Posts Tagged ‘kim dotcom’
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, Inspiring Moments in Resistance
New Zealand Folk hero Kim Dotcom has struck another blow for Internet freedom by launching a new cloud file storage service, called MEGA, one year to the minute after the FBI shut down Megaupload, froze his funds and induced New Zealand security services to launch a SWAT team raid on his Auckland home and seize all his computer equipment. The Obama administration’s demand that New Zealand extradite him to the US to stand trial for Internet piracy is still in the New Zealand courts. They are questioning the legality of the raid on his home. Dotcom has claimed all along that, as a third party intermediary, Megaupload was no more guilty of piracy than YouTube. At this point, it seems the only intellectual properties lawyers who don’t share this view work for the US Department of Justice.
The Role of Chris Dodd and MPAA
Dotcom believes the Motion Picture Association of America’s million dollar lobbyist, former Senator Chris Dodd, used his long time friendship with Vice president Joe Biden to persuade him to go after Dotcom. According to the Megaupload founder, Hollywood played a key role in getting Obama elected in 2008 but had nothing to show for it. He claims the President needed a success after Congress failed to pass the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) the MPAA wanted, so taking down Dotcom was “Plan B.”
According to an article in Gather, he sees similarities in the vicious and unlawful way the Obama administration has attacked other Internet freedom advocates, especially the late Aaron Swartz (the Reddit co-founder who recently killed himself in response to over the top bullying by federal prosecutors) and Julian Assange. He’s gratified by the new bill, dubbed “Aaron’s Law,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has introduced. It amends the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), used to charge Swartz, to exclude terms of service violations.
Dotcom’s New Financial Backers
Because Dotcom’s funds are still frozen, he has relied on international investors to launch his new venture. It goes without saying that their lawyers have gone over his website with a fine tooth comb. They have declared it squeaky clean in terms of intellectual property law.
Privacy From Government Spying
Dotcom claims MEGA is an improvement on Megaupload in important ways, including improved privacy. As Forbes describes, MEGA employs User Controlled “symmetrical encryption”, where the user holds both the encryption and the decryption key. This makes it impossible for the site to hand over stored files to government authorities under subpoena, unlike Dropbox and other major file storage services.
The MEGA website invokes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 (an injunction against “arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.”), in explaining how User Controlled Encryption (UCE) works. I bet the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and US Department of Justice all really love this feature. However given the support Dotcom is receiving from the New Zealand courts, there’s not a whole lot they can do about it.
The MEGA site got a million hits during its first twenty-four hours of operation.
For more background on New Zealand’s most famous German immigrant, read more here
Crossposted at Daily Censored
by stuartbramhall in Inspiring Moments in Resistance
If video won’t play go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MokNvbiRqCM
Kim Dotcom, the multimillionaire who is awaiting extradition from New Zealand on alleged Internet piracy charges (see Unlikely Folk Hero) has just released his long-awaited new song ‘Mr. President’, directed at United States President Barack Obama. In the song Megaupload’s founder says that Hollywood is taking over politics and that the Government is killing innovation.
Meanwhile RT reports on a music industry organization’s anti-piracy report which has been leaked to the Web. It suggests that charges waged at Megaupload have been exaggerated by its critics – that Megaupload was one of the more law-abiding of the major sites that that allegedly facilitated piracy.
Dotcom has been tweeting like mad, challenging the Department of Justice to take him to trial. It seems a large number of Mega accounts belonged to US government officials, including the Department of Justice and the Senate. This could cause massive embarrassment when it comes out at trial.
Read more at http://rt.com/usa/news/kim-dotcom-piracy-report-056/
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on Civil Liberties
Last March, I blogged about Kim Dotcom , the Internet multimillionaire the FBI is trying to extradite to the US on Internet piracy charges. In brief the FBI is accusing the founder of Mega Upload of illegal file sharing and copyright violation. Dotcom, much of the New Zealand media and Internet freedom activist Jacob Appelbaum contend that the US government has no case.
