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back to article Kim Dotcom victim of 'largest data MASSACRE in history'

Mega mogul Kim Dotcom says he's "in tears" after a Dutch hosting company wiped data from servers formerly used by his now-defunct Megaupload business, an act that he claims destroyed "critical evidence" in his long-running legal battle with the US government. On Wednesday, Dotcom took to his Twitter feed – his favorite …

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Anonymous Coward

If you think data on a server you don't own is safe....

If you think data on a server you don't own is safe, you are going to have a bad time.

I'm not saying "Don't store data in the cloud", but don't think that cloud is anything other than a convenient way to make that data available to the world (and NSA) - it isn't a backup.

If you don't have that data in multiple places that you control, then you are saying you don't value that data and don't care if it is deleted.

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Re: If you think data on a server you don't own is safe....

Leaving aside the case of the (alleged) millionaire copyright thief This should be a wake up for a lot of organisations.

If you are the sort of domestic terrorist that might mean the DoJ has a quiet word with Visa and your account gets dropped, then any hosted email list, website, any evidence etc is destroyed, no warrant, no crime, no charges, probably not even an apology from visa - it's just the T&C

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If you think data in a server you **do** own is safe...

then you are equally deluded.

Most companies (small/medium) do not have the skills to run a server properly and would do far better to farm the job out to a cloud provider. Even those small companies that do have the skills, don't want to tie up personnel with the job of running the servers/doing backups etc and instead farm out the job to the cloud.

Oh, MU was never really supposed to be a reliable cloud data storage. If your stuff was downloaded often, it stayed. If not, it was auto deleted. That isn't exactly a place to store business data or your lifetime of memorable snaps. It sounds remarkably like the storage model you would use to facilitate piracy.

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Re: If you think data on a server you don't own is safe....

You'd have thought that the Dutch company would have got in contact with Dotcom and asked if he wanted his data or not. It is not as if they could not find him to contact him.

I doubt it was US preseure but I find it most odd, unless they are trying to cover up something they have been party to.

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Anonymous Coward

"Reliable hosting"

LeaseWeb's tag is "Reliable hosting". Seems disingenuous to me, maybe the Dutch version of the advertising standards agency needs a few hundred complaints... ( http://www.easa-alliance.org/the-Netherlands/page.aspx/136 )

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Reliable hosting"

Your argument is nonsensical. They kept the data for a year, without being paid, and without being asked to. Once you stop paying for a service, then you stop receiving that service. Leaseweb even contacted him before deleting it. I don't understand why you think they should have kept it any longer?

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Re: "Reliable hosting"

According to other stories they deleted it in February, 2weeks after his account lapsed.

It's just hitting the publicity fan now

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Re: "Reliable hosting"

The words "Reliable hosting" say it all - you don't need to backup/archive servers/data to tape etc. to have reliable hosting. Also "reliable hosting" is probably the hosting version of "unlimited broadband"...

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Gav
Facepalm

Re: "Reliable hosting"

2 weeks after his account lapsed is 2 weeks in which he was not paying his bills. Why should they spend their money on keeping his data? Particularly when there was little sign of them ever being paid? Why should they shoulder responsibility for keeping the data, along with any unwelcome heat that may go with it? Why shouldn't they reuse the resources it's tying up on a paying customer?

It may have been harsh for them to act quite so promptly, if that's what they did, but their actions are 100% justifiable.

Deleting data that Megaupload's own T&Cs stated was not guaranteed to be kept is also not a "massacre". The company, and its users, worked on the basis that the data could be deleted at any time, for any reason. And lo; it was so.

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Holmes

"""

allegations of mass copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering

"""

So that's:

1 Copyright infringement in bulk

2 Crimes committed in bulk, and in conjunction with others (i.e. a repeat of 1)

3 Attempting to evade surveillance when moving money (presumably derived from copyright infringement). I.e. a repeat of count 1.

I.e., he is accused of making money copyright infringement, in conjunction with others, and attempting to hide the fact.

That's really only one count.

