New Zealand surveillance agency rapped over Megaupload blunder

Official report rules spy agency illegally tracked Kim Dotcom.

Privacy

New Zealand's spy agency illegally carried out surveillance on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, prompting an apology from the prime minister and dealing a possible blow to a US bid to extradite him.

Washington wants the 38-year-old German national, also known as Kim Schmitz, to be sent to the United States to face charges of internet piracy and breaking copyright laws.

it is hugely disappointing that the actions of GCSB fell outside the law.

Thursday's report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence, the official watchdog for New Zealand spy agencies, found the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) had spied on Dotcom, despite a law prohibiting it from spying on New Zealand citizens and residents.

The flamboyant Dotcom attained New Zealand permanent residency status in 2010.

"It is the GCSB's responsibility to act within the law, and it is hugely disappointing that in this case its actions fell outside the law," Prime Minister John Key said in a statement, adding the blunder was the result of "basic errors".

Key apologised to Dotcom and all New Zealanders, saying they were entitled to be protected by the law and that it had failed them.

New Zealand police asked the GCSB to keep track of Dotcom and his colleagues before a raid in late January on his rented country estate near Auckland, which saw computers and hard drives, works of art, and cars confiscated.

The illegal surveillance may deal another blow to the US extradition case after a New Zealand court ruled in June that search warrants used in the raid on Dotcom's home were illegal.

The raid followed a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the arrest of Dotcom for leading a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by allegedly copying and distributing music, films and other copyrighted content without authorisation.

Dotcom maintains the Megaupload site was no more than an online storage facility, and has accused Hollywood of lobbying the US government to prosecute him.

US authorities are currently appealing a New Zealand court decision that Dotcom should be allowed to see the evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.

The extradition hearing has been delayed until March 2013.

Featured Resources

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Most Popular

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud
Security

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud

18 Nov 2020
macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks
operating systems

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks

16 Nov 2020
46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach
Security

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach

13 Nov 2020