I'm seeing a lot of misinformation in the media about Kim Dotcom so I thought I should share what I've learnt.
Is Kim Dotcom a criminal?
In 1994 Kim Dotcom was convicted of things like hacking and selling access to phone systems but his sentence was suspended because he was under age (Wikipedia). I think it's important to note that Dotcom's convictions aren't dissimilar to what Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack did when they created the Blue Box that allowed people to make free phone calls. Jobs and Wozniak are now seen as pioneers of the personal cumputer age.
As an adult Dotcom pleaded guilty to embezzlement because he inflated the stock price of his company Letsbuyit.com and after spending five months in jail awaiting trial received a suspended sentence of 20 months. Dotcom was also convicted for failing to disclose his shareholding to the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong for his company Trendax and was fined 8000 Hong Kong dollars.
I personally don't think it's fair to call Dotcom a criminal in National media. It points more to a propganda campaign to discredit him.
Was Megaupload a criminal enterprise?
No it wasn't. It was a cloud based file sharing service offering exactly the same service as Google, Microsoft, DropBox and hundreds of other cloud based file sharing sites. However it got singled out because it contained a lot of copyrighted material such as MP3s and movies that were uploaded by it's members. Many other websites do the same thing but because Megaupload was, at its peak, the 13th most popular website in the World, the FBI and US film industry targeted Megaupload.
Did he start the Internet Party to avoid extradition?
It's not relevant because it's a matter for the courts. On the 19th of February, 2014, The New Zealand Court of Appeal deemed the raids on Kim Dotcom to be legal but not the FBI's taking of information. Proceedings to extradite Dotcom to the US have been delayed until February 2015.
I personally think it's unlikely that Dotcom will be extradited. The GCSB raid has some serious flaws and if anything has left the GCSB, and the Government, directly liable. Ask yourself this question, if your property was illegally given to the FBI by the GCSB and your assets frozen which caused the demise of your $175M a year business and much more, would you sue? Or, from the Government's perspective, if you might be held liable would you want to discredit your opponent?
Many other commentators have discussed issues with the GCSB such as:
- Law Socitey - Expansion of GCSB intelligence gathering instrusive
- Privacy Commisioner - Submission by the Privacy Commissioner to the Intelligence and Security Committee
- Human Rights Commission - Issues relating to surveillance and the human rights of people in New Zealand
- Dame Anne Salmond - A warning to New Zealanders keep hold of democracy
This story on Campbell Live gives an interesting insight to the case:
Why is Kim Dotcom being singled out?
Prime Minister John Key is the Minister responsible for the GCSB which now has more rights to spy on New Zealanders than ever before. Key even stated that the Law Society, Privacy Commission and the Human Rights Commission were all wrong in their opposition to the GCSB Bill.
If Dotcom's extradition is refused and the GCSB is found to be in the wrong and Key knew about and endorsed it, then it could be New Zealand's "Watergate". I believe that John Key is doing what he thinks is best for New Zealand but the GCSB without sufficient oversight that is enforced with transparent processes is a recipe for disaster and if the GCSB is proved wrong it could force his resignation.
Labour Party list MP Kelvin Davis opposes Kim Dotcom because:
- Donated $50,000 to John Banks
- Said the police turning up at his front door was as bad as the suffering Maori have endured for close to two centuries.
- Had nothing to do with Maori until he found a way to take advantage of some to try to keep himself out of an American jail.
- Garage is bigger and flasher than 99% of homes in Te Tai Tokerau.
- If he really cared about the people of Te Tai Tokerau, would have got out ... after the floods and storms and distributed food packages to those who needed them.
- Turned up to hui up north in a limousine.
Davis' statements are a shame because he seems to be an intelligent and empathetic politician but his statements aren't really valid arguments but more like a tantrum because he doesn't want to run against the Internet Mana and Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau - he might also have "garage envy" ;-)
The Internet Mana Party is mobilizing the 41.8% of 18 - 24 year olds and the 26.2% of 25 - 44 year olds that didn't vote in the last election. Davis would have been better to try and convert those voters to Labour voters rather than exclude himself from their vote by attacking Internet Mana whose policies are very similar to Labour's
How many votes will Internet Mana get?
As NZ First showed in the 2011 election polls can get it totally wrong (ie; 3 News Reid Research polled that NZ First would get 3.5% but they got 6.59%). This may be because many people, particularly 18 - 44, no longer use land-line telephones and may not be getting surveyed which could be a very important factor in the coming election since Internet Mana are mobilizing youth. Presently Internet Mana is polling at 2.3% but I predict that they'll get more than 4% in the election from what I've seen of their Internet strategies and communications.
In case you're wondering, I'm not writing this blog as an "advertorial" for the Internet Mana Party. I wrote it because I'm seeing a lot of misinformation about Kim Dotcom and I thought I should write about what I've learnt. He's certainly not "squeaky clean" but he doesn't deserve the smear campaigns against him.
I'm not anti Key, Cunliffe, Dotcom, etc. I've voted for many different parties and will make my decision on the day based on what I think is best fiscally, socially and environmentally for New Zealand. Of course you may totally disagree with me and that's fine because we live in democracy where it's OK to disagree.