NZ Prime Minister Orders Inquiry Into Illegal Interceptions of Kim Dotcom

New Zealand's national security agency illegally intercepted communications of Kim Dotcom when providing assistance to the U.S. with its request for his arrest and extradition to the U.S. A formal inquiry was announced today. Via Press Release From the Prime Minister of New Zealand:

Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.

The Security Bureau informed the Prime Minister of the illegal interceptions on Sept. 17. The Prime Minister wouldn't say what effect it will have on the extradition request, but it sounds like he expects the High Court to consider it:[More...]

"Because this is also a matter for the High Court in its consideration of the Megaupload litigation, I am unable to comment further."

Prime Minister Key said he was not asked to sign an interception warrant and he was not briefed on the raid.

Tech Liberty in New Zealand says under New Zealand law:

Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

Kim Dotcom became a resident of New Zealand in 2010.

The next hearing on the search warrants will take place Weds. in the High Court before Judge Winkelmann.

This may turn out to be a really big deal. More at New Zealand Business Review here and here, from ComputerWorld NZ here and Bloomberg News here.

The Crown's brief (3 pages) is not yet publicly available. Dotcom's lawyers are taking a "wait and see" attitude.

'It all depends on what the results are and what the prime minister does ... obviously we'd be interested to know if the United States was involved...we'll await the results."

If I had to guess, I'd say it was the interceptions that revealed the Megaupload co-defendants would be arriving for Kim Dotcom's party. That prompted the raid, since they would all be in one place. How would they know that but for intercepting their calls or e-mails?

Kim Dotcom's reaction (via @kimdotcom on Twitter):

"I'm now a real life James Bond villain in a real life political copyright thriller scripted by Hollywood & the White House."


I welcome the inquiry by @JohnKeyPM into unlawful acts by the GCSB. Please extend the inquiry to cover the entire Crown Law Mega case.

Last word for now to a tweet by the New Zealand Business Review:

"The irony of breaking the law to arrest people alleged to have broken the law is painful"

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  • Display: Sort:
    I don't have time right now (none / 0) (#1)
    by sj on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:15:06 AM EST
    but, I'm really looking forward to checking out all those links.  This whole case is jaw-droppingly bad and corrupt, but I'm glad to see that at least one democratic country treats the issue of illegal domestic spying as the serious offense that it is.  

    Too bad it ain't 'Merica, where (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:42:30 AM EST
    Illegal intercepts are protected "speech" (or its inverse.)