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In a new court filing Megaupload's legal team refutes the U.S. Government's claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives. The filing further reveals efforts to uncover the MPAA's involvement in the criminal investigation into Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. kimfugitiveItâ€™s been nearly three years since Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. authorities but itâ€™s still uncertain whether Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be extradited overseas. As thereâ€™s little progress in the criminal case, the U.S. launched a separate civil case asking the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. The U.S. claims that these assets were obtained through criminal activities. In a recent motion to strike the DoJ added that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants have no right to oppose the forfeiture request as they are fugitives. â€œClaimants Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, and Sven Echternach, are deliberately avoiding prosecution by declining to enter the United States where the criminal case is pending,â€ U.S. Attorney Dana Boente noted. Yesterday evening Megauploadâ€™s legal team filed a response to the Governmentâ€™s motion, noting that the U.S. heavily distorts the â€œfugitiveâ€ status concept. The lawyers inform the court that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants arenâ€™t trying to avoid prosecution. Instead, theyâ€™re remaining in place until the New Zealand court decides over their extradition request. â€œThese Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. To the contrary, they remain precisely where they have long been residing and carrying out the very business enterprise that the Government characterizes as criminalâ€”in New Zealand.â€ â€œNor have these Claimants altered their plans so as to avoid return to the United States. To the contrary, they are simply maintaining the pre-indictment status quo and following the rule of law by invoking their rights under the laws and procedures of their home countries, where they had long-planned to remain.â€ In a declaration to the court Dotcom emphasizes that heâ€™s currently under supervision of the New Zealand court. He never fled from the United States, in fact, he has never been there in his entire life. â€œI have never been a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. I have never visited the United States,â€ Dotcom writes. Megauploadâ€™s lawyers ask the court to deny the U.S. â€œfugitives'â€ claim or keep it pending until thereâ€™s a decision on the motion to dismiss they filed earlier. In this motion they argued that the entire case should be dismissed since the U.S. doesnâ€™t have a statute for criminal secondary copyright infringement. If the court decides to move forward, Megauploadâ€™s legal team want the â€œfugitivesâ€ claim to be converted to a request for summary judgment. This would allow them to conduct discovery and find out what role the MPAA played in the criminal investigation. Shortly before the investigation began the MPAA hired former Assistant Attorney General, Cybele Daley, for lobbying purposes. Daley had a budget of over $1 million a year to lobby attorneys at the Department of Justice, and Megauploadâ€™s lawyers want to find out where the U.S. was overreaching. Itâ€™s now up to the Virginia federal court to decide how to proceed. Needless to say, the outcome will have a major impact on Dotcomâ€™s means to fight back. torrentfreak
A cold case comes back to life after facial recognition software recognizes an alleged US outlaw who'd been hiding out in Nepal. Facial recognition technology used on the photo in the Neil Stammer wanted poster led to his arrest.FBIIn 2000, after being accused of child sex abuse and kidnapping in New Mexico, Neil Stammer skipped town and went underground. Fourteen years later he was arrested in Nepal. How did the authorities catch this fugitive? Facial recognition technology. Stammer was first arrested in 1999 on multiple state charges, but after being released on bond, he never showed up for his arraignment. He was said to be a talented juggler who spoke a dozen languages and traveled the world as a street performer. The FBI thought he could be anywhere. After years of trying to locate Stammer, with no luck, the feds decided to shelve the case. Then, earlier this year, FBI Special Agent Russ Wilson was assigned to be a fugitive coordinator in New Mexico. "In addition to the current fugitives, I had a stack of old cases," Wilson said in a statement, "and Stammer's stood out." So, Wilson reissued Stammer's "Wanted" poster. At the same time, the Diplomatic Security Service, which cracks down on bogus US passports, had just begun testing facial recognition software designed to expose passport fraud. An agent from the Diplomatic Security Service ran the software on Stammer's poster and came up with something interesting -- a match with a passport photo of someone named Kevin Hodges. The agent contacted Wilson who quickly tracked down Stammer in Nepal. Stammer had been living under the alias of Kevin Hodges and was teaching English to Nepalese students. "He was very comfortable in Nepal," Wilson said. "My impression was that he never thought he would be discovered." Although facial recognition technology has attracted growing attention in recent years from law enforcement and commercial interests, its reception has been rocky. Privacy advocates raised concerns in April over a facial-recognition database being developed by the FBI that could hold 52 million images by next year. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has also questioned the FBI's use of facial recognition software, saying it could infringe on people's privacy. According to a report from July 2011, it's not just the FBI employing facial recognition software -- around40 law enforcement agencies across the US are attempting to use mobile facial recognition technology to identify individuals. http://www.cnet.com/news/facial-recognition-tech-leads-feds-to-fugitive-after-14-years/