The Mega website has been ordered to hand over information about its users to the Republic of Kazakhstan after its government computer systems were hacked and confidential documents uploaded to the site.
A High Court decision published tonight says the Republic of Kazakhstan claimed its government computer systems and the email accounts of some of its government personnel were illegally hacked by unknown individuals around August 2014.
A substantial number of the stolen documents were uploaded to Mega, a company founded by internet mogul Kim Dotcom.
The leak allegedly contained thousands of sensitive, proprietary and confidential privileged government documents. Also included were privileged communications between the Republic and its American legal advisors.
In May last year, the Republic filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ("SDNY") against the unknown individual or individuals who it is alleged undertook the hackings. It sought civil remedies including monetary damages and a permanent injunction.
The problem however, is that the Republic doesn't know the hackers' identities or how the information was obtained. The Republic claimed those details were held by Mega.
The SDNY subsequently issued a Letter of Request to the High Court at Auckland seeking its assistance in obtaining those details from Mega.
The documents they were seeking include IP addresses, email addresses, contact information and payment information that would help to identify the hackers.
Mega opposed the Republic's application on the grounds that sharing the documents would breach the privacy of its users.
But despite its arguments, the High Court at Auckland has ruled the website must hand over the information.
The date of a further hearing where a representative of the website will present the documents is yet to be decided.
A spokesman for Justice Minister Amy Adams said she had no comment to make on the case.