Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom is ducking interviews after after a hacking boast over the weekend.
"I hacked our German credit rating system and changed our prime minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy," Mr Dotcom said during his speech at the party's campaign launch Sunday.
"And you have all figured by now there’s another prime minister I don’t like."
The brag raised fresh questions about whether the accused pirate could be behind Whaledump, the Twitter account run by a person who claims to be the hacker who supplied stolen emails and documents to Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager — something he has previously denied.
However, Mr Dotcom refused interviews after the speech.
Internet Party press secretary Pam Corkery lashed out at media who wanted to question the Internet Party founder yesterday, telling one, "You want to interview Kim, who said no interviews, about a 19-year-old story. You work in news you puffed up little sh*t. ... He's [Dotcom] is not a candidate. He doesn't owe you anything. When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off." (See video of the incident here).
After his appearance at the campaign launch, Mr Dotcom was bundled into a car while minders shielded him from reporters.
On Breakfast this morning, Internet Party leader Laila Harre said Ms Corkery was "very apologetic" over losing her temper.
Ms Harre also criticised media for not covering the next part of Mr Dotcom's speech, in which he detailed how he went on to use his hacking skills for good. He gained a "$1 million" loan from the German government and used it to employ around 50 staff for his security consulting company.
Mr Dotcom (then going by his birth name, Kim Schmitz) had a string of convictions in the mid to late 1990s, but did not have to serve a two-year jail sentence because of his age. A Wired profile says:
... He also claimed to have hacked NASA and said that he had accessed Pentagon systems to read top-secret information on Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.
There’s no record to substantiate most of this; perhaps some of it is true. What he did do was steal phone calling card codes and conduct a premium number fraud similar to the recent rash of Filipino phreaking frauds. He bought stolen phone card account information from American hackers. After setting up premium toll chat lines in Hong Kong and in the Caribbean, he used a “war dialer” program to call the lines using the stolen card numbers—ringing up €61,000 in ill-gained profits.
Schmitz’s efforts to branch into the “legit” world of security consulting with his security company Data Protect initially backfired by exposing his real identity—and by allowing it to be connected to his hacker credentials. In March of 1994, he was arrested by police for trafficking in stolen phone calling card numbers. He was held in custody for a month, then arrested again on additional hacking charges shortly afterward — and again released. In 1998, he was convicted of 11 counts of computer fraud, 10 counts of data espionage, and an assortment of other charges. He received a two-year suspended sentence—because, at just 20, he was declared “under age” at the time the crimes were committed.
But Schmitz used the notoriety to boost his security business. He soon landed a security contract for Data Protect with the airline Lufthansa by demonstrating an apparent security vulnerability—though according to claims by others in the German hacking community, his connection to the airline was thanks to collaboration with an insider there, and to the hacking skills of an accomplice.
Ms Harre said media should concentrate on Internet Mana's newly announced job creation policy, which includes a $400 million for "digital workforce development."
The party says it would redirect around 20% of ACC's current reserves to fund the initiative.
Mr Dotcom's turnaround story was an example of how a hands-on digital economy strategy could work, she said.
Meanwhile, the Mega founder is back in the Supreme Court today for the latest round of his extradition fight.
The Court of Appeal overruled a 2012 High Court ruling that declared the warrants for the January 20,2013 raid on his rented mansion invalid because they weren't sufficiently specific and didn't properly describe his alleged offences. Mr Dotcom is today appealing that decision.