Kim Dotcom Furious After LeaseWeb Deletes Megaupload Servers

Dutch firm deletes a whole load of Megaupload data, which could have been valuable evidence for Dotcom

Kim Dotcom is apoplectic after hosting company LeaseWeb wiped thousands of servers holding Megaupload data, which could have provided valuable evidence in his extradition case, according to the larger-than-life storage mogul.

Dotcom, in a prolonged rant on Twitter, said the US Department of Justice gave its “blessing” to have the servers deleted. He is wanted in the US, where he is accused of copyright infringement, fraud and money laundering because of his Megaupload operations, but is waiting to have an extradition case heard in August.

He claimed LeaseWeb deleted the information without warning, in what he called the “largest data massacre in the history of the Internet”.

Kim Dotcom“The FBI seized all my data and hasn’t given me a copy yet. And now my backups on #Megaupload are gone too. How convenient,” he tweeted.

“The #Leaseweb servers contained my personal files on #Megaupload. Important evidence destroyed. How is this justice?”

LeaseWeb: It was a business decision

But LeaseWeb, a Dutch hosting company, claimed it repeatedly asked the Megaupload team if they wanted to keep the servers running. When it received no reply, it decided to wipe thousands of servers so it could get other customers on them, said Alex de Joode, senior regulatory counsel at LeaseWeb.

It said 60 servers were confiscated by US authorities when Megaupload was taken offline, whilst another 630 remained with LeaseWeb. The decision to delete Megaupload information was made for business reasons, not at the behest of law enforcement, according to de Joode.

“For over a year these servers were being stored and preserved by LeaseWeb, at its own costs. So for over one whole year LeaseWeb kept 630 servers available, without any request to do so and without any compensation,” de Joode said.

“We did inform Megaupload about our decision to re-provision the servers. As no response was received, we commenced the re-provisioning of the servers in February.

“To minimise security risks and maximize the privacy of our clients, it is a standard procedure at LeaseWeb to completely clean servers before they are offered to any new customer.

“We absolutely regret the setbacks Kim Dotcom has had since Megaupload was taken offline, but we hope he as an entrepreneur will understand our side of the story and the decisions deliberately taken.”

Dotcom disagreed, claiming his lawyers confirmed they wanted the Megaupload data to be preserved. He has now demanded LeaseWeb release the emails that show his team did not respond to inquiries about preserving information.

Dotcom remains in New Zealand, having recently won the right to access all evidence taken by police in a 2012 raid on his mansion. That should aid his defence, but the LeaseWeb losses could be a blow.

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