Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Maybe it is not too late" Some glimmers of light in the Dotcom case

As a New Zealander, albeit one who has long lived abroad, it troubled me deeply to see how quickly the NZ authorities leapt to the beck and call of US agencies in the so-called 'case' against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom and colleagues.

My guess is that the kind of toadyism evident on the part of New Zealand 'agents' is probably likely to thrive considerably more under the current NZ government than it would have under the previous government. And this is a serious concern.

Ironically, it has taken a US lawyer to state what needs to be clearly stated in this and wider contexts: namely, that "New Zealand needs to stand up to US agencies". It is already decades since David Lange's government walked the tightrope on nuclear ships, and that kind of "we'll stand up for our autonomy" approach is already a remote memory.

In Case being fought by ugly tactics US lawyer Ira Rothken says:

"Our concerns are that the United States will have New Zealand take all the data and all the hard drives that have been confiscated and remove them from the New Zealand jurisdiction, essentially making it so the New Zealand judiciary cannot exercise New Zealand's views, New Zealand's values in fairness and due process, and bring it all over to the United States so that it cannot be used in the extradition hearing."

From a personal standpoint, it is good to see a friend from many years ago, Justice Helen Winkelmann, questioning what the NZ police were authorised to take under the search warrant. While police were "clearly entitled to search and seize evidence in relation to the copyright ... that did not give them carte blanche to take everything", she said.

Go Helen!

Hopefully it's not too late for New Zealand to come out of this with at least some tatters of integrity intact.

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