Kim Dotcom won't give up passwords

DOTCOM HQ: Kim Dotcom's leased  $30 million Coatesville mansion.
DOTCOM HQ: Kim Dotcom's leased $30 million Coatesville mansion.

Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is refusing to supply the passwords for computers seized from his mansion unless prosecutors strike a deal with him.

Dotcom, 38, is accused of breaching copyright laws costing owners more than US$500 million in what US authorities call the "mega conspiracy". He has three co-accused who are also on bail in New Zealand.

Lawyers for Dotcom are arguing in the High Court at Auckland today that the Megaupload millionaire deserves access to his data so he can fight the US Government's copyright case against him.

MEGAUPLOADER: Kim Dotcom has been portrayed as hacking's answer to Donald Trump.
MEGAUPLOADER: Kim Dotcom has been portrayed as hacking's answer to Donald Trump.

Dotcom was arrested during a police raid on his Coatesville property in January and is now on bail awaiting an extradition hearing.

His lawyer Paul Davison QC said that during the raid, 135 technological devices were seized, many irrelevant to the case.

Some of the devices held private and legally privileged information, as well as personal data such as family videos, he said.

Others, such as Dotcom's personal computer, held information relevant to the case, but were encrypted.

The Crown, acting for the US Government, wants access to that information but Dotcom would not give it unless certain terms were met, Davison said.

"Given the frustration of not being able to have access to his property for in excess of three months, he is not going to give passwords or codes leaving him without access."

Dotcom would provide access to the data if it was a court-managed process and he was allowed copies of the information. He also wanted his privacy and legally privileged information protected.

"It's not a matter of saying no, it's a matter of saying yes, on terms."

To achieve that, Dotcom wanted a change to the terms of the search warrant, making it more specific and detailed.

Davison said the Crown was trying to say the request was simply disclosure.

Disclosure - where the prosecution are required to provide certain parts of their case to the defence - had been resisted by the US Government, he said.

Dotcom was taking a separate case through the district court to argue that point, Davison said. The High Court case was about the search warrant, which he's arguing was unlawful.

He was recently at the centre of a controversy surrounding Act leader John Banks, after claiming he gave Banks $50,000 in donations for his 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign. Banks denied knowing Dotcom made the contributions.

Auckland Now