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Canadian judge refuses US DOJ Megaupload server access

updated 10:19 pm EST, Wed January 16, 2013

DOJ and Megaupload attorneys must decide what info to release

Justice Gladys Pardu has refused a US demand for complete and unrestricted access to the Megaupload servers that reside in Canada. Instead, the Ontario judge ordered the US Department of Justice and Megaupload attorneys to negotiate which information should be released under court supervision -- if no joint decision is made, then Justice Pardu will decide what the Department of Justice will be allowed to see, and may not allow anything.

Justice Pardu wrote in her decision that "there is an enormous volume of information on the servers... sending mirror image copies of all of this data would be overly broad, particularly in light of the scantiness of the evidence connecting these servers to the crimes alleged by the American prosecutors." She described the information volume as "equivalent of that contained on 100 laptop computers."

The US based Megaupload servers were briefly seized from Carpathia hosting, located in Northern Virginia. Federal officials copied the data they wanted from the servers, and returned them to the hosting companies, with restrictions on repurposing the servers for other clients. The hosting company claims to be losing thousands of dollars per day to retain the 25 petabytes of Megaupload data while waiting for the case to come to a conclusion.

The raid and evidence search that started the shutdown of Megaupload took place on January 19, effectively closing Megaupload permanently. Founder Kim Dotcom and company employees were arrested on January 20, after the raid at the Carpathia server farm in Dulles, VA.

Megaupload lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss all US government charges for violating due process rights in not properly serving the international company outside of US jurisdiction. The FBI and Department of Justice are seeking Dotcom's extradition to face criminal conspiracy and copyright violation charges in the United States, but the federal judge assigned to the case suspects that the trial in the US may not happen for a variety of procedural reasons.

Dotcom's replacement service Mega is scheduled to commence operations next week. The new service, first announced in October of 2012, will utilize public and private servers around the world with unique user encryption keys to ensure that no Megaupload-style FBI takedowns can be conducted against the new site.

by MacNN Staff



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