Tech Industry

Kim Dotcom sues New Zealand over electronic snooping

The Megaupload founder is suing the New Zealand government for $4.8 million, claiming it illegally spied on him in advance of a raid on his house, says Wired.

MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom.

Kim Dotcom has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a New Zealand spy agency.

Court documents discovered this week by Wired have revealed Dotcom's suit against the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) for the surveillance it conducted against him last year and a subsequent police raid that targeted his home.

In early 2012, policed raided Dotcom's New Zealand $30 million mansion and confiscated some of his possessions, including a Mercedes Benz and a pink Cadillac. But a New Zealand court later ruled that the warrants issued to carry out the search were invalid and that any possessions not considered to be relevant in the case were to be returned to Dotcom.

The surveillance conducted against Dotcom was also considered unlawful since at the time the GCSB was not allowed to spy on New Zealand citizens. The agency mistakenly believed that Dotcom was not a citizen.

As a result, Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann found last year that DotCom had the right to sue the GCSB and the police. That ruling was challenged by New Zealand's attorney general. But this past March, the Court of Appeal denied the attorney's general's request to exclude the GCSB from DotCom's lawsuit, opening the door for this week's legal salvo.

Dotcom has been in trouble with the US over charges that he and his associates encouraged users of his former Megaupload site to upload pirated songs, videos, and other content and share them with other people. The US government has been fighting to extradite him.

The Megaupload founder is suing the GCSB for 6 million New Zealand dollars ($4.8 million).