A (hopefully) final update on the FBI raid

I’ve had a chance to correspond with DigitalOne over the last few days to clarify what happened with the server raid last week in which the FBI (seemingly accidentally) took one of Instapaper’s database servers and numerous other unrelated servers when attempting to seize another server allegedly used for malware distribution.

I initially assumed and published that when the FBI took my server, they had possession of the hard disks and therefore a copy of the Instapaper database and source code.

DigitalOne’s CEO, Sergei Arsentiev, informed me in an email last night that the FBI agents only took one enclosure containing 16 HP C7000 blade servers (including the one I was leasing), but that my server’s two hard drives were in a separate HP MDS600 enclosure that was not taken, and the drives were never removed from it.

If this is accurate, the FBI did not take my server’s hard drives from the datacenter or their enclosure — they only took the C7000 module that contained my server’s processor, RAM, and other non-storage components.

I don’t know enough about the physical workings to say for sure, and I wasn’t present to observe the agents’ actions, but this makes it very unlikely that they read or copied any of Instapaper’s data or code.

I’m relieved to learn this, and I’m considering the matter closed for now. Thank you, everyone, for your support during this ordeal.