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‘Public trust betrayed’: Dotcom demands New Zealand apologize for extensive illegal spying

Published time: April 10, 2013 01:55
Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom. (AFP Photo / Michael Bradley)

Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom. (AFP Photo / Michael Bradley)

Kiwi officials have determined that the state spy agency that monitored Mega founder Kim Dotcom broke the law in 88 similar cases. Meanwhile Internet tycoon Dotcom is putting pressure on officials to apologize for the wrongdoing.

Kiwi officials have determined that the state spy agency that monitored Mega founder Kim Dotcom broke the law in 88 similar cases. Meanwhile Internet tycoon Dotcom is putting pressure on officials to apologize for the wrongdoing.

Prime Minister John Key admitted the new information about the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) made for “sobering reading” and is certain to hurt the agency’s image.

I acknowledge this review will knock public confidence in the GCSB,” said Key, who is the minister in charge of the organization. “I expect the GCSB to always operate within the law.”

Key ordered the review after a court ruled the GCSB’s surveillance of Dotcom that came in the months before the January 2012 raid on his Auckland home constituted illegal spying. GCSB officials insisted that the Dotcom controversy was an isolated event and that a subsequent review was unnecessary.

Details of the 88 cases identified by investigators were not made public but Dotcom took to his Twitter account to call on the government to do the right thing. Key publicly apologized to Dotcom after the ordeal last year.

I’m surprised at the scale of the breaches,” the Megaupload founder wrote. “The Prime Minister should apologize to those people too and inform the targets.”

Dotcom agreed with the opinion of New Zealand’s Labor party, which called for a wider report on the government’s intelligence policies, adding that it was the “worst feeling” upon learning he’d been spied on. A court previously ruled it to be within Dotcom’s rights to sue the government for damages.

These people have to know what happened to them,” Dotcom told The Dominion Post. “They need to have an option to take the GCSB to court. It might have an effect on whatever happened to them. And it’s really important at this point in time to really have a thorough independent inquiry into the whole matter.”

Dotcom, 39, has long been the target of the US Department of Justice, which alleges that he’s cost US copyright owners over $500 million by facilitating Internet piracy.