An inquiry has been ordered by the New Zealand Prime Minster, John Key, into whether the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) – NZ’s foreign intelligence agency – conducted unlawful spying on the Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, as part of the investigation.
According to Mr Key(via Beehive.govt), the GCSB acted unlawfully during its investigation, often acquiring communications “without statutory authority.” For now the matter is being handled by the Inspector General, Paul Neazor. He acts as an independent monitoring officer with the power to investigate the country’s intelligence agencies compliance with national law.
Commenting on the inquiry, Mr Key said: “I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust.”
“I look forward to the Inspector-General’s inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it,” he continued.
While Kim Dotcom has claimed his innocence since his arrest at the start of 2012, evidence is mounting in his favour and the courts have been siding with him too. Back in June, the NZ High Court ruled that the original search warrant used for the raid on his property was unlawful. While the US officials involved in his deportation trial had requested that his legal team not be privy to evidence against him, it was again ruled in Dotcom’s favour and he was granted access – though an ongoing appeal process could challenge that.
KitGuru Says: Considering the raid footage we’ve seen before, spying claims don’t seem particularly far fetched as it was clear from the involvement of not only heavily armed officers from NZ’s Special Tactics Group, but the FBI and a large number of police officers too that something odd was afoot. We commented at the the time that all of this was ultimately to arrest a portly nerd.