FBI accused of illegally exporting Megaupload data

Information not covered by legislation because 'non-physical' says agency

The FBI has defended itself from accusations of illegally exporting data involved in the Megaupload case by claiming that the information isn't covered by mutually agreed legislation as it is deemed 'non-physical'.

The accusations stem from Kim Dotcom's defence team, which claims that information from hard drives belonging to Dotcom and the Megaupload business should have remained in New Zealand unless express permission was granted by local police.

Instead, claims lawyer Willie Akel, FBI Agents copied data from seven hard drives and sent it to the US, where it now lies in the hands of intelligence and justice agencies.

"If [they] went offshore without the consent of the attorney-general, it was an illegal act," Akel told the court, as reported by New Zealand tech site Stuff.

In defence, prosecution lawyer John Pike, who is fighting the case for Dotcom to be extradited to the US for trial, argued that the agreement reached by US and New Zealand forces applied only to physical goods, not data.

Justice Winkelmann, presiding, has said that any information not deemed relevant to the case be returned, but Pike has argued that it is unclear what data will apply to the case.

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Latest comments (2)

gi biz ;, 5 years ago
This story stinks from 10 km away. I hope they'll all go to jail: the agents involved in this ridiculous story, their commanders, the lawyers supporting the accuse and whoever might think this served any useful purpose. Piracy didn't diminish by a single byte. In return they caused an uproar in New Zealand, they lost the little credibility they still had and they damaged the customers using MegaServices for private purposes. Now I know that even my backups online aren't safe.
I bet the next step is to sue the land mail services owners because I send CDs and flash memories around.
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Adam Parker Academic Coordinator, Qantm College5 years ago
Interesting - for the purposes of IP enforcement, data on servers is as thievable as the car you wouldn't steal and the handbag you wouldn't steal ;) , but for the purposes of sustaining an extradition proceedings that may have made procedural errors, data is suddenly quite different to a physical object and not covered at all.

I wonder what Justice Winkelmann will make of this kind of reasoning...
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