Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided and soon this data loss may be permanent.
Carpathia Hosting's new parent company has asked the court's permission to wipe the servers clean, arguing that it should not bear the high financial costs.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom disagrees and says his legal team will do its best to prevent any data from being destroyed.
When Megaupload was raided early 2012, the U.S. Government seized 1,103 servers at Carpathia’s hosting facility in the United States.
More than three-and-a-half years have since passed and it still remains uncertain if former users will ever be able to retrieve their files.
A reporter who used Megaupload to store work-related data did take legal steps to secure his files. However, despite six requests asking the court to find a solution for the return of his data, there is still no progress.
Hosting provider Carpathia previously estimated that it cost them $9,000 a day to keep the hardware in storage. Nonetheless, the court urged the company to preserve the evidence and the hardware is still gathering dust at a Virginia warehouse.
If it’s up to Carpathia’s new parent company this will soon change. The company submitted a motion at a Virginia federal court this week asking for permission to destroy all data on the servers.
Carpathia Hosting was acquired by QTS which now owns all assets of the hosting company. This includes the Megaupload servers.
According to QTS the company shouldn’t be required to preserve the servers, not least because they have not been used in the ongoing lawsuit in recent years.
“As the successor-in-interest to Carpathia, QTS now requests judicial relief from the physical and financial burden of storing and maintaining the 1,103 computer servers at issue,” QTS’ lawyers write.
“As the servers have not been used for the purposes of any litigation since the filing of Carpathia’s Motion for Protective Order on March 20, 2012, QTS seeks an Order from the Court allowing for disposition of the servers and data,” they add.
After the servers were moved to a storage facility the costs of maintaining them has been reduced to $5,760 per month, but QTS sees no reason why it should continue to pay this.
Carpathia Hosting submitted a similar request to delete Megaupload data in 2012 but this was turned down by the court.
Kim Dotcom is not happy with the renewed request. Two years ago hosting company Leaseweb wiped hundreds of Megaupload servers so he believes that the remaining ones must be preserved at all costs.
“Obviously we will try to keep the data safe. Not only because it contains important evidence but also because we want to return the digital property to millions of Megaupload users,” Dotcom tells TF
“The Department of Justice has allowed the deletion of all Megaupload servers in Europe. We will try to stop them from doing the same in the United States,” he adds.
This view is shared by Megaupload’s lead global defense counsel Ira Rothken who plans to submit an opposition brief. According to Rothken the U.S. has to preserve the Megaupload data, as evidence and to allow former users to access their files.
“The Department of Justice is supposed to protect consumers. They are the department of justice for everyone not just Hollywood,” Rothken notes.
One option could be to let one of the other parties store the data, which has been suggested before. Soon after the raid Megaupload and Carpathia even came to an agreement to hand over the servers, but the Government blocked the plan in court.
The fate of Megaupload’s data is now in the hands of District Court Judge Liam O’Grady who will rule on the motion when all parties have had a chance to have their say.