Ever since the raids in January last year, the fate of Megaupload users’ personal files has remained uncertain.
It’s been a frustrating situation for the millions of affected users and one that has taken a turn for the worse today, with the news that one of Megaupload’s main hosting companies has decided to delete all the data they had stored.
Dutch hosting company Leaseweb has informed Kim Dotcom that all 630 servers they rented have been wiped clean. This means that petabytes of data belonging to Megaupload users is now gone for good.
“This is a huge disaster,” Dotcom tells TorrentFreak, explaining that the servers mainly contained files from European users as well as the associated backups.
Leaseweb’s decision has come as a shock to the New Zealand-based entrepreneur, not least because Megaupload has been trying hard to reconnect users with their data. In fact, Dotcom’s lawyers specifically asked the hosting provider not to delete anything until the U.S. court comes to a decision.
“They deleted petabytes of data and did not warn us at all. Our legal team asked them multiple times not to delete the data while the U.S. court is deciding about the rights of our users,” Dotcom says.
“It’s such a betrayal. They could have given us some warning. We could have informed the court that a deletion is imminent. But Leaseweb did not even give us or our users a fair chance.”
Soon after the raid Megaupload’s legal team started to discuss the option of giving back users their uploaded data, but the U.S. refused all suggestions. Megaupload and the U.S. hosting company Carpathia did come to an agreement to hand over the servers, but the Government blocked this plan in court.
“This is what the U.S. government wanted all along. That’s why they seized all of our assets and would not even release funds to pay our hosting partners,” Dotcom now says.
The fate of the data stored at Carpathia is now in the hand of a U.S. judge, who still has to come to a decision. The hosting provider, meanwhile, is paying $9,000 per day out of its own pocket to store them.
“Carpathia has done the right thing and stored Megaupload servers at their own expense. That’s what Leaseweb should have done after making millions of profits from Megaupload,” Dotcom says.
“This was totally unnecessary and evil.”
Dotcom doesn’t know whether Megaupload can or will take steps against Leaseweb. The lawyers are looking into the matter, but Megaupload’s founder is most of all very sad and disappointed.
“All I can say right now is that everyone is very upset. This is the worst day since the raid for me because I was fighting every day to get users their data back. EVERY DAY!” Dotcom concludes.
Update: Leaseweb’s Alex de Joode confirmed that they deleted all Megaupload data stored on their servers. The company says it reached out to Megaupload but received no response. The company then decided to re-provision the servers.
“The storage of the 630 servers – while a relatively small burden – must serve a purpose. During the year we stored the servers and the data, we received no request for access nor any request to retain the data. After a year of nobody showing any interest in the servers and data we considered our options. 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 2013. To minimize 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.”