By Tim Frederick | Aug 10, 2012 09:38 AM EDT
A 10 minute video has emerged online courtesy 3news.co.nz, showing the January 20, 2012 raid by New Zealand authorities on the mansion of MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom.
The land and air raid was carried out by more than 70 officers and members of New Zealand's Special Tactics Group, with assistance from the FBI. In the video, officers armed with assault rifles swoop into the mansion grounds aboard 2 helicopters, quickly followed by several ground vehicles carrying more officers and police dogs.
At the time, the property was housing Dotcom, his pregnant wife, their three children, two members of their security staff, and a few house guests, none of whom were armed. The security gates to the property were open at the time the raid was launched.
Dotcom and his lawyers are questioning the heavy-handedness of the raid, elements of which have since been deemed illegal by the New Zealand High Court. In particular, they question why an airborne unit was necessary, and why officers weren't fully garbed in protective gear if Dotcom was considered such a threat as to warrant that type of large-scale operation.
Raid planners have justified the use of the airborne unit for the element of surprise it provided, so that the mansion's occupants would not have time to delete any sensitive information from hard drives, the acquisition of which was a prime directive of the mission. Dotcom has said that would've been impossible, as their servers had already been seized by authorities before the raid was launched.
Kim Dotcom was subsequently arrested along with three other men, and has since been released on bail. He is currently fighting extradition to the United States to be tried on charges of money laundering and copyright theft stemming from the operation of MegaUpload.com.
The video has surfaced shortly after another major file sharing site, Demonoid, was taken down by Ukrainian authorities. Demonoid was one of the most popular file sharing sites in the world, ranked in the top 600 most trafficked websites by Alexa.com. That action has since prompted the hacktivist group Anonymous to target the websites of the Ukrainian authorities involved in Demonoid's takedown.
Were authorities justified in launching such a massive armed raid against Dotcom? Should authorities be wasting such time and resources targeting file sharing sites? Share your thoughts on file sharing below.
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