Mona Dotcom, somewhat recently estranged wife of Kim Dotcom, has petitioned the government that she has a 50% stake in the assets frozen and seized with the co-operation of New Zealand. Under New Zealand law, she would be entitled to her share of these assets if she could prove that she had no knowledge of the criminal activities of her husband. Since the prosecutors can prove that Mona had six Megaupload accounts with two of her personal e-mail addresses, they say it is very unlikely that she was not aware of the illegal nature of the business.
The government called into question the circumstances of Mona meeting her husband in November 2007, pointing out that he’d had a child with his previous wife just a few months before and did not divorce her until September 2008. Mona and Kim were married in September 2009, by which time, the government claims, much of the assets they’ve seized had already been acquired by Kim Dotcom.
Since the raid on Kim Dotcom‘s mansion in January 2012, he has made an effort to legitimize his assets and create revenue streams to support his children. Mega, the file hosting service which is reportedly worth 35 million New Zealand dollars, is one such venture. While Dotcom personally has no stake in it at present, he was able to make sure a trust was set up for his then-not-estranged-wife and children, about 17% of the company. Mega uses cryptography to try to prevent the government or anyone else from knowing what is being hosted or shared, including the service provider.
The government says that Mona’s claim on the luxury vehicles Dotcom owns is unfounded because she doesn’t even drive, a rather odd strategy for discounting someone’s claim to property. To whit:
But Mona Dotcom cannot even drive. Without that ability, it would seem nearly impossible for her to establish that she had dominion and control over the vehicles.
Dominion and control is another aspect of New Zealand law the government is hoping won’t allow Mona Dotcom’s motion to go forward, but it’s important to remember that driving is not required to have dominion or control over a motor vehicle. Indeed, there are other wealthy people who also don’t drive but also own several vehicles. Is the government about to argue that these people do not have dominion and control over their vehicles, either?
The government’s argument goes on to cite similar cases where a disenfranchised spouse had petitioned the government for their share of seized property back, and in some cases it has been determined that the spouse is not entitled to anything the criminal had before divorce proceedings begin. While it’s difficult to make out what the legalese is saying, it basically means that the government won’t interfere with alimony and child support with its seizures, but it will take everything from a married couple even when only one party is guilty of anything.
The motion, to strike Mona Dotcom’s claim down, was only filed on December 30th, so it will be some time yet before a decision comes out. It could be precedent setting, with the government eventually being forced to turn over half of what was seized from her estranged husband to Mrs. Dotcom.
Images from Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock.
Viral Disinformation Warning: Fake News Are Taking over Facebook
Today’s news: Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford voted for Donald Trump, the Republican President-elect of the US, because the liberals want to take away their money; Melania Trump filed to divorce her husband, Donald Trump; Donald Trump himself said to People Magazine that Republicans are the dumbest group of voters; All the news above are fake, but trending on the social networks.
FBI and Carnegie Mellon Possibly Colluded in Tor Uncloaking Scheme
Reports have come out recently that paint an interesting picture of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Carnegie Mellon University. For starters, a court document acquired by Vice showed that the FBI was crediting an unnamed academic institution with helping it in locating a child pornography suspect as well as the people behind Silk Road 2.
Researchers from the school canceled a talk they were scheduled to give at July’s Black Hat conference on exactly the subject of unmasking a Tor IP address. The talk promised to show the conference of hackers how this could be done with a mere $3,000 equipment investment cost. The attack that was successful last year cost around $50,000, sources say. Considering the time and money put into the Tor project over the years, the relative low cost and low research debt which Carnegie Mellon researchers appear to have leveraged should be, well, scary.
But things get more interesting as the reporting goes deeper. While there remains no current evidence that CMU is in fact working in league with the FBI on a regular and active basis, the Tor project itself claims to have received word that CMU received $1 million for its help in breaking Tor.
The Tor Project has learned more about last year’s attack by Carnegie Mellon researchers on the hidden service subsystem. Apparently these researchers were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes. […] We have been told that the payment to CMU was at least $1 million.
When contacted about the co-operation with the government, Motherboard received a telling boilerplate from Richard Lynch, public relations at Carnegie’s Software Engineering Institute:
Thanks for your inquiry, but it is our practice not to comment on law enforcement investigations or court proceedings.
This is telling in that the inquiry was more related to the claims made by the researchers regarding what they were able to do in their attacks on Tor. After all, the group had claimed to be able to do something that was very similar to what the Tor project had previously described.
Also read: Tor Network May Face Disabling Attack
At present, there is no overwhelming evidence that a payment was ever exchanged. There is no evidence that the academic institution wasn’t some other institution. But we have here more building blocks than a typical conspiracy theorist would need to construct a story here: Carnegie Mellon outsourced some of its research to the FBI, was helpful, and the FBI compensated Carnegie Mellon. The civil libertarian element of the research is what is troubling. For while they may have uncloaked some bad guys, they also certainly uncloaked a lot of innocent traffic – people in repressed countries trying to communicate with loved ones in the West, for instance.
Tor is compromised, and these aren’t the kinds of things you can easily trust again later. The government occasionally makes grandiose claims regarding its computer science capabilities, that’s for sure, but believing that you can browse anywhere anymore without being tracked may be a more grandiose thought indeed.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Are SJWs Trying to Frame Linux Creator Linus Torvalds With Fake Sexual Assault Charges?
Last week open-source software developer and Libertarian activist Eric Raymond published a disturbing post that went viral on the Internet. The post, titled “From kafkatrap to honeytrap,” reports that militant feminist groups and “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs) are trying to frame Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds and other high-profile male developers with fake sexual assault charges.
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