Web

Kim Dotcom writes to Hollywood as his judge recuses himself

kim dotcom writes to hollywood as his judge recuses himself muThe strange legal battles surrounding Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom took not one, but two unexpected twists today, as the New Zealand judge in charge of his extradition hearings recuses himself from the case after an unexpected outburst and the troubled businessman penned an open letter to the industry seeking his imprisonment. If this was some kind of soap opera, both of these developments would seem unbelievable.

Auckland District Judge David Harvey has announced that he is stepping down from the case surrounding Dotcom and three Megaupload colleagues – Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk – and their possible extradition to the United States to face charges of criminal copyright violation, after making comments during a public appearance in which he described the US as “the enemy.” The commentary – a paraphrase of the famous saying “We Have Met The Enemy… And He Is Us” from Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip – came as Judge Harvey spoke at a conference discussion recently on copyright and trade talks with the US, telling the assembled audience that “we have met the enemy, and he is [the] US.” 

Harvey’s departure from the case was announced by district court’s chief judge Jan-Marie Doogue, who said in a statement that Harvey “recognises that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent internet conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case.” He will be replaced immediately by Judge Nevin Dawson, who has already been involved in hearings connected with the case; Dawson was actually being the person who decided to allow Dotcom to be released on bail this February after only a month in jail, pending further developments in the case. He will preside over the next step in the case as it returns to court next month.

In the meantime, Dotcom released an open letter to “Hollywood” via the Hollywood Reporter, in which he addressed the charges against him both legal and moral. Explaining that “The people of the Internet will unite. They will help me. And they are stronger than you. We will prevail in the war for Internet freedom and innovation that you have launched,” Dotcom declared his innocence of the charges leveled against him in suitably melodramatic fashion:

As you should have known, our Mega services operated within the boundaries of the law. We had users that spanned from the military to Hollywood to lawyers and doctors. If you are unhappy with that, it is up to you to convince Congress to amend legislation. You tried with SOPA and you failed. As an alternative, you chose to lobby the Justice Department to ignore the law and stage a global show of force and destruction. The only parties a New Zealand court has found to have violated the law in this case are the local police and the FBI. Regardless of the issues you have with new technologies, you can’t just engage armed forces halfway around the world, rip a peaceful man from his family, throw him in jail, terminate his business without a trial, take everything he owns without a hearing, deprive him of a fair chance to defend himself and do all that while your propaganda machine is destroying him in the media. Is that who you want to be?

Announcing that “there will be a happy ending,” he positioned Megaupload as an innocent cloud sharing system, and therefore part of an inevitable future of computing before slyly inviting discussion as to closing out his ongoing problems. “Unfortunately I can only do lunch in New Zealand,” he finished.

Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 DLC characters reportedly leaked: Who’s next after Shang Tsung?

A datamine on Mortal Kombat 11 reportedly revealed all the DLC characters that will be added to the game's expansive roster. The leak corroborates the hint that the anti-hero Spawn is on his way to joining the fighting game.
Deals

How to watch the Top Rank Boxing: Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan PPV with ESPN Plus

This Saturday, welterweight champion Terence Crawford will defend his title against former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden. Here's how you can watch this highly anticipated pay-per-view event.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Computing

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.
Web

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.
Mobile

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.
Computing

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.
Business

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…
Computing

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.
Computing

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.