NZ PM orders inquiry into govt spying on Megaupload

NZ Prime Minister John Key has called for an investigation into claims that the Government Communications Security Bureau intercepted communications in the Megaupload case unlawfully.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has requested that the inspector-general of Intelligence and Security conduct an inquiry into the Government Communications Security Bureau's (GCSB) unlawfully intercepted communications as part of the case against file-sharing website Megaupload.

Key announced today that the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court, claiming that the GCSB acted unlawfully in assisting police to locate individuals through intercepting communications without statutory authority to do so. He said that he was informed about the matter by the director of the GCSB on September 17, and has referred the matter to Inspector-General Paul Neazor.

Key said that he is disappointed by the GCSB's actions.

"I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust," he said in a statement.

"I look forward to the inspector-general's inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it."

Megaupload was shut down in January, and its founder Kim Dotcom had his Auckland mansion raided, with four arrested at the time.

Dotcom has argued that Megaupload was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but US prosecutors allege that the website encouraged users to infringe on copyrighted music, software, and movies, costing copyright owners an estimated US$500 million in revenue.

In June, the raid on Dotcom's residence was ruled illegal by the High Court, which called into question the admissibility of the evidence obtained during that raid. In July, the hearing into whether Dotcom should be extradited to the US was delayed until March 2013.

After hearing the news of the inquiry this morning, Dotcom tweeted that he is "a real life James Bond villain in a real life politicial copyright thriller scripted by Hollywood and the White House." He welcomed the inquiry by the New Zealand prime minister, and asked for the inquiry to cover the entire Megaupload case.

The news comes as Dotcom also prepares to relaunch the Megaupload website. Dotcom stated on Saturday that the code is 90 percent completed.

He tweeted: "Servers on the way. Lawyers, partners & investors ready. Be patient. It's coming."

Editorial standards