12 May 2016

Mega told to hand over information

7:11 pm on 12 May 2016

A New Zealand court has ordered the cloud storage website Mega to hand over the IP addresses, contact details and other information of users suspected of hacking Kazakhstan's government computer system.

Kazakhstan said the hack took place in about August 2014 but was not discovered until early 2015.

Kazakstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Kazakstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev Photo: AFP

Its government said substantial numbers of sensitive government documents and emails were stolen during the hack and then uploaded to Mega - the New Zealand website founded by beleaguered internet businessman Kim Dotcom.

Mr Dotcom said last year he was no longer a director, manager or shareholder of the website.

In response to a request from Kazakhstan, the High Court in Auckland ruled today that Mega must turn over IP addresses, email addresses, contact information, account information and payment information of certain users.

A California federal court has already refused to grant a similar order against Facebook, where the Kazakh news website Respublika, a major critic of the country's government, had published articles based on the hacked documents.

Kazakhstan has already filed legal proceedings in a New York court suing 100 unnamed "John Does" that it believes carried out the hack.

Today's New Zealand court ruling accepted that the information Kazakhstan wanted from Mega was "essential to identifying at least some of the 'Does' named as defendants in the complaint".

Cloud storage website Mega.

The Mega website was launched by Kim Dotcom in 2013. Photo: MEGA.NZ

Justice Moore dismissed Mega's concerns about the privacy of its users.

"This information is neither particularly revealing nor particularly sensitive; it does not, for instance, carry the same degree of confidentiality as an individual's email or phone records. Therefore, I am satisfied that the privacy interests in this case should not carry significant weight," he wrote.

Mega's own terms of services said the website reserved the right to assist law enforcement agencies, "by way of disclosure of information to them or their agents".

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