If you watched the footage released days ago of elite tactical squads and bomb-sniffing dogs raiding Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion, you may have wondered, as many did, whether the show of force was over the top. Why the firepower for a man accused of running a piracy website? According to the NZ Herald, the FBI suspected Kim Dotcom of possessing a “doomsday device” capable of wiping out all evidence of Internet piracy throughout the world. No such device was uncovered.
Grant Wormald, the supervisor responsible for overseeing the raid, told New Zealand’s High Court at Auckland that the FBI had tipped off New Zealand authorities to the alleged device. The Bureau reportedly said Dotcom “carried a device with him to delete servers around the world,” which could have been “triggered in seconds” from any mobile device by any one of the 20 individuals that were said to have access to it. But if the device would have existed, as Kim Dotcom’s lawyer pointed out, Kim Dotcom could have remotely deleted the servers anyway. After the raid, he was left unattended for an hour with his iPhone in his possession.
While Dotcom could have used a script to wipe files, in reality, the only failsafe way of wiping evidence on the servers without destroying them would be to run the hard drives through a powerful magnetic degausser. Unless his servers were already situated within a giant degausser, instantly wiping his servers in that manner would be impossible. Destroying them with an alternative means, like igniting thermite above server stack, would have been an even more remote possibility. Either way, a universal doomsday button for wiping out all pirated data throughout the world remains a far-fetched claim, and in Dotcom’s case, one that simply wasn’t true.