Police must sift through all digital material taken illegally from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and return anything irrelevant to their investigation at their own cost.
Even clones of hard-drives, already sent to the US for analysis, must be returned if they contain personal information, while any further copies must be destroyed.
Dotcom and those who are accused with him, will then receive clones of the devices deemed to be relevant to the case. High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann stated the seizures of devices without sorting them first was unlawful and law enforcement have no right to keep irrelevant material.
The raid requested by the FBI and carried out by the New Zealand Police Special Tactics Group was previously deemed illegal by Justice Winkelmann. Winkelmann ruled the warrants authorizing the it were too general.
“The warrants could not authorise 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. 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 offences.”
Winkelmann asked the police to inform the FBI of her decision and police are expected to complete the request at their own cost.