The FBI reportedly used private Skype IM conversations that it intercepted as a basis for its case against Megaupload, but what isn't clear is how exactly the FBI acquired these conversations. The US Department of Justice told CNET that the evidence was obtained through search warrants, and Skype was not asked to turn over any information to the FBI. According to its privacy policy, Skype only holds data for 30 days, while some of the conversations that the FBI had access to go back up to five years. If the FBI didn't receive data from Skype directly, there's the possibility that there was some tracking software implanted on the Megaupload executives computers, and there's historical precedence for that scenario. In 2007, the FBI remotely installed a piece of spyware known as CIPAV on the computer of a suspect who was emailing bomb threats; this software reported back an ongoing log of the computer's outgoing communication. Similar software could certainly be behind these uncovered Skype conversations, but we're not likely to find out for sure until the case is fully underway.

As for what was in these intercepted Skype sessions, revealed details of a conversation between Megaupload co-founder Mathias Ortmann and head programmer Bram van der Kolk in which the pair worried about what founder Kim Dotcom would do if the company found itself in legal trouble. As Van der Kolk reportedly said in a 2007 conversation, "Would he take the last little bit of money and take off? He's good at that."