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Kim Dotcom spying was illegal but no charges to be pressed

Despite the fact that the New Zealand government agency, GCSB, has been found to have conducted illegal spying of Kim Dotcom and his piracy co-defendent Bram van der Kolk, it will not have any criminal charges brought against it, because of what the police describe as a lack of “intent,” on behalf of the organisation.

Understandably, this has riled up more than a few people. Kim Dotcom took to his twitter to say, “Surprise, surprise: No accountability for illegal #GCSB spying,” while leader of the Green Party Russel Norman reached out to the press. He was quoted as saying, “There appears to be different standards for the Government’s spies compared to the rest of New Zealanders when it comes to obeying the law.” He also described it as a “sad day,” when spies that break the law aren’t held to account.

Regarding the question of intent, he said there was none. It didn’t matter whether they were aware of breaking the law or not, ignorance to a law does not make you exempt from it. “The police did not have to establish that the spies intended to break the law, but the fact is they did through their actions,” he said.

Labour party members have also stepped forward, with deputy leader of the party Grant Robertson suggesting the GSCB needs to be held accountable.”The GCSB has intrusive powers,” he said. “How can the public have confidence that their privacy will be respected if there are no consequences when the GCSB breaks the law?”

Sure it was illegal, but they didn’t really mean to do it…

The police said in a statement that part of the problem was the GSCB misunderstanding an immigration act, which it thought allowed it to spy on Dotcom. Again, it has to worry the New Zealand people whether that’s a lie or not. Either you have a government spy agency that doesn’t know the laws that apply to its actions, or you have one that wilfully ignores laws when it suits it.

The only action the police has taken, is to make recommendations to the GCSB on improving its practices in the future. Kristy McDonald QC, has also provided an independent review of the GSCB’s actions. However, Kim Dotcom is sceptical of how fair that review could be, when she is currently part of the GSCB’s defence in Dotcom’s own court case against the organisation.

Watch the full video of the confession of guilt without charges, over at Stuff.

KitGuru Says: This seems like a massive miscarriage of justice. A government agency gets caught spying illegally – it doesn’t even have bills like FISA in the US to fall back on – and yet because it was described as not trying to do something illegal, it gets away scot-free. It would be very interesting to see what would happen to any New Zealand citizen who tried to spy on someone illegally – you know they’d have the book thrown at them. 

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