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.

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17 Comments & Questions

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New Zealand is a puppet state for the USA/UK govts.

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He will never get the CCTV videos back because that would prove US puppet masters where on the ground illegally

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Correct. It wil be an 'oopsy daisy, sorry we lost it'. Watch this space.

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NZ is controlled by the USA you do as i say not as you do, just pawns in the big picture.

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Where is the logic in raiding someone's house, putting them in jail and then saying: "Ummm, would you mind giving us your passwords please?".

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Go Justice Winkleman! The most sensible comment in the whole story.

I hope she and the other judges continue to focus on NZ law and full compliance with it and with common sense and natural justice.

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Hear, hear. As a state court judge in New Mexico I applaud Justice Winkleman, too. We often have to stand up to over-reaching federal authorities to protect our citizens. Cheers to Justice Winkleman for standing up against the US--at least she understands her role as a justice for New Zealand not a shill for Uncle Sam.

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This may come to bite the NZ Police on the proverbial. If they have given disks etc to the USA police maybe a problem, especially id information has already been sent to the USA. Me thinks there is a smell in the air, and its not a good smell

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you'd think they could come up with a better excuse than this, this is just utter rubbish:

"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."

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Lots of egg on NZ's face over this one!
And now it seems that the US is not even certain that there were chargeable offences.
Perhaps in future a little more caution would be appropriate?
Willie Getonwithit

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Why the heck where the US given the data in the first place?

Something sticks here. Crown lawyers wouldn't know one end of hard drive from another ... somehow they are experts on "data integrity" now? It's all rotten, send in the clowns.

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Slowly people are coming to learn the nature of the police state we live in.

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This statement is a 100% fail : "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".

If copying the data puts it at risk of being compromised, then the act of looking at the data must also (using the same logic put forward by the prosecution) put the data at risk of being compromised.

If this data is akin to Schrodinger's cat (as the prosecution lawyers would have you believe), then my guess is the defence can claim it was unencrypted incorrectly or was incorrectly analysed and therefore inadmissable. Fail. Ladies and gentlemen of NBR, there goes the case against Mr Dotcom.

Furthermore, to claim the light switch remotes were capable of holding incriminating data further shows the lack of understanding of technology on the part of the prosecution. What we are seeing here are (ill-informed) stalling tactics to cover the fact they a) don't know what they are doing (pretty please can I have the password?) and b) they have already given the data and/or disks to the US authorities. Either way, something stinks.

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And I forgot to mention.....if it takes 2 and half months to copy all of the data (considering they have already had it for 3) then they clearly don't have their best team on the job!

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will be interesting if justice Winkleman is still of the same opinion once the presure goes on easy to see why power jumped ship this whole e[pisode smells of him and his cronie mates that he helped set this up ,. did any of them donate one million dollers to christchurch recovery and this is how we repay a humaniterian gift like that new zealand should hang its head in sham. Sorry Kim.

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If copying the data could compromise it how do they explain copying it to give to the FBI? If that didn't compromise it then why can't they give a copy to Dotcom?

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Free and justice society, please!

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