency-deleted-evidence-about-its-illegal-spying-kim-dotcom.shtml#c341

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Hello, me: you've been censored again for complaining about censoring! They're on a real kick today!

Nah, although good thought.

A couple days back I just got tired of some AC comment or other, and decided rather than to just ignore it, to respond in the form of a limerick.

And, unfortunately, responding in the form of limericks is kind of addictive, so I find myself doing it more and more.

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hello, me: you've been censored again for complaining about censoring! They're on a real kick today!

Ah, I remember now! An Anonymous Coward had given out a challenge.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140131/16224426064/dr-matthew-rimmer-takes-closer-look-fair-use.shtml#c660

“Really? Because almost every store that I visit sells “culture kits.” Pencils and paper, cameras, musical instruments, art supplies – all of these things are nothing but “culture kits.” “

So I give you a pen and paper, start creating a culture! start NOW !!!!

ok what did you do, what is this culture you created? explain a few of the aspects of this ‘culture’ you now have?

So, well, I decided to demonstrate. And, since the limerick is a nice traditional poetic way to poke fun at someone…

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140131/16224426064/dr-matthew-rimmer-takes-closer-look-fair-use.shtml#c786

A man called Anonymous Coward,
Upon many comments just glowered.
For a troll such as he,
Ne’er an answer there be;
By any post he is empowered.

Anonymous Coward says:

i’m not very familiar with law in new zealand but can they drop the case because of this?

Kim Dotcom is suing for $6 Million. In NZ you can sue for recompense and/or exemplary damages (that is an amount set to punish the guilty).

I believe Dotcom is currently claiming $6 Million loss and recompense – that seems improbable given his greater loss was incurred at the hands of U.S authorities destruction of servers outside of NZ’s jurisdiction.

He may have a better shot at exemplary damages (punishing the government for the illegal actions of it’s agencies) but that also seems unlikely with too much secret squirrel nonsense being leveraged against him.

The GCSB is claiming it ages out source material automatically (such as raw intercepts) unless it is purposefully retained as part of an investigation. Mr Key will say the material he spoke of archiving was not that raw material but documentation regarding actual investigations.

That could be true but all it highlights is how poor over-sight and knowledge of the behaviour of spies and spooks is revealing the very problematic issues with their even existing in the first place and the very real issues with badly written legislation designed to protect government and it’s agencies from accountability.

KimDotcom (profile) says:

Kim Dotcom

Did anyone notice the reference to Kim Dotcom in http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1684763/suslow-march-2013.pdf?

(S//REL) The most recent development in the Dotcom litigation: the plaintiffs (Dotcom) have agreed to separate the GCSB case from the NZ Police case. NSA general counsel is working with GCSB’s chief legal advisor to understand any impact on NSA equities.

It seems relevant in light of https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140204/07522126085/new-zealand-spy-agency-deleted-evidence-about-its-illegal-spying-kim-dotcom.shtml#addyourcomment and http://www.itnews.com.au/News/354407,nz-police-affidavits-show-use-of-prism-for-surveillance.aspx

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