Enlarge / Kim Dotcom speaks to the media following a bail hearing at Auckland District Court on December 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (credit: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
The High Court of New Zealand, the country’s intermediate appellate court, has ruled that the entire government spying operation conducted against two of Kim Dotcom’s closest colleagues was not authorized under local law in 2011.
According to a court filing newly released on Friday afternoon, Auckland time (late Thursday evening, Eastern Time), the Government Communications Security Bureau conducted an “unlawful” and “unreasonable search” of Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, two Megaupload executives.

The GCSB is the New Zealand equivalent of the National Security Agency in the United States.
At the time, van der Kolk (like Dotcom himself) was a permanent resident of New Zealand, which meant that he should have been exempted from being spied upon by the GCSB, which apparently failed to adequately verify their immigration status.
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