TL;DR: According to controversial website message board Kiwi Farms (KF), New Zealand police have formally asked the site’s owner “to preserve any posts and technical data including IP addresses, email addresses etc linked to” boards regarding the publishing of video and a manifesto tied to the mass murder of at least 49 Muslims in Christchurch recently. At the time of writing, KF refused, with founder Joshua Moon answering publicly, defiantly.
Kiwi Farms Refuses NZ Police Request to Preserve User IPs, Emails After Killings
Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael reached out to the message board operator and owner of Kiwi Farms, explaining, “I am hoping that you can help us with an investigation the New Zealand Police are working on. On 15 March 2019 there was a shooting in New Zealand with multiple fatalities at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The alleged offender in this matter is a Brenton TARRANT.”
“At around the time of the shooting there were a number of posts and links posted on kiwifarms.net <http://kiwifarms.net> relating to the shooting and TARRANT,” the detective specified. “We would like to preserve any posts and technical data including IP addresses, email addresses etc linked to these posts pending a formal legal request.”
Kiwi Farms operator Joshua Moon answered immediately, “Is this a joke? I’m not turning over information about my users. The person responsible for posting the video and manifesto PDF is myself,” Moon admitted. “I feel real bad for you guys, you’ve got a quiet nation and now this attack is going to be the first thing people think of for the next 10 years when they hear the name New Zealand, but you can’t do this. Tell your superiors they’re going to make the entire country and its government look like clowns by trying to censor the Internet,” Moon admonished.
Video Still Available on KF as of Publication
Calls for censorship have indeed come from the very tops of New Zealand’s government, including its Prime Minister who openly threatened jail time for anyone caught distributing related material, including and especially the killer’s live streamed video. CoinSpice can confirm the video is available through a link on KF, and is relatively easy to find with a key word search.
The video is horrifying by any measure, almost eerily calm, calculated, video game-y. Prayerful folk are huddled, vulnerable, crowded, defenseless. It is not viewing for the faint of heart. Media outlets have pleaded not to give the killer any press coverage, not to name him, and they’ve encouraged readers and viewers not to click on available links, to in fact report them.
“You’re a small, irrelevant island nation barely more recognizable than any other nameless pacific sovereignty,” Moon continued in his response to the New Zealand police request made 17 March 2019. “You do not have the clout to eradicate a video from the Internet and you do not have the legal reach to imprison everyone whose posted it. If anyone turns over to you the information they’re asking for they’re not only cowards, but they’re fucking idiots,” Moon stressed, and referred to himself as a US expat, and that his site “is contained within a Florida company.”
Freedom of Speech is Easy When the Case is Neat, Tidy
Moon added a post script about how “Kiwi Farms has nothing to do with New Zealand. Our name is a pointed jab at some of the mushmouthed autistic people we make fun of. Absolutely nothing about our community is NZ oriented. And I don’t give a single solitary fuck what section 50 of your faggot law say about sharing your email. Fuck you and fuck your shithole country,” he blasted, referring to a warning at the end of the detective’s email.
“Appreciate your quick response. Will definitely consider what you have said,” detective John Michael answered. Freelance journalist Nick Monroe has dutifully catalogued the ongoing story, including confirming the email exchange’s authenticity. Moon has been a polarizing figure for the last few years online, heading a band of outcasts who take special note of internet culture at the fringe. Mainstream outlets have labeled the site “hate” with all the usual caveats, but such appears to be only part of the story.
Kiwi Farms is a tough case for freedom of speech advocates. It’s easier when the cause is neat and tidy, clearly a good guy versus a bad guy. Here, that is not obvious at the very least to the outside public. However, reading threads on KF reveal thought isn’t entirely uniform, not lock step. Plenty KF members disagree with linking to the video as a matter of principle, and reprimand those who openly joke about the slaughter of 49 innocent people. Certainly the crypto community has no monolithic stance on the issue of distribution either, but CoinSpice has been keen to highlight harder cases of net censorship as in line with the overarching cypherpunk ethos of keeping the internet free and open, especially during politically charged events.
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