If Dotcom’s Guilty, So Is YouTube
If Dotcom is guilty, so are dozens of other “cloud” Internet providers (for example YouTube) that provide bandwidth for uploading and sharing large files. Like YouTube, Dotcom deliberately built a number of precautionary measures into Mega Upload to protect the motion picture and music industry against illegal file sharing that violates their copyright protections. The first is the Terms of Service Agreement all Mega Upload users were required to tick. In it they agreed not to share copyrighted material, but only files that they themselves had produced. The second was file deletion rights Mega Upload granted their 180 partners, which included every single member of the Motion Picture Association and many music studios. As Dotcom points out, this isn’t a legal requirement (YouTube doesn’t grant automatic deletion rights) but something he did voluntarily. This is in addition to the 15 million files Mega Upload deleted at the request of copyright holders.
US Laws Protecting “Cloud” Servers
Dotcom is also extremely knowledgeable about US laws that protect “cloud” servers, which legally are categorized as Internet service providers (ISPs). The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is very explicit that ISPs are in no way responsible for copyright violations of third party users, other than to take down illegal files that are reported to them. Because of privacy protections in the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, ISPs are forbidden from examining files posted by their patrons. Thus they have no way of knowing they contain copyright violations unless content providers notify them.
Our Own Julian Assange
Dotcom has become a kind of folk hero in New Zealand, our own Julian Assange. Kiwis are aware the US government has stripped most of its own citizens of their civil liberties and happily champion anyone (even multimillionaires) brave enough to take on Big Brother.
NZ Court Rulings in Dotcom’s Favor
Unlike Assange’s experience in Britain, Dotcom is faring pretty well in New Zealand Courts
New Zealand courts. Thus far the FBI has refused to share the evidence against Dotcom with his defense team (sound familiar?). All they been willing to provide is a summary of the charges. The judge presiding over the upcoming extradition hearing disagrees. In May Judge David Harvey ruled that Dotcom’s lawyers should have access to information collated against him by the FBI. The Obama administration (predictably) has appealed the ruling, objecting that it’s outside the treaty agreement New Zealand has with the US on extradition. The action has struck an extremely negative chord with the New Zealand public, who still regard New Zealand as a sovereign country with a bill of rights guaranteeing all the civil liberties Americans used to enjoy under the US Constitution.
Dotcom’s ability to defend himself again extradition is especially difficult, as he no longer has access to computers, servers and computer files the New Zealand police seized (on behalf of the FBI), which are now in the US.
Last week New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmen ruled that the warrants authorizing the search and seizure were illegal. She also ruled it was illegal for Dotcom’s computer data (which the FBI now refuses to share with his defense attorney) be taken offshore.
What Did Joe Biden Meet with the MPAA About?
Dotcom accuses United States Vice-President Joe Biden of masterminding the case against him. He says Hollywood bigwigs pressured the US Government to take down his website in a series of meetings about six months before New Zealand police (acting on the US extradition request) raided his Auckland home. He has evidence documenting meetings between all the studio executives in the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) and Biden. One executive later met, Mike Ellis, later met with former New Zealand justice minister Simon Power. The head of the MPAA disputes this. He claims the purpose of the meeting with Biden was to discuss America’s World Trade Association (WTO) complaint against China and the importance of getting more American films into the country.
Dotcom is in the process of creating a website to make all the evidence public. I can hardly wait.
 Kim Dotcom was born (in Germany) Kim Schmitz and changed his surname by deed poll.
 Cloud computing refers broadly to a range of Internet services that allow files to be uploaded to a remote site.
by stuartbramhall in New Zealand
There is growing suspicion in New Zealand that this country, like American Samoa and Puerto Rico, has become an American colony. Sadly, the unfolding Kim Dotcom saga seems to confirm this. On January 20th, a New Zealand assault team consisting of helicopters and special defense forces and police armed with automatic weapons invaded the private Auckland home of Mega Upload founder and CEO Kim Dotcom. The reason for Dotcom’s arrest? In New Zealand such treatment is normally reserved for international terrorism suspects and drug dealers. However the purpose of the January 20th assault was an FBI extradition order for Internet piracy.
