Kim Dotcom Wins Access To Illegally Seized Property
Chalk it up for another win for Kim Dotcom. The founder of Megaupload is getting some of his seized property back after the New Zealand High Court ruled that the warrant’s the police used in a 2012 raid of his mansion were overbroad and illegal, bolstering Dotcom’s fight against extradition to the United States to face online piracy charges.
New Zealand High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann repeated her decision that warrants used in the raid were illegal, rejecting police claims that the breaches were technical. She ruled that evidence seized in the raid, including computers, hard drives, and other materials deemed irrelevant to the investigation must be returned to the Internet entrepreneur.
“The deficiencies in the warrants and, as a consequence, the searches, were more than merely technical,” Winkelmann wrote in today’s ruling. “The plaintiffs are entitled to relief that places them, if only roughly, in the position in which they would have been if the searches had been conducted pursuant to a valid warrant.
She also ruled that 150 terabytes of data that was shipped to the FBI by the police was also unlawful, adding that cloned drives holding personal information must be returned or destroyed if in the FBI’s possession.
“They could not authorize the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorize keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offenses.”
The United States has launched a criminal investigation into shuttered file-sharing site, Megaupload, saying that it facilitated online piracy and cost copyright holders such as record and movie companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds. Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, argues that the site was used as a storage facility and should not be held accountable if stored content was obtained illegally.
Dotcom launched a new file-sharing service, Mega, in January.
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