Canada Denies MegaUpload Server Request From US Government

You have to be impressed at the tenacity with which the US Government has gone after MegaUpload.

The late file-hosting site was shut down almost exactly a year ago by the US Department of Justice in an unprecedented international effort to stop copyright infringement. The smoke of this drama has yet to clear, with many questions being asked about the legality of the government’s actions. In fact, the case against MegaUpload owner Kim Dotcom (yes, that is his legal name) may be too thin to take to court.

Recently, the America sent a letter to an Ontario court, requesting hard-drive images of 32 former MegaUpload servers previously seized by the Canadian Government. The request made no reference as to why the hard drives were desired, and was most likely a phishing attempt, meaning that the US was hoping to find evidence they could use against Kim Dotcom and MegaUpload.

While this seems harmless at first, it should be mentioned that the servers were not used only for copyright infringement and most likely contain large amounts of personal files and data. Handing over the hard drives would be a violation of Canadian rights and freedoms.

The court denied the request, stating that “there is an enormous volume of information on the servers and that 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.”

As quoted on the website of internet law professor Michael Geist:

The appropriate balance of the state interest in gathering evidence and privacy interests in information can be struck by an order that the servers be brought before the court pursuant to s.15 (2) so that the court can make an order refining what is to be sent. By this, I do not mean that at this stage the servers must physically be delivered to the courthouse. The application for a sending order is adjourned without a fixed return date, returnable on 7 days’ notice. If counsel are unable to agree as to how the scope of relevant material is to be defined then the matter may be brought back before a judge of this court for determination of that issue.

In simpler terms, “no you can’t have them—not until you tell us why you want them.”