Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:25

The MegaUpload Case Part III - Illegal Warrants, Siezure, and Evidence Transfer

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73As we follow the MegaUpload case and by extension the case of Kim Dotcom and six other managers in the company we are finding out more and more about the US governments case against the file sharing site. Yesterday we published a two part article about some of the tactics used in the case that has slid from being active and interesting into a long siege with the US attempting to stop access to both funds and legal representation. Now we are finding out more about the original “evidence” against the corporation and the seven individuals.

In a surprise ruling the High Court in New Zealand has ruled that the original search warrants were invalid. They were too vague and did not have enough reference to the offences they were related to. Justice Helen Winkelmann said “They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.”

However, broad and general is what the US and Hollywood wanted. They needed to be able to seize everything in order to find evidence of wrong doing. We have said that the US and the Content Industry was looking for a big case to slow the progress of personal file lockers. This technology along with the potential for independent artists to be able to release their own product to the market without the help of the MPAA or RIAA is something that scares the two cartels quite a bit. As such they pushed forward with a way to impact the entire eco system. This has been shown through statements made by the MPAA and others that say Carpathia’s financial troubles in maintaining the data are the cost of doing business with pirates.

Still the US is doing everything it can to keep the servers away from MegaUpload and Dotcom. They have even pulled out the child porn card in an effort to make the servers contraband and keep them out of the hands of MegaUpload for a little longer (honestly the story is getting sort of ridiculous).

However, back to the warrants in question, the High Court also found that the cloning of drives found in the Dotcom residence was also unlawful (yes they said unlawful). Because of the general nature of the warrant (as we have stated) it was very likely that information that was not relevant to the case would be scooped up (which is what the US DoJ and FBI wanted). Accordingly an independent review of the information was requested before any information was released to the US and all irrelevant data was to be returned to Dotcom.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened. The data was seized, no review was performed and cloned copies of the drives were sent to the US with the FBI all illegally. To make matters worse it now appears that the clones of the drives were sent without notification despite MegaUpload and Dotcom’s lawyers being told they would be notified.

“The evidence is required in its original form to be sent to the US. That has not happened and will not happen without prior warning”

There is some discrepancy though as the lawyers for the Crown claim the original search warrant did include that copies of the drives were to be sent to the US (you remember, the illegal and broad one). They also have claimed that review of the data was not practical because of the large amount present (135 computers were seized). It is further complicated by the fact that the Crown is unable to determine what is and is not relevant to the case and therefore are not going to release any computers or data back to Dotcom. So it appears that it is impractical to do your job properly with someone is facing up to 20 years in prison.

If I were looking at this case from where it stands right now I would say that the US managed an indictment using accusations of piracy presented by content owners (most likely the MPAA and RIAA). The FBI and US DoJ then asked for broad search warrants in the hopes of finding evidence to support their accusations of piracy and racketeering. From there they have embarked on a campaign using siege tactics to prevent MegaUpload, Dotcom and the six other managers from being able to properly defend themselves while withholding evidence from the defense (as of this writing the original evidence has still not been provided) and have made a public (although unofficial) statement to hosting services that they will make you pay if you are supporting the data locker business model. Seems sort of wrong doesn’t it?


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Read 2793 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:48

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