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Accusation should not equal guilt

Re: "That's really only one count"

And at that it is only an accusation. Sure, in the United States, accusation is operationally equivalent to guilt. However, it should not be. We have both a right and a duty to demand better.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

>Sure, in the United States, accusation is operationally equivalent to guilt

WRONG! Everyone knows in the United States you are innocent until proven broke. Its only automatically equivalent to guilt if you are poor.

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Anonymous Coward

Everyone knows in the United States you are innocent until proven broke

Brilliant point. Case in point today from Charlie Rose :-

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/we-ve-developed-a-greedy-capital-culture-ferguson-O0fvQOrgSgOTLFfYK4UnNQ.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

> Sure, in the United States, accusation is operationally equivalent to guilt.

Purely as a matter of interest, if you were to be accused of a crime, which country would you prefer to be in?

The UK and Sweden are out since so many cretins believe that they are both subservient to US law (Assange). Perhaps you would prefer France where you only get a jury trial if the offence carries a sentence of 15 years or more.

Maybe you would like an Eastern bloc country or one of the many European countries where trial by jury is the exception and even then the jury usually has several judges on it as well as members of the public. Perhaps India where jury trials have been abolished or any of the many Muslim countries where Sharia dominates.

I know what my preference would be, even if I could only afford a public defender.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

1. The Feds are mysterious, all powerful, and apparently not accountable.

2. The Feds faceless and lack transparency.

3. I will not lose sleep if a presumption of guilt, on the part of the Feds, goes with 1 and 2.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"And at that it is only an accusation. Sure, in the United States, accusation is operationally equivalent to guilt. However, it should not be. We have both a right and a duty to demand better."

I see. So if I hold up grocery stores, the cops can't take away my guns or restrain me or keep me from fleeing or take the stolen cash off me until a jury says so?

My point is this is a case about massive harm to copyright holders which is ongoing. Then there is the matter of the criminal charges against an individual. They're linked issues but require different handling.

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WTF?

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Purely as a matter of interest, if you were to be accused of a crime, which country would you prefer to be in?

The UK and Sweden are out since so many cretins believe that they are both subservient to US law (Assange). Perhaps you would prefer France where you only get a jury trial if the offence carries a sentence of 15 years or more."

The UK has a European arrest warrant for Assange issued by Sweden. Not by the USA. The UK is a sovereign state in which the rule of law including the right to a fair trial is absolutely sacrosanct - much more so than the USA. That's why - unlike the American public defender system - we spend a fortune on the very best lawyers to defend the worst criminals; that's why it has taken us 10 years and running to deport Abu Qatada.

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Pint

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Purely as a matter of interest, if you were to be accused of a crime, which country would you prefer to be in?"

How about: The country where the supreme court has repeatedly ruled against the government over various details of Dotcom's prosecution, and its rulings have been promptly enforced, much to the general embarrassment of the government.

I'll pick New Zealand, thanks very much.

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Pint

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

Have you ever met members of the public? The same ones that would serve in your jury...

A learned judge alone might be preferable to the unwashed masses.

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Happy

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Have you ever met members of the public? The same ones that would serve in your jury...

A learned judge alone might be preferable to the unwashed masses."

As the old saying goes: "The only people who do jury duty are those too stupid to get out of doing jury duty"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

> A learned judge alone might be preferable to the unwashed masses.

So that would be somewhere like India then.

> As the old saying goes: "The only people who do jury duty are those too stupid to get out of doing jury duty"

I served on a Jury, not because I was to stupid to get out of it, but because I have a sense of civic responsibility (perhaps believing that you owe society something rather than society owes you is stupidity). You are correct in thinking that some of them are stupid, but then so are some of the general public. In the trials I participated in (3 of them) the jury never found anybody guilty even though, in at least one of the trials, the defendants probably were but there was enough reasonable doubt. Now you might argue that sometimes the innocent are found guilty and you are correct, but it is by far more likely that a jury trial will find the guilty not guilty. Of all the people I know, many of them have committed crimes, been caught, prosecuted and then found not guilty (I was born and raised in a shithole of a council estate and most of my school friends ended up in jail). I do not personally know a single person who was innocent and then found guilty. I do not personally know a single person who personally knows somebody who was innocent and then found guilty.

