September 27, 2012
New Zealand Prime Minister Apologizes For Unlawful Treatment Of Megaupload Founder
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
January´s raid on Kim Schmitz´s (aka Kim Dotcom) elaborate New Zealand mansion has been largely discussed and debated, both online and in court. Dotcom is the founder of Megaupload, a large file sharing network which has since been shut down as American authorities unrelenting pursuit of the site founder aims to bring him to US soil and the justice they feel he deserves.
Dotcom had claimed the raid was far too elaborate and used unnecessary force as FBI agents and New Zealand special forces stormed his house and allegedly punched him in the face and kicked him to the ground.
In June, a Kiwi judge ruled the warrants used to justify this raid were illegal. Furthermore, Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann also ruled the FBI´s attempts to copy the contents of Dotcom´s computer and take computers from his house and bring them to America was also illegal.
Today, the New Zealand Prime Minister has apologized to Dotcom for the “unacceptable” way in which the raids were handled. John Key also ordered the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to go back and review their cases over the last 3 years to see if there had been any instances of illegally intercepted communications.
Earlier today, a report was issued by the Inspector-General of Intelligence which found the GCSB had been illegally spying on Dotcom. New Zealand law prohibits spying on any New Zealand citizens or residents. Schmitz-Dotcom, a German native, was granted permanent residency in 2010 according to the Telegraph.
"It is the GCSB's responsibility to act within the law, and it is hugely disappointing that in this case its actions fell outside the law," said Mr. Key in a statement. He then went on to apologize to the people of New Zealand for bringing this spectacle into the global eye.
"Of course I apologize to Mr Dotcom. I apologize to New Zealand,” continued Mr. Key.
"They [GCSB] have failed at the lowest hurdle. I'm personally disappointed. New Zealanders should be very disappointed."
Though the GCSB is prohibited from spying on their fellow citizens, members of the agency said they were asked by police to monitor Dotcom´s actions and communications in an effort lead by the United States to arrest him.
"I'm pretty appalled by what I've seen. The organization should be able to get this right," said Mr. Key, speaking to reporters. This latest development could be yet another blow to the FBI´s case against Dotcom, who claims his Web site earned more than $175 million from its criminal activities and cost copyright holders as much as $500 million.
While US officials claim Dotcom´s site was a place where users could illegally pirate copyrighted material, the German-turned-New Zealander claims his site only offered online digital storage for its users. The US is currently appealing a recent court decision which would allow Dotcom to view the evidence being brought against him in this case.
Dotcom announced plans in May to release a rap album sometime in the near future.