Dotcom lawyer: We need that data back
UPDATE: Crown lawyers say they can't give copies of seized data to internet tycoon Kim Dotcom because the process could compromise the data's integrity.
Mr Dotcom's defence is seeking a judicial review into the search warrant used by police to seize his property during a raid on his Coatesville mansion in January.
Lawyers for the alleged internet pirate say the warrant was illegal because police seized digital computer data which was not relevant to the charges Mr Dotcom faced.
Mr Dotcom's Queens counsel, Paul Davison, argues the defence needs copies of that data so they can prepare for his client's upcoming extradition hearing.
Much of the data seized is encrypted, meaning United States authorities cannot access all the files.
At the Auckland High Court today, Crown lawyer Mike Ruffin says it would take at least two and a half months for computer experts to make a "forensic image", or copy, of all the data.
He says it must be taken to the US to be analysed in a highly sophisticated laboratory.
Mr Davison earlier told the court Mr Dotcom would be prepared to make a deal to provide the passwords, but only under a "judicially supervised process", to ensure his privacy and legal rights are protected.
However, Mr Ruffin says copying the data before it is analysed also risks compromising it, because changes are possible when data is copied from one hard drive to another.
A hearing continues at the Auckland High Court today into the legality of a search warrant used to seize the property of alleged internet pirate Kim Dotcom.
His lawyers are seeking a judicial review, arguing the warrant was illegal because it was overly broad.
Mr Dotcom’s defence lawyers asking for copies of the data seized by police, so they can properly prepare for his upcoming extradition hearing.
His American lawyer, Ira Rothken, told NBR ONLINE outside court that getting a copy of the seized data is important so the defence has a level playing field.
“That means that we need to have access to Kim Dotcom’s and Megaupload’s information.
"And once we can get that, and present all the evidence to the court here in New Zealand, we believe that Megaupload and Kim Dotcom will prevail.”
He says it is concerning that the United States can order New Zealand authorities to raid someone’s house, take digital data and then order it to be shipped back to the US.
Mr Dotcom was arrested along with three of his associates on January 20 following a raid on his Coatesville mansion, for alleged copyright breaches relating to the operation of his website Megaupload.
He denies doing anything wrong, and maintains the site was a legitimate way for people to share files and information.
The warrant allowed police to seize computers and digital data, but only that which was relevant to the charges brought against him.
But Mr Dotcom’s Queen's counsel Paul Davison says instead the police took everything, including the “closed circuit television system, which could not be responsibly considered to contain relevant information to who was living in the property”, as well as the switches which control the mansion’s lighting and entertainment system.
Mr Davison told the court police took about 135 digital devices, including Mr Dotcom’s personal computers and a large collection of family video footage.
However, Crown lawyer Mike Ruffin says it would have been impossible to determine which data was or was not relevant before seizing the computers.
He argued the data would need to be sent to America to be analysed before any copies could be given to Mr Dotcom, but Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann maintained it has nothing to do with US authorities as the warrant related only to the New Zealand police.
“How can they be authorised to withhold it? They’re not authorised to have it,” Justice Winkelmann said.