Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload saga takes another turn – FBI wins appeal in extradition case

Kim Dotcom - image from

The Kim Dotcom saga took yet another turn today.

The New Zealand Court of Appeal knocked back one of the big fella’s earlier minivictories again US law enforcers.

You probably don’t need reminding, but the sequence goes something like this:

  • Kim Dotcom is arrested in a large-style raid by NZ Police over his Megaupload file sharing service.
  • Dotcom is remanded in custody, pending extradition to the USA on charges including racketeering (organised criminality) and money laundering.
  • Dotcom, to the surprise of many, gets bail. (He’s ordered to keep within 80km of his house, and to stay away from helicopters.)
  • Dotcom wins a court action forcing the FBI to expose much more detail about its proposed case than it had so far given out in the extradition procedings.

Now add to that:

  • US authorities appeal the earlier judgment and succeed, with the court taking the FBI’s side and agreeing that the extradition hearing needs only to establish that there is a case to answer, not to examine the same details that a full trial would.

This appeal now looks set to lead to an appeal against the appeal, with the next step to be along these lines:

  • Dotcom goes to the Supreme Court to try to win back the right to see all the evidence against him before, rather than after, his extradition.

Who knows where all this will lead?

Dotcom’s Megaupload service was killed off, seemingly for ever, by the original arrests.

There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Megaupload was a hotbed of piracy, just doubt over the criminal liability of Dotcom and his fellow corporate officers for the content they enabled their users to share by means of the service.

On the anniversary of his arrest, the media-savvy Dotcom launched a son-of-Megaupload service known as Mega.

Mega uses public key cryptography in your browser so that Dotcom and his colleagues don’t, and in theory can’t, know what you’re uploading.

The cryptographic system in the new Mega service also means that, since only the original uploader knows what’s what, any sharing must be the fault (or the intent) of that user, who would need to pass on the decryption key of his own accord.

Indeed, Mega now brands itself as “the privacy company.”

Will the effort put into making Mega lawsuit-safe against the owners make them look better in the Megaupload court action? (“See, we really do care about intellectual property after all.”)

Or will they look worse? (“See, we clearly didn’t care before or we’d have done this earlier.”)

What do you think?