It’s a major win for Kim Dotcom today as the New Zealand High Court ruled that items obtained during last year’s raid must be returned to him. The High Court deemed that the search warrants were illegal due to their generic nature and did not adequately describe the charges being brought against Dotcom.
“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,” Judge Helen Winkelmann stated. New Zealand police must now go through all evidence to determine what is relevant to the ongoing case while the rest must be returned.
Here’s another twist: the police did not get permission to clone the hard drives and send them to the FBI. “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,” added Judge Winkelmann. The FBI has also been ordered to return all drives and destroy any copies of data they made.