The image of Kim Dotcom that we’ve gotten accustomed to in recent months is that of a flamboyant and defiant hacker, holed up in his mansion in New Zealand, with his luxury car collection and household staff of 50-plus.
Yesterday, there was a different Kim Dotcom. He was crying.
Dotcom announced that one of his European hosting partners, LeaseWeb, had deleted petabytes of data from MegaUpload stored across 630 servers. Over the ensuing 24 hours, Dotcom, who is fighting U.S. efforts to extradite him on charges of money laundering and copyright infringement, and his lawyer Ira Rothken sent a deluge of tweets accusing LeaseWeb and the Department of Justice of destroying evidence. Dotcom said he was “in tears” when he discovered that the files had been deleted.
LeaseWeb released a blog post that said that the data — comprising only about a tenth of a percent of the Dutch company’s overall storage capacity– was held for a year without any compensation or attempts to access it. The company also said that it wrote Dotcom to inform him of the repurposing, and received no response.
“As no response was received, we commenced the re-provisioning of the servers in February 2013,” the post says. “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.”
Dotcom has called the company untruthful, saying that his law team and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sent many letters to LeaseWeb, and has urged Rothken to release letters showing that he requested that LeaseWeb keep the data as the DOJ froze the assets needed to pay for the server space.
“Let me be crystal clear. #Leaseweb has NEVER informed our legal team or anybody at #Megaupload about the deletion of servers until TODAY,” Dotcom wrote.
Rothken, on his own Twitter account, implied the destruction of files was to rig the trial, tweeting, “[I]n our view the US is responsible for destruction of Megaupload data – US trying to concoct a win rather than doing justice.”
The major pain point — and the reason why both Rothken and Dotcom are accusing LeaseWeb of having a separate agenda– is that those servers (which largely managed European users) held Dotcom’s personal MegaUpload information. Dotcom said on Twitter, “The FBI seized all my data and hasn’t given me a copy yet. And now my backups on #Megaupload are gone too. How convenient.”
“Think about it,” he continued. “The data in the world’s largest copyright case is getting deleted with DOJ blessing. How does that make sense? It’s EVIDENCE.”
Of course, the LeaseWeb shutdown didn’t eliminate all of MegaUpload’s data. The U.S. has confiscated roughly 60 servers worth of information via the infamous “MegaUpload Raid” — which Dotcom eleased video footage from on Youtube (NSFW for language). In addition, server partners Carpathia and Cogent are cooperating with Dotcom and storing the servers in a warehouse until the trial next year.