Canada has told US authorities in the Megaupload case that it won’t send over the data on 32 servers until it determines what files are stored on the machines.
Megaupload’s lawyers said 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.”
Judge Gladys Pardu of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice asked for Megaupload and its prosecutors to refine the proposed order by limiting what is disclosed to what is relevant to the case, else the matter may be brought back before a judge.
The ruling comes as MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom has unveiled some details of Mega, the new file-sharing service that is set to launch on Saturday, that could offer users up to 50GB of free cloud storage.
The 32 servers in question were hosted at an Equinix data center, and were seized on January 19, 2012 based on allegations that they were linked to the crimes in an email from Megaupload staff that said they were to “serve as a database/number crunching machines.”
The decision by the Canadian court challenges the kinds of blanket server seizure policies US law enforcement tends to apply, and it may serve to validate the idea that something hosting customers put in a Canadian data center is not necessarily subject to US laws – a major selling-point when customers are choosing where to host their sensitive data.
Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken told TorrentFreak he was pleased with the ruling “designed to protect the privacy rights of Megaupload users” and that users should encrypt data stored in the cloud – a feature that Megaupload’s new Mega service promises to offer.
The endorsement by Judge Pardu comes as Megaupload has submitted a filing to the US District Court that claims the search warrants used against it were unlawfully obtained by the government – allegations that the US has since described as “baseless.”
Talk back: Do you support Canada’s decision in this case? What do you expect to see from the new Megaupload service to be launched on Saturday? Let us know in a comment.