Dotcom, who is out on bail, gave his first media interview last night on TV 3 Campbell Live. People have to see this. Americans especially need to watch the interview, as this type of hard hitting investigative reporting has become extremely rare in the US. The twenty-three minute segment leaves absolutely no doubt that the FBI Indictment is nothing but lies and fabrication. If, due to massive legal bungling, some New Zealand judge agrees to extradite this guy, he will undoubtedly be found innocent in US federal court.
The FBI Has Knowingly Violated US Law
The FBI has no case. If Dotcom is guilty, so are dozens of other “cloud” Internet providers (for example YouTube) that provide bandwidth for uploading and sharing large files. It appears that, once again, the FBI has knowingly violated US law. I suspect they have done this on the assumption that Dotcom is an easy target because either 1) the New Zealand legal and judicial system is (in their view) made up of ignorant hicks or 2) our current (conservative) National government are such obsequious lapdogs that they will introduce some weird retroactive law in Parliament to alter the rules of evidence (this is legal in New Zealand, owing to the absence of a written constitution).
Protected by the Same Laws as YouTube
John Campbell is a very skillful interviewer. The first point he brings out is the elaborate precautions (based on millions of dollars of legal advice) that Dotcom built into Mega Upload to protect the motion picture and music industry against illegal file sharing activities. The first is the Terms of Service Agreement all Mega Upload users were required to tick. In it they agreed not to share copyrighted material, but only files that they themselves had produced. The second was file deletion rights Mega Upload granted their 180 partners, which included every single member of the Motion Picture Association and many music studios. As Dotcom points out, this is not a legal requirement (YouTube doesn’t grant automatic deletion rights) but something he did voluntarily. This is in addition to the 15 million files Mega Upload has deleted at the request of copyright holders.
The Mega Upload founder goes on to outline the US laws that protect “cloud” servers, which legally are categorized as Internet service providers (ISP’s). The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is very explicit that ISP’s are in no way responsible for copyright violations of third party users, other than to take down illegal files that are reported to them. Because of privacy protections in the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, ISP’s are forbidden from examining files posted by their patrons. Thus they have no way of knowing of copyright violations unless content providers notify them.
Why the FBI Doesn’t Go After YouTube
The CEO of Mega Upload acknowledges that Internet piracy is an enormous problem for all cloud/file sharing providers, including YouTube (now owned by Google, Media Fire, Rapid Share and Shy Drive (run by Microsoft). He asks why the FBI doesn’t go after any corporate cloud/file sharing servers and answers his own question: Google has $50 billion to defend themselves.
Dotcom is surprisingly nonchalant that the FBI has destroyed his billion dollar business. I suspect this may have been their intention all along – in order to intimidate other solo entrepreneurs keen on entering the lucrative cloud/file sharing industry. The FBI, Hong Kong and New Zealand have frozen all his financial assets. He indicates his attorneys presently are working without pay, owing to their concern about the blatant miscarriage of justice by both the FBI and the New Zealand government. Dotcom is clearly relieved to be out of jail, as Mrs. Dotcom is expecting twins in April.
Implications for Cloud Users
The case also has ominous implications for cloud users. When the FBI shut down Mega Upload on January 20th, all their patrons (numbering in the hundreds of thousands) lost all their data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is preparing to file suit if the FBI fails to retain and return these files to their rightful owners.
Jacob Appelbaum’s Take on the Dotcom Case
People should also view Jacob Appelbaum’s commentary on the Dotcom case, in a speech at Occupy Melbourne. Appelbaum is the Internet freedom activist who, owing to his association with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, was detained at both Newark and Seattle airport and had his laptop, cellphones and other electronic equipment confiscated. Appelbaum makes the point that the law has never held the FBI back in harassing law abiding citizens. He believes they have chosen to make an example of Dotcom owing to the failure of The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in Congress – that they want to make the case they don’t really need SOPA to arrest Internet pirates. This is a common strategy. As any activist over fifty can attest, the FBI has long engaged in illegal surveillance activities that only became legal in 2001 under the Patriot Act.
 Kim Dotcom was born (in Germany) Kim Schmitz and changed his surname by deed poll.
 Cloud computing refers broadly to a range of Internet services that allow files to be stored, backed up and/or shared on-line.