MegaUpload search warrants ruled to be illegal

In perhaps the biggest defeat yet for the US government in its case against the MegaUpload file sharing website, the New Zealand Herald reports that a judge has ruled that some of the search warrants used by the FBI  were in fact illegal. Specifically, Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that the warrants used in the raid of MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom's mansion in New Zealand in January were far too wide in terms of their scope.

In her decision, Justice Winkelmann said:

These categories of items were defined in such a way that they would inevitably capture within them both relevant and irrelevant material. The police acted on this authorization. The warrants could not authorize seizure of irrelevant material, and are therefore invalid.

The judge also ruled that the US government's move to take copies of hard drives found in the mansion out of New Zealand was also illegal, due to Dotcom not giving his permission for such a decision.

The report stated that during the hearing Dotcom cried openly as his lawyer told the judge that he was "ripped from his family" as a consequence on the raid of his New Zealand home in January.

Despite this decision, Dotcom and other members of MegaUpload face an extradition hearing in August to determine if they should be flown to the US to face online piracy charges.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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