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PM orders inquiry into 'unlawful' snooping by govt spooks into Dotcom

Monday 24th September 2012

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Prime Minister John Key has ordered an inquiry into the nation's secretive intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, amid allegations unit's staff unlawfully acquired communications relating to the Megaupload case.

The Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the judiciary the GCSB "acted unlawfully while assisting the police to local certain individuals subject to arrest warrants," by acquiring some communications without statutory authority, Key said in a statement. Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor will investigate the matter and has been asked to recommend measures to prevent a repeat occurrence.

"I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law," Key said. "Their operations depend on public trust."

The memorandum comes just days after a Court of Appeal hearing in the Megaupload case where the US Federal government sought to quash a court order for it to provide evidence in support of its claim to extradite the file-sharing website's founder Kim Dotcom, and three of his lieutenants.

The US authorities allege Dotcom and his co-accused engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering of some US$500 million.

Last week, Dotcom vented his frustration at the US government's stalling tactics, telling reporters his accusers were "just dragging things out."

"If it was up to them, we would have no money for our legal defence, no evidence to defend ourselves, we would not even have our own computers back to show our own evidence," he said.

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