I would opt for a jury trial every single time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

> I'll pick New Zealand, thanks very much.

You might want to ask Arthur Allan Thomas, David Doherty, David Bain, Rex Haig, Aaron Farmer, Tania Vini, Macushla Fuataha, Lucy Akatere and others about that,

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Perhaps you would prefer France where you only get a jury trial if the offence carries a sentence of 15 years or more."

If you've ever seen the average person on a jury, I'd probably prefer a judge to make the decision. Of course, it depends to an extent on how much you think the stupidity of the jury will help your case, or how much their prejudice will. But, unless you've served on a jury and witnessed what goes on, don't assume jury is better.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"My point is this is a case about massive harm to copyright holders which is ongoing"

Massive harm that the vested interests have been totally unable to prove by any reasonable method. Yes, they bluster about a lot and quote stupid figures created by even more stupid methods, but they've not ever come up with any real and sensible proof that they've suffering 'massive harm' from this. Some, yes, no doubt. But massive, absolute rubbish.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"The UK is a sovereign state in which the rule of law including the right to a fair trial is absolutely sacrosanct - much more so than the USA. That's why - unlike the American public defender system - we spend a fortune on the very best lawyers to defend the worst criminals; that's why it has taken us 10 years and running to deport Abu Qatada."

Absolutely wrong. I assume the increase in fixed penalty notices which incur an effective charge (fine goes up) if you dare question them. I assume you've missed all the strict liability laws that have been implemented recently. I assume you've missed all the secret trials that have been going on for years and the recent attempts to expand them. As to Abu Qatada, that has nothing to do with employing the best lawyers to defend the worst criminals. With the evidence available, even a certified cretin could have hung that one out for 10 years.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

@AC

"I would opt for a jury trial every single time."

So, you're basing your decision on the best system on the basis of the one most likely to let the criminal off? So, you're not actually worried about the guilty being found guilty and innocent being found innocent? Interesting. Very civic minded of you.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt@ Tapeador

"unlike the American public defender system - we spend a fortune on the very best lawyers to defend the worst criminals"

You'll soon need to put that in the past tense, as the legal aid reforms mean that legal aid lawyers will be composed of large firms bidding to get contracts for the lowest possible cost, and often getting fixed fees that encourage them to bid on the basis of thinly spread and poorly paid lawyers, but then to only assign a legal clerk. As a result you can expect that the standard of justice in magistrates & crown courts to worsen, and conviction rates to rise (although they are already around 83%).

Some might view spending money on legal aid to defend the 83% was a waste of time, and the majority of the rest probably got off purely on a technicality, but what price the number who are wrongly accused, and will no longer have adequate representation?

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Big Brother

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"That's why - unlike the American public defender system - we spend a fortune on the very best lawyers to defend the worst criminals"

It's worth keeping an eye on this, as the government are proposing to privatise (and de-regulate) the process, meaning that the companies making the most profit (i.e., with the least costs) will end up supplying such defense, and you don't get the option of who defends you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

> So, you're basing your decision on the best system on the basis of the one most likely to let the criminal off?

No. I am opting for the system I believe is weighted in favour of the individual rather than the state (or church).

"All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously; for the law holds it better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent party suffer." - Sir William Blackstone - Commentaries on the Laws of England 1765-1769

This is one of the principles of the British and US legal systems.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"No. I am opting for the system I believe is weighted in favour of the individual rather than the state (or church)."

I believe that is just what I said. You like the system most likely to let the individual off rather than allow the state to correctly apply penalties to those who transgress the law. You're also suggesting here that the judiciary are not independent of the state, or else, the judge would be equally likely to be in favour of the individual. So, you don't really believe in the British and US legal systems at all, as they both claim (please note 'claim') to have independent judiciaries.

