After several failed attempts, last week Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was finally granted bail and freed from prison. After initially spending time with his wife and children, Kim agreed to share his thoughts with TorrentFreak. For a man whose just had everything he owns taken away from him, he is effortlessly composed and quietly confident.
The Internet. We take this astonishing network for granted as we send our daily emails and catch up on the daily news.
Many of us can’t handle being offline for more than a few minutes. An ISP outage or cellphone breakdown often signals furious nail biting and a unique technological form of isolation anxiety.
For Kim Dotcom, the founder of the now-defunct Megaupload file-hosting service and a man whose fame and fortune was largely made online, communicating via purely AFK methods is now a fact of daily life.
After being denied bail on several occasions, at the North Shore District Court on February 22nd Judge Nevin Dawson finally agreed to Kim’s release. Although he is allowed to have a computer, the strict terms of Kim’s bail dictate a total ban on Internet access.
A few hours ago, armed with a good old-fashioned telephone, TorrentFreak spoke with Kim at his New Zealand home. So how is he bearing up after the ordeals of the past few weeks?
“I’m fine thanks,” he reassured us in a cheerful tone. “I’m only just catching up.”
During the days since his release Kim says he’s enjoyed spending time with his wife Mona and their children – a quiet family time in stark contrast to the events of January 19th.
“You should have been here, it was amazing, it was like a war zone. Armed police everywhere….two helicopters,” Kim recalled. “The New Zealand authorities certainly put on a show for the FBI.”
But if the dramatic events of that morning – elite anti-terrorist police running around with assault rifles and shouting about bombs – are bothering Kim inside, he certainly isn’t letting it show.
Mirroring the tone of the discussions TorrentFreak had with the larger-than-life entrepreneur last year, the Mega founder was as calm and considered as ever. For a man who has not only lost everything (not least all of his companies and tens of millions of dollars) but also faces extradition to the United States, he’s amazingly positive that the battles ahead are winnable.
Those battles, however, will initially have to be fought in New Zealand courtrooms and if the extradition is successful, back in the United States too. Kim is naturally cautious about us revealing too much about Megaupload’s strategy and how the company’s owners intends to counter the claims being made against them, but it’s safe to say that it’s underpinned by a firm belief that on the best legal advice, the business operated legally.
This confidence, Kim says, is shared by his co-defendants – Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato.
“We’re going for this and we’re confident we’re going to win. It [the heavy handedness] went way too far, it was out of all proportion,” Kim told TorrentFreak. “We feel that the action taken against us was political.”