A High Court judge has barred a hacker from releasing further hacked emails and Facebook communications of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.
Justice Fogarty gave his interim decision today ahead of further legal arguments, expected to take place next week. The ruling does not relate to information already leaked to the media or included in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics.
Cameron Slater launched court injunction proceedings at the High Court in Auckland this afternoon in an attempt to prevent media companies APN New Zealand, Fairfax Media and MediaWorks from publishing more of his hacked emails and Facebook conversations.
A fourth defendant listed as an ''unknown person'' is thought to be the individual behind the Whaledump Twitter account through which much of the hacked material was released.
Mr Slater's lawyer John Billington, QC, said if the court allowed more emails to be published, then it was encouraging criminals to steal emails and pass them on to the media.
Mr Billington said the hacking was similar to a burglar breaking into someone's bedroom, finding personal items and putting them on the front page of the newspaper.
He told the court it was "blindingly obvious" that his client's emails were stolen and a gross breach of privacy has occurred. The court was told that Mr Slater had concerns about his private details stored on his computer.
Mr Billington said Cameron Slater did not want to suppress information in Dirty Politics or information already in the public domain, and the injunction would only cover information held by media outlets not yet in the public domain. He had asked Justice Fogarty to take until next week to decide if Mr Slater's emails should be banned from being made public.
But the lawyer for the media, Julian Miles, QC, told the court that the information is in the public interest with the general election looming on 20 September, and granting an injunction would essentially amount to a cover-up.
Mr Mills said there had already been the resignation of a minister (Judith Collins) and two Government inquiries launched as a direct result, and voters had a right to know.
He said his clients in the media were surprised to hear Cameron Slater raising privacy concerns, given his involvement in breaking the story of Auckland mayor Len Brown's affair which saw highly personal information released on the internet. He said the media had no interest in printing personal information about Mr Slater.
Mr Mills told the judge an injunction barring the media from running the material would make their job impossible and would not prevent bloggers from running the material.
But Justice Fogarty said he did not want any signal from the High Court that tolerated a breach of the law.
Hacker calls it quits
Earlier today, the hacker who gave Cameron Slater's emails to Nicky Hager, said he was quitting.
Rawshark tweeted on his whaledump2 account that he is destroying and disposing of "every device used in this operation", including all the decryption keys.
The hacker said his remaining dumps are with journalists and it is time to go, saying vigilantism is a dangerous final resort and not to try it unless it's "important enough to risk 7 years in jail".