Tag Archives: DOJ

In defense of torrents

With much fanfare from the Department of Justice, the alleged operator of the largest torrent site, Artem Vaulin, was arrested in Poland and the website was seized. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, “[Artem] Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials. In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.” see more…

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Asset forfeiture is legalized theft

policing for profitOver the past several years, awareness of the issue of civil asset forfeiture has garnered the attention of media and legislators around the country. Eric Holder last year made modifications to the policies involving “[f]ederal adoption of property seized by state or local law enforcement under state law.” Holder said that his order does not apply to seizures by state and local authorities working together with or on behalf of a federal agency, nor does it “limit the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws.” see more…

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Top 5 stories of 2015: a year in review

2015-YIR-coverAs 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest stories of the year.

#5 Asset forfeiture halted!?
At the beginning of the year, Eric Holder made headlines when he announced a new policy prohibiting state and local governments from using federal civil asset forfeiture laws for most cases. The DOJ’s Equitable Sharing program has allowed thousands of local and state police agencies to have seized nearly $3 billion in cash and property since 2008. Using Equitable Sharing, a state or local police department or drug task force would seize property and then have that property adopted by a federal agency. The agency making the seizure would then be allowed to keep up to 80 percent of the value of the items confiscated. see more…

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DC Court of Appeals refuses to rule on NSA spying; may be forced to

nsa logo - ILLEGALThe US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dealt a blow to a lawsuit challenging the NSA’s use of warrantless surveillance, claiming the plaintiff did not prove standing. The Washington Post reports, the court “ruled that public-interest lawyer Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, has not proved that his own phone records were collected by the NSA — and so has not met a condition of bringing the lawsuit.” The ruling sent the case back to a lower court for further deliberation on the issue, and did not address the constitutionality or legality of the program. see more…

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A big year for cannabis

marihuanaThere have been major stories regarding cannabis over the last 15 months. On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice announced, “Based on assurances that those states [that have legalized cannabis] will impose an appropriately strict regulatory system, the Department has informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time.” Further, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole sent a memo to all United States Attorneys explaining the DOJ’s stance. see more…

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FBI crime report lacks some useful data

holderEvery year the FBI releases what it calls the Uniform Crime Report, which details numbers of arrests – which counts one arrest for each separate instance in which a person is arrested, cited, or summoned for an offense – and various other data on crime, criminals, and law enforcement officers.

One of the numbers that jumped out to me was that arrests for cannabis possession makes up a smaller percentage of drug related arrests out west (18%) compared to the rest of the country (~50%). see more…

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Twitter, free speech and warrant canaries

warrant canaryOn October 7, Twitter, which is called by some the champion of free speech among social networks, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the FBI. Reuters reports, “In the lawsuit… Twitter said that current rules prevent it from even stating that it has not received any national security requests for user information.”

A blog post from Twitter stated, “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”

The “broad, inexact ranges” mention by Twitter is a reference to an “agreement between Internet companies like Google and Microsoft with the government about court orders they receive related to surveillance,” according to Reuters. For example, a tech company that received 456 FISA orders and/or national security letters, would be able to say it received between zero and 999 orders. see more…

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Kim Dotcom lays out ten “facts” about his case

From his twitter account, Kim Dotcom continues trying his legal battle in the court of public opinion by explaining the shams foisted upon him by the U.S. DOJ and their puppets in New Zealand:

Fact #1: All my assets are still frozen. I have no funds to pay lawyers & defend myself in the biggest copyright case in world history.

Fact #2: NZ courts ruled: Restraining order illegal. Search warrants illegal. But I still have no access to my files. Not even copies.

Fact #3: NZ court ruled: FBI removed my data from NZ illegally. But the FBI reviewed my hard drives anyway and didn’t send them back.

Fact #4: The DOJ argues in US court that I should not get a penny unfrozen for my defense cause I should be treated like a bank robber.

Fact #5: The DOJ argues in US court that I should not have the lawyers of my choosing because of a conflict of interest with rights holders.

Fact #6: There is no criminal statute for secondary copyright infringement in the US. The DOJ doesn’t care. Let’s just be creative.

Fact #7: Only 10% of our users and 15% of our revenue came from US users. Yet the DOJ argues in US court that all assets are tainted.

Fact #8: The DOJ told the Grand Jury that Megaupload employs 30 staff. In reality 220 jobs were lost because of the US actions.

Fact #9: The DOJ shut down several companies for alleged copyright infringement including N1 Limited – A fashion label making clothing.

Fact #10: The DOJ is charging us with Money Laundering and Racketeering cause Copyright Infringement isn’t enough for Extradition from NZ.

While it is very easily arguable that Megaupload and Megavideo were being used for copyright infringement at some level — something he’s acknowledged and had a response system in place to remove said infringing content — the DOJ’s response to the daily onslaught of Google/YouTube infringement claims in an entirely different manner can only explained as quid pro quo.

The unfortunate lesson: if you want to run a large internet company unmolested by Uncle Sam, you had better grease the right palms in DC.

UPDATE: According to a report last month from Stuff.co.nz, Dotcom is being denied access to evidence (except 40 pages of the prosecution’s “cherry-picked” items from over 22 million emails) as he fights the ongoing and financially exhaustive extradition battle, he has threatened to publish what little information has been released by the DOJ to his legal team to the public in a bid to win sympathy.

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