Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Kim Dotcom and the GCSB

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  • DexterX,

    Key didn't know he hadn't heard - it did not register with his conscious self - at the time he was at work playing pretend and in this dress up game he was Obama - he didn't think the calls and communications were real - in his mind it was new friends from the Diplomatic Protection Squad and others jioning in the game.

    Key is busy sorting out the plumbing on Planet Key - as he really really needs to go to the tiolet - this is why he will comment no further.

    It is hard not to be a dick when the standard and calibre of the government is as low as it is at present.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1174 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    do not need a warrant to see what someone is sending over an unsecured wireless connection (or secured, for that matter, if they can break it).

    We could simplify that to "any wireless connection" given the speed with which wireless security can be broken.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Key was advised he didn't hear it from one of his staff and he signed an affidavit and he didn't knowingly know it was false...
    #planetkey (making an early pitch for word of the year)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to David Hood,

    "any wireless connection" given the speed with which wireless security can be broken

    Not the case. If it is, go break the wireless in your local grocery store and change the price of razor blades to $2 a packet.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Anyway, I'm wondering where GCSB stand if they persuade an ISP, telco or social network operator to "voluntarily" provide them with a feed. Could they argue that this isn't interception? Or that interception only occurs if they analyse and disseminate the data - before that (including dumping the data in an Echelon type system), it's just technical processing.

    (And since they work in secret, they only have to convince themselves that they have that right).

    Also, they have a budget of $56million. That's a lot of money to execute "two or three warrants a year".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    You might also want to look at Section 216C, which makes it an offence to disclose a private communication intercepted in violation of 216B. "Poison fruit of a poison tree" may actually have teeth here.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    The political angle is of interest too. When did the Prime Minister know, or more likely for backside covering purposes, not know! what the GCSB was up to. The legal detail will be vital in the end of course.

    With Echelon and Waihopai etc there are squllions of bits and bobs transferred to the yanks no doubt quite smoothly but the NZ spooks still seem to have a public reputation as bunglers persisting from the “pie and Penthouse” lost briefcase to the punctured dome and now this. In movies black ops stay ‘on the bus’ so it is quite amazing that this has come to light at all. But I guess we should be thankful that such legal niceties can be taken reasonably seriously in our country.

    Kiwis once marched in the streets opposing the SIS ammendment bill, but last year hardly a whimper apart from blogs as many government agencies acquired all sorts of major surveilling powers.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    which makes it an offence to disclose a private communication intercepted in violation of 216B. “Poison fruit of a poison tree” may actually have teeth here.

    Only with knowledge. That was a pretty big factor in aspects of the Bradley Ambrose case.

    It also prohibits disclosure of the existence of such a private communication. Which, I suspect, is why Key was told to wait until the Crown memorandum was filed with the High Court. Key wasn’t disclosing anything, as it was already in the public arena.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Also, they have a budget of $56million. That’s a lot of money to execute “two or three warrants a year”.

    As I point out, they also have powers which don't need a warrant. And they have some responsibility for government computer security.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I notice Stuff is referring to 'bugging' which is a bit confusing. Given the PM said it didn't require a warrant [I read 'wouldn't have if he wasn't a national', but who knows with John Key] I assume it didn't involve placing a device.

    And: based on the press conference JK didn't know this had come up through the court case. I can't help thinking that omission will be worse for the GCSB from his point of view than the original offence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    last year hardly a whimper apart from blogs as many government agencies acquired all sorts of major surveilling powers.

    That's not really true.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Paul Buchanan just told Radio NZ in a lengthy interview that the FBI's partner agency here is the NZ Police, through which any requests for GCSB involvement would have come. There is no direct relationship. Guess where the problem probably lies?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Buchanan also noted it was extraordinary for the PM to make public that an investigation would be conducted, and speculated that the opposition may have been leaked details they were about to release.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    someone in the GCSB did something illegal. Who and what is no publicly clear

    Minor typo there but I think "what was done" is reasonably clear. About 2 months ago (not sure of the date) the police were being questioned about the details of the raid by one of Dotcom's lawyers. At one point the policeman said "we knew who was at the mansion" or words to that effect. There was a distinct pause and the lawyer asked "how did they know?" at which point the policeman said he could not disclose that. At that point it was pretty clear he realised he had said something he should not have.

    My interpretation of it at the time was that they had surveillence of some kind in the house before the raid.

    Given the Dotcom mansion almost certainly has numerous cameras itself for security and given they are all probably continuously downloading to off-site storage it seem probable that interception of that data feed is what was being used by the police to ascertain who was or was not in the mansion.

    All speculation of course but consistent with the data to hand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    Ironically the evidence was out there since Aug 10. No one connected the dots for over 6 weeks...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Holley,

    I recall speculation it was GCSB at the time. Maybe others were reading the newspaper instead of those cursed blogs and Twitr. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the FBI's partner agency here is the NZ Police, through which any requests for GCSB involvement would have come

    I think the steps might be:
    a. GCSB provide data (in bulk, probably) to NSA
    b. NSA provide information on requested subjects to FBI
    c. FBI request NZ Police to lawfully "re-obtain" said information
    d. NZ Police request GCSB assistance
    e. GCSB obtain interception warrant
    f. GCSB supply information to NZP / FBI

    In this case they may have omitted to launder the information through steps c-f and inadvertently produced the illegal content in court.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Sacha,

    Buchanan also noted it was extraordinary for the PM to make public that an investigation would be conducted, and speculated that the opposition may have been leaked details they were about to release.

    We've known of other ones, so I can't say that that it's that extraordinary.

    As I note above, anyone releasing information about this interception, knowing it was illegally detained, is breaking the law.

    I am entirely confident that the reason Key announced this was that the Crown Law Office had not long filed a memo with the High Court, a copy of which was given to Kim Dotcom. The opposition wouldn't have leaked it so much as the person whose information was illegally intercepted would have gone on twitter or Campbell Live and announced it.

    And even if he hadn't, the media reporting tomorrow's High Court hearing would have let us know after it had come up.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    If any of this happened between 7 February 2011 and 1 July 2011, it would draw Sir Jerry Mateparae into the investigation. What would be the constitutional consequences of the G-G being under investigation?

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Paul Buchanan just told Radio NZ in a lengthy interview

    which is now online (27 mins, listening options)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    the media reporting tomorrow's High Court hearing would have let us know

    that seems to explain the timing quite well, yes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    "Ignorance Takes Us Nowhere," says John Key.
    So finding out is justified - as long as you don't get caught.

    If Mr Key did sign approval, then in spite of his claim that he had no Knowledge Dotcom before the raid, would be a bit shaky?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Seems the govt tried to tidy things up in August while Mr English was acting Prime Minister. Naturally he can't recall any details - and it is claimed did not tell Key who only found out last week. Honest.

    Further, RadioLive relays this interpretation:

    Labour says Bill English signed an indemnity order making NZ liable for any damages case taken by Kim Dotcom over unlawful spying by GCSB

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16261 posts Report Reply

  • Ds, in reply to Sacha,

    BUT isn't this signing an illegal warrant, as Dotcom was a resident.
    How does that help in retrospect?

    AND surely Bill might have said to Key, by the way I had to sign an idemniity that could bugger the surplus in 2015

    wellington • Since Sep 2012 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Ds,

    BUT isn’t this signing an illegal warrant, as Dotcom was a resident.
    How does that help in retrospect?

    There is no warrant. It doesn't help legalise things in retrospect, but it may involve the Government admitting it stuffed up and doing the right thing to try to make it better. Don't we want that?

    AND surely Bill might have said to Key, by the way I had to sign an idemniity that could bugger the surplus in 2015

    You appear to have an inaccurate impression of the scale of damage awards in such cases in New Zealand.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

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