Public broadcaster Radio New Zealand (RNZ) has been ordered by the country’s high court not to use any more information stolen in a cyber-attack on Waikato District Health Board (DHB) last May.

The court also told RNZ to permanently delete any copies of the material from its systems.

The DHB sought restraining orders to prevent RNZ and “unknown defendants” from using, accessing or publishing the documents and their contents.

The action followed the radio station’s broadcast of a story about a child who spent more than nine weeks in hospital because the government’s child protection service, Oranga Tamariki, failed to find a suitable placement. The item was based on documents published by the cyber hackers on the dark web.

In a statement, RNZ’s head of news Richard Sutherland said it had worked with the DHB to reach the agreement and was happy to consent to the restrictions laid out in the judgment.

“RNZ has previously indicated that it has no intention to make use of other documents,” he added.

“The story will remain on the RNZ website and RNZ stands by its view that the public interest was best served in bringing the case to light.”

The DHB said it brought the court action to protect the affected individuals’ right to privacy, something of particular importance when they do not have an opportunity to provide consent for their information to be viewed or shared publicly.

New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner’s Office said it supports the board’s action to protect against any further accessing or disclosure of information illegally obtained by hackers during a ransomware attack on the DHB.

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