Police ordered to return clone technology to Kim Dotcom and co-accused

The Court of Appeal has ordered the New Zealand Police and the Crown to return cloned electronic material to Kim Dotcom which was taken in the raid on his mansion in 2012.

The hearing in Wellington was adjourned in mid-August for lawyers to reach an agreement over the return of the material. Crown counsel David Boldt told the court on Aug. 14 that the delayed return was because encryption codes hadn't been provided to the police as they had previously agreed. 

The judgment is the latest in a series of legal challenges by Dotcom to head off the US federal government’s bid to extradite him and co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to face charges of conspiracy to operate websites used to illegally distribute copyrighted content. 

In their judgment, Justices Ellen France, Tony Randerson and Douglas White acknowledge technical issues around encryption but found it was appropriate Dotcom and his co-accused had access to the electronic information ahead of extradition proceedings. 

The Court ordered the police to release clones of any device which is free from encrypted material “as soon as reasonably practicable”. The police will retain a clone of any device which contains encrypted material upon the receipt and verification of encryption codes. Part of the ruling is suppressed. 

Police can release cloned information in tranches, if it will be quicker, the judgment said. 

Two police officers have been nominated to receive encryption codes, which they must keep confidential and not reveal to another party, “in particular to any representative of the government of the United States of America,” the judgment said. 


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