Last week New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security found that the government had illegally spied on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
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.
The condemning report prompted New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to apologize to Dotcom, but that doesn’t appear to be the end of the matter. The spying issue raises questions about the reliability of the evidence that was obtained in the case.
Today another chapter can be added to the surveillance controversy, as new information suggests that it may have been going on for much longer than the authorities have admitted. The new information is based on Internet connection problems that started last October at the Dotcom mansion.
Dotcom is a gaming fanatic. As MEGARACER he became #1 in Modern Warfare 3’s Free For All (FFA) game mode last year, and to accomplish this a fast connection is preferred. This was one of the reasons Megaupload’s founder had a fiber connection installed, with 100 megabit direct to the southern cross cable.
The fiber connection should have guaranteed a low gaming lag, but this changed last fall.
“When it was first installed the connection had 2 or 3 hops, but when I came back from Hong Kong last October suddenly it had 5 to 9 hops and the latency would increase by roughly 60 to 90 milliseconds,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak.
To find out where the problem lay Dotcom checked his equipment, and when he couldn’t find any problems he called in help.
“We brought in a technician to see if any changes were made to the setup we have here, but nothing was changed. After a week of investigating to see what the reason for the lag is I asked the technician to get in touch with the telecom provider,” Dotcom told us.
It took a week before Telecom got back to Dotcom and when they did, the company said it was really hard to identify any issues.
“It was all a little bit mysterious,” Dotcom recalls.
The ISP did promise to keep looking for the source of the problem, but went silent. In hindsight, however, things start to fall into place.
“At the time we thought they were just incompetent and that they didn’t know how to manage a network,” Dotcom says. “But today, in light of this GCSB spying, we understand that the traffic of my Internet connection was rerouted, probably through equipment that the GCSB controlled.”
The Herald has obtained further details of the investigation Telecom engineers and staff launched, confirming the massive lag.
If the issues are indeed caused by GCSB spying efforts, then this would seriously harm the credibility of the Government, as a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said again today that no surveillance was carried out before December 16.
It would also mean that Detective Inspector Grant Wormald committed perjury in court, as he explicitly denied that any other spying efforts were carried out.
Dotcom is convinced that the gaming lag is evidence that GCSB started monitoring his communications in October. In addition, he notes that they also installed four cameras on his property, something that will be discussed in more detail during the next court hearing.
“The string of unlawful activity in this case doesn’t seem to break up,” Dotcom says.