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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats 134

Master Moose writes with an excerpt from indicating that New Zealand's government "wants to override privacy laws to supply the U.S. Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand. As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the U.S. is forcing banks and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of U.S. 'persons' and companies based overseas. From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. The move comes amid continuing criticism of New Zealand's participation in Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks, aimed at securing a wider-reaching free trade deal with the U.S. and other countries. Critics say the secretive talks could restrict New Zealand's ability to make its own laws on everything from the environment to employment."

NZ Copyright Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer 102

An anonymous reader writes with news that the first successful case was brought before the copyright tribunal under NZ's three strikes law. From the article: "The first music pirate stung under new file-sharing laws has been fined $616 but 'didn't realise' the actions were illegal. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) — which represents music studios — took an unnamed offender to the Copyright Tribunal last year for sharing songs on the Internet — a track by Barbadian pop-star Rihanna on two occasions and the other by Nashville band Hot Chelle Rae. In a decision released today, the tribunal found in RIANZ's favor and ordered the offender ... to pay a penalty $616.57." Torrent Freak has a slightly different perspective: a lack of evidence and pushback from the tribunal resulted in much smaller fines than the RIANZ wanted.
Data Storage

Kim Dotcom Reveals Mega Will Offer 50GB of Free Storage 203

An anonymous reader writes "Kim Dotcom on Thursday used Twitter to reveal some interesting new tidbits in regards to his upcoming Mega service, which will be hosted at the New Zealand-based domain Two days before the service is to go live, Doctom says he plans to offer 50GB of free storage to all members and is also working on bringing over users' Megaupload files and data, but has so far run into legal issues." To say that Kim Dotcom has "run into legal issues" is like saying that Julian Assange is having a sleepover at the Ecuadorian embassy.

Dotcom Drags NZ Spook Agency Into Court 165

New submitter d18c7db writes "Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has won another court victory, today given the right to drag the secretive GCSB into the spotlight of a courtroom. Forcing the GCSB to be tied to the court action opens it up to court ordered discovery — meaning Dotcom's lawyers can go fishing for documents as they continue to fight extradition to the U.S. to face copyright charges. But the GCSB claimed any disclosure of what [was] intercepted would prejudice New Zealand's national security interests 'as it will tend to reveal intelligence gathering and sharing methods.' Dotcom and his fellow Mega Upload accused asked Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann for the right to have the GCSB become part of the proceedings, amend their statement of claim, and for additional discovery. In a judgment issued today she gave that permission."

Mega Finds New Home, Dotcom Says 115

hypnosec writes "Kim Dotcom has revealed that Megaupload's successor, Mega, which is reportedly launching on January 20, 2013, will be operating through a new domain name: Through a tweet Dotcom announced that Mega has found a new home and that the new domain name is protected by the law. Dotcom also revealed that lobbyists won't be able to do anything about this, as 'judges are not influenced by politics in New Zealand.' Recent announcements about Mega's domain — — didn't go as planned following a decision by the Government of Gabon to suspend the domain name. Dotcom had announced at the time that despite the blockage, Mega would launch as planned."

First Three-Strikes Copyright Court Case In NZ Falls Over 80

Bismillah writes "The 'Skynet' anti-filesharing law introduced last year in New Zealand is starting to bite, with people being hauled in front of the Copyright Tribunal by the music industry after receiving three notices. Of the three Copyright Tribunal cases to be heard currently, the first one's just been dropped. Why? Nobody knows. RIANZ isn't saying. Interesting things: the accused was the ISP account holder, a student sharing a place with others who also used the Internet connection. The cost of the five songs downloaded is NZ$11.95 but RIANZ wanted NZ$1,075.50 because it estimated the music was shared/downloaded 90 times in total. A high deterrent penalty of NZ$1,250 was also asked for."
The Internet

Kim Dotcom Apparently Spied On For Longer Than Admitted 107

another random user writes "Kim Dotcom's internet connection was being diverted inside New Zealand weeks before the Government Communications Security Bureau says it started spying on him. The New Zealand Herald has obtained details showing Telecom engineers and staff at its technology services company Gen-I were investigating irregularities with his internet connection in November. The revelation has raised suspicion that Mr Dotcom was victim to earlier spying than the GCSB has admitted. It has brought fresh calls for an inquiry amid claims of the spy agency's role in the international 'Five Eyes' Echelon Network."

NZ To Investigate Illegally Intercepted Data In Dotcom Case 53

First time accepted submitter karit writes with this excerpt from Scoop News: "Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau. Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority."

Three-Strikes Copyright Law In NZ Halves Infringement 202

Bismillah writes "The 'Skynet' copyright act has been in effect for six months in New Zealand and rights holders reckon it halved the number of infringements in the first month. Even so, they're not happy and say over forty per cent of Kiwis continue to infringe online. The fix? Rightsholders want the current NZ$25 infringement notice processing fee payable to ISPs to be dropped to just a few dollars or even pennies, so that they can send out thousands of notices a month. ISPs want the fee to increase four times instead, to cover their costs. Unfortunately, the submissions for the review of the infringement notice fees are kept secret by the government."

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren