Data wiped from 630 Megaupload servers

Megaupload did not ask for the data, hosting provider LeaseWeb said

LeaseWeb, one of Europe's biggest hosting providers, has wiped 630 servers that contained Megaupload data and countered claims from the company that the file-sharing site wasn't warned.

"This is the largest data massacre in the history of the Internet," Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom said Wednesday on Twitter, where he criticized LeaseWeb for deleting the data.

LeaseWeb did not warn Megaupload that it was about to delete the servers, Dotcom claimed, adding that they were informed Wednesday that the servers were deleted on Feb. 1. He maintained that Megaupload's lawyers repeatedly asked LeaseWeb not to delete Megaupload servers while court proceedings are pending in the U.S, Dotcom said.

LeaseWeb disputes Dotcom's claims.

After Megaupload was shut down in 2012 because of allegations that it facilitated copyright infringement, 60 servers owned by the company that were stationed at LeaseWeb were seized by the police and sent to the U.S. in June, said Alex de Joode, LeaseWeb's security officer.

Another 630 servers that Megaupload leased from LeaseWeb were kept running until Megaupload stopped paying the bills, he said. LeaseWeb proceeded to shut the servers down and stored them in the cellar, De Joode said. This January, about a year after the police raid, nobody had asked for or shown interest in the data, De Joode said.

Since there were no payments made and nobody seemed interested in the data, including the police, LeaseWeb decided to reactivate the servers, De Joode said.

"We informed Megaupload about our plans to start using the servers again," said De Joode. When LeaseWeb received no reply from Megaupload it subsequently started wiping the servers, which took the company almost the whole month of February, he said.

"And three weeks ago we received a question from Megaupload's lawyer who wanted to know what happened to the data," De Joode said. But by then, the data was already gone, and it cannot be retrieved, he said.

"Probably something went wrong on Megaupload's side. But that is their problem," De Joode said.

This means that "millions of personal Megaupload files, petabytes of pictures, backups, personal & business property" are destroyed forever, Dotcom said. Adding: "Let me be crystal clear. Leaseweb has NEVER informed our legal team or anybody at Megaupload about the deletion of servers until TODAY."

By deleting the data Leaseweb has "simply ignored the rights of millions of Megaupload users", because the data belonged to them, Dotcom said.

Aldo Verbruggen, one of Megaupload's Dutch lawyers said he started contacting LeaseWeb three weeks ago. "And today we were informed that the servers were wiped," he said.

It is too early to tell if there will be any legal procedures concerning the wiped data, he said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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