Two weeks ago New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security found that the government had illegally spied on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
His report found that the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) carried out surveillance on Dotcom, despite the fact that by law it can only conduct action against foreign targets.
When the spying debacle became public New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key apologized to Dotcom, but for Megaupload’s founder there’s an even bigger issue that thus far hasn’t been discussed.
Dotcom says it’s “nonsense” that he was spied on by GCSB in order to locate him. The New Zealand authorities had many less secretive options to monitor his communications, and according to Dotcom GCSB’s connection to the Echelon network was the main reason the group was used.
“The interesting part is that the GCSB is one of the five partners in the Echelon project, the global spying project,” Dotcom tells TorrentFreak. “They are prying on every type of communication they can get their hands on, from wireless, to Internet, to satellite, to telephone.”
Besides New Zealand’s GCSB, the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States is also part of Echelon. And since there are deals in place that allow the organizations to share data, the U.S. Government might have been listening in.
Under the UK/USA agreement all Echelon partners have instant access to all the data they gather. In other words, all the intelligence gathered by GCSB is available to the Americans in real-time. There is no obligation to make a specific request to get access.
To Dotcom it’s clear that this data sharing policy was the real reason GCSB was tasked with the information gathering.
“The GCSB was utilized to surveil all my communication in order to give the U.S. Government full access to all my communication, without the requirement of a warrant, and without the ability for me to get access to transcripts or discovery,” Dotcom tells us.
“The U.S. has used this GCSB surveillance to get real-time access to my phone calls, Internet traffic and everything, and I can’t do anything about it. They refuse to cooperate with the court and say it’s all national security,” he adds.
Interestingly, Dotcom and his lawyers believe the spying efforts might benefit their case, as it could show that nothing nefarious was going on. However, thus far the authorities have refused to release transcripts.
“This is evidence that would clear us. If they provide us with transcripts of recorded telephone conversations, we would be very pleased, because all you can hear is that we were trying to do the right thing. It would show that we’re a good corporate citizen,” Dotcom says.
“In the Indictment the DOJ alleges that Megaupload was a Racketeering operation like the Mafia. Have you ever heard of an alleged Mafia boss to get excited about surveillance transcripts that would proof his innocence?”
The Echelon link is no coincidence according to Megaupload’s founder, who’s convinced that the U.S. was listening all along.
“It’s obvious,” Dotcom says.
“Everything that’s happening in this case all point in one direction. The people in the highest seats of power wanted to use all their toys to destroy us, for their benefactors in Hollywood.”
In the coming month these spying issues and the U.S. connection will remain an important topic in the New Zealand case.
Last week Dotcom revealed that he suspects that GCSB started monitoring his communications as early as October 2011. Detective Inspector Grant Wormald is suspected of committing perjury in court, as he explicitly denied that any such surveillance efforts were carried out. He and Crown Law had knowledge of the GCSB spying on Kim Dotcom.
In addition, Dotcom says that several cameras were secretly installed around his home, something that will be discussed in more detail during the next court hearing.