I suspect you will also find that a jury will tend to act according to the newspaper they've read rather than being weighted in favour of the individual. If there's been a lot of kiddy fiddling cases recently in the press, anyone up on that sort of charge is far more likely to be found guilty by a jury.....

You're effectively suggesting justice by Ruper Murdoch, administered through his minions, the public!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

> You're also suggesting here that the judiciary are not independent of the state

The state is comprised of three branches: legislature (parliament), executive (Cabinet and Government Departments) and the Judiciary.

The Judiciary is not independent of the state since they are a branch of the state.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt @ Ian Yates

Certainly will be cost led, but the government isn't privatising anything - all legal aid was private sector provision, and in terms of choice that still exists - both before and after the changes you get the choice of who (on the legal aid roster) you want, although the number of firms offering legal aid will intentionally be a smaller number.

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Vic
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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt @ Ian Yates

> both before and after the changes you get the choice of who (on the legal aid roster) you want

There was a trailer on R4 the other day that said differently.

I didn't catch the prgogramme itself, so I don't know whether that as fact or opinion...

Vic.

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Thumb Up

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

WRONG! Everyone knows in the United States you are innocent until proven broke. Its only automatically equivalent to guilt if you are poor.

Got that right.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"I know what my preference would be, even if I could only afford a public defender"

Yeah, I know what mine would be too - Aussie, Canada and New Zealand all have better legal aid systems than the US. The NZ judges seem to be doing a pretty good job in keeping the prosecution honest in the Dotcom case too.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt - except for copyright infraction

It is also worth noting that, as far as I know, the only people in this ludicrous and disgraceful debacle who have been found guilty of any illegal behaviour are those who attacked Dotcom. The NZ authorities were clearly fed a farrago of lies by the US government and instructed to 'put the frighteners on him' by staging a farcical Hollywoood show when apparently all they had to do was phone the Diplomatic cop in the mansion and he would have opened the door for them; but since then the country has redeemed itself noticeably by its fair and just treatment of the man. And however shady his past, or fat his stomach, he deserves the same justice as anyone else; or the country concerned is not fit to lick even his boots.

But then the NZ government is presumably not being paid by those whose corrupt and lucrative business model is seriously threatened by his entrepreneurialism.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: And I'll strip their wallets like a heartless whore”

What a horrible country. I wouldn't hand over my worst enemy to them.

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Nonsense charges!

As far as I know MU did not commit any copyright infringement themselves.

It may be that others used the MU service for such things (we know some did) but MU is of course not responsible for what people use their storage for, just like the countless self-storage providers all over the world isn't responsible for what people put in their storage lockers - despite stolen goods being common, and even drug labs have been seen.

Dunno why they want to pin everything on Kim Dotcom and MU... Maybe it's just easy and convenient targets?

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The feds are not going to stop themselves

Personally, I suspect that DotCom is guilty of something. However, that has yet to be proven in anything approaching a fair hearing. Even if it were, proving someone at my data center has done something wrong does not give you license to destroy my data.

I would like to see a gruesomely draconian judgment against the people responsible that makes them pay what it would cost to restore that data, by typing it in by hand if it comes to it. If they can't afford the money, sit the bastards down at a keyboard and tell them to get to work.

Depending upon what content is there, a gigabyte of data could take a lifetime to assemble. If that was typewritten ASCII text it would be more than 120 million words. A programmer would not produce that volume of source code in a working lifetime.

Cretins unable to appreciate what is stored on hard disks should have absolutely no say at all what happens to it.

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

>Cretins unable to appreciate what is stored on hard disks

Again its all in how the contract was written. Things get dicey when you are leasing somebody else's computer for a set time period. The real world equivalent is that show storage wars where after a set amount of time they sell your shit if quit paying for your storage unit.

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Stop

let me paraphrase that for you ..

Cretins unable to appreciate how valuable their data is and leave it in the hands of third parties have absolutely no say at all what happens to it.

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

Plus my guess is a majority of that data wasn't authorized by the copyright holder so its hardly Dotcom or his user's data. Not to defend the corrupt evil practices of the Sony's of the world but as in anything its best to pick your battles wisely and there isn't much about Dotcom that is wise.

