New Zealand High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann has ordered the NZ police and the FBI to go through the digital material seized following the arrest of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues and to return any of it that’s not relevant to the case, as well as clones of devices that contain any material that is considered relevant to it.
“The warrants could not authorize the permanent seizure of hard drives and digital materials against the possibility that they might contain relevant material, with no obligation to check them for relevance,” Winkelmann wrote in her order. “They could not authorize the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorize keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offenses.”
The decision comes following Megaupload’s appeal to overthrow the initial court ruling that banned them from accessing any of the digital evidence collected by the police and sent to the FBI. The aforementioned law enforcement agencies are expected to comply with this latest ruling at their own cost, which also includes destroy all the irrelevant data they have in their possession.
For any of you who might not remember, Kim Dotcom and his three associates have been arrested in January 2012 and are currently fighting extradition to the United States. Their extradition hearing is scheduled for August.
In July 2012 Justice Winkelmann has ruled that the raid on Dotcom’s house as well as the seizure warrants for his data were illegal because they were too broad in scope.