Police Shut Down ‘Russian Rapidshare’

Russian police have raided a datacenter hosting iFolder.ru, a huge Rapidshare-like site. Their paperwork allowed them to search and gather evidence against a user who uploaded illegal material to the site. Although staff offered 100% co-operation, the police cut the power and sealed the servers in the datacenter, putting iFolder completely out of operation.

Established in 1998, Agava is one of Russia’s top 5 web hosting companies employing around 300 people. Last night, police investigators arrived at a datacenter where Agava has some of its operations.

The investigators had a self-awarded warrant which allowed them to conduct a search in order to retrieve evidence located on servers used by Agava client iFolder.ru, a large file-hosting service and Russia’s 51st most-visited site

The police had been working on an investigation into an individual who used iFolder to upload child pornography a while ago. The person was caught by the police, but investigators wanted to search to see if he had uploaded more material.

Agava employees offered their full co-operation in assisting them to find the data in question. However, the police turned down the offer and insisted they were going to seize all of Agava’s servers, more than 100 in total, and waited for several hours for a vehicle to come and collect them.

In the end the mass seizure did not take place but police did cut the power and seal them all off. Some of those affected are Agava’s primary DNS servers, but fortunately their secondary units were unaffected.

“Agava considers this unprecedented event as putting in jeopardy and dimming the future of every business in RuNet,” said the company in an announcement. “We are determined to challenge and overcome the excessive and destructive actions we encountered, to protect our customer’s interests. We thank our clients in advance for their patience, and for media and other support they provide us with.”

Even though the police have stated they have no problem with iFolder continuing its operations, the investigation has rendered the site completely non-operational. On a normal day, 180,000 people upload or download from the service resulting in 1.5 million pageviews. Total users per month is around 4.3m.

This action against iFolder follows the unilateral decision to seize the domain name of Russia’s biggest torrent site, Torrents.ru.

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