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Stop

Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

"Not to defend the corrupt evil practices of the Sony's of the world"

What are those evil practices? Paying for artists to work to create joy for you? Oh yeah, really evil.

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Childcatcher

Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

Again its all in how the contract was written.

No, it is not all about the contract. In this particular case, it is also about evidentiary law. The servers in the Netherlands fall under a different jurisdiction that those in the US. It should not be surprising that the two are treated differently. Also, there is no mention of backup media for the data. If the data itself is important and it is no longer on the servers, could it be restored elsewhere if needed?

One point of US law that does rankle: if there is the presumption of innocence on the part of the accused, how can the accused afford a realistically reasonable defense team if their assets are frozen? I don't think most public defenders would be up for this case.

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

>>"I would like to see a gruesomely draconian judgment against the people responsible that makes them pay what it would cost to restore that data, by typing it in by hand if it comes to it. If they can't afford the money, sit the bastards down at a keyboard and tell them to get to work."

If data exists elsewhere, it doesn't need to be restored to a 'poor-man's backup' location.

If it doesn't exist elsewhere, then it's gone.

>>"Cretins unable to appreciate what is stored on hard disks should have absolutely no say at all what happens to it."

What would you call someone who uses a free service as their sole backup location, let alone their sole storage location?

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Flame

Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

"What are those evil practices? Paying for artists to work to create joy for you? Oh yeah, really evil."

Since you ask, Sony's "evil" practices include, but are not limited to:

- Being one of the creators and prime movers of the scheme that limits DVD playback according to where in the world you bought your DVD player (even though copyright law gives no right to 'restrict the equipment on which a legally owned copy of a work can be accessed')

- Being one of the prime movers behind the 'anti-circumvention' laws that, globally, convert the abovementioned (stolen) right into a pillar of copyright law

- Developing and enforcing the same system on Blu-Ray

- Putting rootkits on its CDs

- When called on rootkits, defending their actions with the argument that "users shouldn't mind"

- Building DVD players that prevent you from fast-forwarding (or pausing, for that matter) through copyright notices.

All of these are things Sony did entirely voluntarily, wilfully putting itself right in the forefront of efforts to screw the law-abiding consumer at every turn.

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

And you would prove this how? By examining the data of course...umm, what data? Your guess, since there is no evidence to present that can ever prove it to be correct, is very likely libelous. Want to defend yourself, just present the "evidence" in court, what? Can't? The problem with these fat sleazeballs is that they have very much the same rights under law that you and I do, including bringing court cases against people who accuse them of crimes without evidence, the data should have been preserved, if only so that you could defend yourself!

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Anonymous Coward

Rootkit was itself a mass copyright violation

You missed the part about the rootkit containing GPL code without following the terms of the license, so Sony were engaged in mass copyriht violation for commercial purposes.

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Re: Rootkit was itself a mass copyright violation

There are several points here that people to have missed.

Firstly, Dotcom did not willingly stop paying the bill. It was not his fault the company stopped being paid and therefore was storing data for nothing. That was the fault of the NZ police, FBI etc. who raided him. I always find it amazing that in a reasonably moral world, someone who has had nothing proved against him and is as yet not guilty of any crime can have everything taken from him and then destroyed. If the relevant authorities fail to get a guilty verdict, he should really be returned to the same condition after the trial etc. as before. Therefore, the authorities should pay this company to keep the data or arrange suitable backups and storage etc. so that in the event he is not found guilty, he can be returned to his prior condition.

Secondly, a very large chunk of the evidence to be used in any trial will be on those servers. After all, the trial would basically be about the content of his 'service'. Therefore, if you destroy (or allow to be destroyed) all the data, you are effectively destroying any chance of a trial. Therefore, by allowing this, one has to question how much the authorities ever really wanted a trial and whether one will actually occur.

Finally, many of the actions against Dotcom have been declared illegal or against normal process etc., including the armed assault on his rented mansion. The firearms charges have been shown to be rubbish etc.etc.

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