Steven Bellovin smb at
Fri Jan 20 04:07:50 UTC 2012

I don't mean either -- I've only skimmed the indictment.  But from the
news stories, it would *appear* that they got a search or wiretap warrant
to get at employees' email.  I don't see how that would make it "not
private".  (Btw -- "due diligence" is a civil suit concept; this is a
criminal case.)  The prosecution is trying to claim that the targets
had actual knowledge of what was going on.

I do know Orin Kerr, however.  He's a former federal prosecutor and he's
*very* sharp, and I've never known him to be wrong on straight-forward
legal issues like this.  He himself may not have all the facts himself.
But here are two sample paragraphs from the indictment:

	On or about August 31, 2006, VAN DER KOLK sent an e-mail to an
	associate entitled lol.  Attached to the message was a screenshot
	of a file download page for the file Alcohol 120
	1.9.5 3105complete.rar with a description of Alcohol 120, con
	crack!!!!  By ChaOtiX!.  The copyrighted software Alcohol 120 is
	a CD/DVD burning software program sold by


	On or about June 24, 2010, members of the Mega Conspiracy were
	informed, pursuant to a criminal search warrant from the U.S.
	District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, that thirty-nine
	infringing copies of copyrighted motion pictures were believed to
	be present on their leased servers at Carpathia Hosting in Ashburn,
	Virginia.  On or about June 29, 2010, after receiving a copy of
	the criminal search warrant, ORTMANN sent an e-mail entitled Re:
	Search Warrant Urgent to DOTCOM and three representatives of
	Carpathia Hosting in the Eastern District of Virginia.  In the
	e-mail, ORTMANN stated, The user/payment credentials supplied in
	the warrant identify seven Mega user accounts, and further that
	The 39 supplied MD5 hashes identify mostly very popular files that
	have been uploaded by over 2000 different users so far[.] The Mega
	Conspiracy has continued to store copies of at least thirty-six
	of the thirty-nine motion pictures on its servers after the Mega
	Conspiracy was informed of the infringing content.

(I got the indictment from
-- while I'd prefer to use a DoJ site cite, for some reason their web
server is very slow right now...)

On Jan 19, 2012, at 10:48 PM, Suresh Ramasubramanian wrote:

> Er I'm sorry but do you mean joeschmoe at type
> emails, or joeschmoe at type emails?
> If megaupload's corporate email was siezed to provide due diligence in
> such a prosecution - it would quite probably not constitute private
> mail
> On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM, Steven Bellovin <smb at> wrote:
>>        The Megaupload case is unusual, said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor
>>        at George Washington University, in that federal prosecutors obtained
>>        the private e-mails of Megaupload’s operators in an effort to show they
>>        were operating in bad faith.
>>        "The government hopes to use their private words against them," Mr. Kerr
>>        said. "This should scare the owners and operators of similar sites."
> -- 
> Suresh Ramasubramanian (ops.lists at

		--Steve Bellovin,

More information about the NANOG mailing list