Sometimes when you spend a week on vacation, you like to leave work behind, so I was a little bit surprised during my morning coffee last week to hear an NPR story on MegaUpload. They managed to find someone who, through explainable circumstances, had lost all other copies of his valuable files, leaving the inaccessible copies on MegaUpload as his only hope. Given that this has been my most popular blog topic, I’ve been waiting for some new developments in this fascinating story of scale.
I admit to curiosity about just how much it was costing Carpathia to have 25 petabytes of data burning up server space, cooling its heels in an inactive corner of the data warehouse. Last month, Carpathia claimed that it was costing them $9K a day, which was on top of housecleaning charges that have been reported as being $65-100K. Carpathia has put cyberlawyer Marc Zwillinger on the case, and he’s currently claiming it costs them $37K a month to store what are apparently now inactive servers. Meanwhile, New Zealand freed up enough assets to allow Megaupload to hire a law firm that is alleging the US government actions are tantamount to an inappropriate form of control over the evidence, which would prevent the service, and its founder Kim Dotcom, from ever getting justice in a court of law.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady recently held a hearing with lawyers from Carpathia, the EFF, the Motion Picture Association of America and MegaUpload. He essentially told them to figure it out, and he explicitly did not tell Carpathia that it would be OK to delete all that data.
Ultimately, it remains an argument over a huge hot potato. The scale of the thing creates new and unusual problems that neither the computing industry nor the legal field have dealt with before. Given that US law is so heavily dependent upon precedent, it will be very interesting to see what eventually happens, and who ‘pays’ for it. While MegaUpload isn’t a form of cloud service that is hugely significant to most Gartner clients,this case may yet have some impact on cloud computing contracts, and on law enforcement conventions for the treatment of multi-tenanted servers.