Megaupload's Dotcom allowed to seek damages against NZ spy agency

New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau illegally spied on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

New Zealand's High Court ruled Wednesday that Kim Dotcom and a Megaupload colleague can pursue damages against police and one of the country's spy services for illegally intercepting their communications.

In her judgment, Justice Helen Winkelmann also added the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) as a defendant in the case, ordering the agency to turn over some details of the agency's surveillance with respect to national security concerns. Another hearing is planned for next week.

New Zealand's government admitted it illegally spied on Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk prior to a January raid on Dotcom's mansion that coincided with the shutdown of their Megaupload file-sharing service.

Dotcom, van der Kolk and five others were indicted in January by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Virginia for running Megaupload, which prosecutors alleged rewarded users for trading files without permission of copyright holders, netting the site US$175 million in criminal proceeds.

Dotcom, who holds Finnish and German passports, and van der Kolk are permanent residents of New Zealand, which under the country's law means the GCSB is not allowed to intercept their communications. The GCSB's spying occurred between Dec. 16 and Jan. 20, the day Dotcom's mansion outside Auckland was raided.

According to Wednesday's judgment, Dotcom believes the surveillance may have started as early as November 2011. He is also seeking to find out whether the GCSB shared information with members of the Echelon/Five Eyes, a signal intelligence system run by the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A representative for New Zealand's attorney general's office has argued that further disclosures "would compromise New Zealand's national security interests, as it would reveal information-sharing protocols and practices with intelligence allies," Winkelmann wrote.

She ruled that most of the information Dotcom and van der Kolk want is relevant, but it does not preclude the GCSB "from claiming public interest confidentiality."

A law enforcement agency, Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ), sought the assistance of the GCSB prior to the raid on Dotcom's mansion. Further complicating the case, Winkelmann ruled in June that the raid on Dotcom's mansion was illegal because it was based on overly broad search warrants.

In the U.S., Megaupload is trying to get part of its criminal case dismissed, arguing that its headquarters, located in Hong Kong, were not properly served with a criminal summons. U.S. federal criminal procedures dictate that a summons can only be served within the U.S.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags megauploadintellectual propertycopyrightlegal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?