Future

Kim Dotcom Case: N.Z. Court Rules Megaupload Search Warrants Illegal

Worldcrunch

THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD, CNET

AUCKLAND - The New Zealand High Court ruled on Thursday that the January police raid of Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's mansion was illegal.

Kim Dotcom, whose given name is Kim Schmitz, is a German national who founded the file-sharing site Megaupload.com. The website was shut down and Kim Dotcom's $30 million house was raided by police earlier this year as part of an ongoing F.B.I. investigation into global copyright theft.

The court ruled that the warrants used for the search did not adequately describe the offenses related to them. Justice Helene Winkermann found that the scope of the warrants were too wide, the New Zealand Herald reports.

"These categories of items were defined in such a way that they would inevitably capture within them both relevant and irrelevant material. The police acted on this authorization," said the ruling. "The warrants could not authorise seizure of irrelevant material, and are therefore invalid.""

The court also ruled that the removal of cloned hard drives from New Zealand by the F.B.I. was illegal because Kim Dotcom was unaware of the move and had never given his consent. Dotcom is free on bail in New Zealand ahead of a hearing in August to see if he will face extradition to the U.S. It is unclear what effect Thursday's court ruling will have on the case.

Dotcom got another boost earlier this week when Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he fully supported the Internet enterpreneur. In an exclusive interview with CNET.com, Wozniak said that Dotcom did everything he could to prevent piracy on his file-sharing service and criticized the United States authorities.

"When governments dream up charges of "racketeering" for a typical IT guy who is just operating a file-sharing service, or accuse him of mail fraud because he said he had removed files to alleged infringing content when he'd just removed the links to them, this is evidence of how poorly thought out the attempt to extradite him is," Wozniak told CNET. "Prosecutors are attempting to take advantage of loopholes."

Prosecutors say Dotcom was at the head of a group that made $175 million copying and distributing copyrighted material without authorization.

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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