Government Communications Security Bureau might find itself in court after wiretapping Dotcom’s communications
The New Zealand Appeals Court has ruled that Kim Dotcom, the founder of the cloud hosting business Megaupload, should be allowed to sue the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) for illegally wiretapping his communications prior to the raid on his home last year.
The decision counters the attempts by New Zealand’s attorney general to exclude the government agency from the lawsuit.
At the same time, Dotcom continues to fight against extradition to the US.
Tables are turned
Megaupload was closed in January 2012 as part of an international move against online copyright infringement. Dotcom and three of his employees were taken into custody by New Zealand police, but have since been released on bail, giving the entrepreneur an opportunity to launch a new service – Mega.
Federal authorities claim Dotcom illegally earned around $175 million through Megaupload, while causing losses of at least $500 million to the US entertainment industry.
New Zealand’s High Court had previously ruled that Dotcom should be allowed to sue GCSB, but the decision was countered by an appeal. Now, the entrepreneur is finally free to seek damages for the violation of his privacy by the New Zealand government agency, perpetrated on behalf of the US authorities.
The GCSB was found to have spied on Dotcom in the run-up to the 2012 raid, prompting a public apology from the prime minister John Key. Reuters reports that since Dotcom is a German national living in New Zealand, it was illegal to intercept his communications.
However, the court limited the amount of GCSB evidence that Dotcom and his associates can access, ruling that only evidence relevant to the case that was given to police would be passed on to his legal team.
A post on Twitter by Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken suggests that his legal team is seriously considering the launch of another lawsuit.
We look forward to holding GCSB spy org accountable doing so will not only protect @kimdotcom‘s rights but the rights of all NZ residents
— Ira Rothken (@rothken) March 7, 2013
Dotcom is already suing the New Zealand police force. At the same time, he is fighting extradition to the US, where he is accused of online piracy, fraud and money laundering, and faces a sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
Last week, Amsterdam & Partners – a law firm from London – joined Dotcom’s defence alongside colleagues from Paris to try and prove he didn’t create Megaupload to benefit from online piracy.
The extradition hearing is scheduled for 25 March.
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