After a series of disputes and delays, U.S. investigators will have no choice but to turn over evidence against Kim Dotcom, founder of the shuttered cloud storage website MegaUpload, and his co-defendants, New Zealand’s highest court has ruled.
The order by New Zealand chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann will require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to begin copying more than 150 terabytes of data, including more than 10 million emails, that were seized from MegaUpload.
“[T]he expense involved in copying must be dwarfed by the other costs of an investigative and prosecutorial operation of this size,” she said, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Before it was shuttered, the site let its users upload anything they wanted to and acted as a “cyber-locker” with more than 50 million individual accounts. U.S. authorities accused MegaUpload of facilitating the largest criminal copyright infringement conspiracy in history after officials raided the company’s offices in January, seizing their property and taking the site offline.
In a ruling issued last month, Judge David Harvey ordered the FBI and New Zealand Crown law enforcement officials to turn over evidence against MegaUpload so there could be a full accounting of the case before any decision is made on the U.S. extradition request. He gave them 21 days to comply.
Prosecutors responded earlier this week by claiming that they could not meet that deadline because it simply takes too long to copy that much data. Attorneys for the New Zealand Crown said it would take at least two and a half months to comb through the data for evidence.
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