Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

Summary: Megaupload users are expected to lose all of their uploaded data, including content they own the copyright to, thanks to this month's raid on the file-sharing company.

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TOPICS: Browser
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U.S. federal prosecutors said on Sunday that data uploaded from users of Megaupload could be deleted as soon as Thursday.

It comes less than a fortnight since the home of founder Kim Dotcom and other senior staff were raided by joint U.S. and New Zealand authorities, and the site seized and shutdown.

Since then, users of the site --- many of which say they have uploaded content they own, such as family pictures and personal documents --- have not been able to store their own cloud-stored data.

There had been hope that users would be able to access their data, but hope is fading fast.

The AP cites a letter filed with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, by storage companies Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications --- both of which host data for Megaupload --- noting that U.S. authorities have the required search warrants and seek access to the data. Because Megaupload's assets have been frozen, it can no longer pay for hosting or to support its operations.

It is thought that some of the data was copied, but U.S. authorities are looking to gain physical access to the data.

While Megaupload was based in Hong Kong, the U.S. said it had the authority to act because some of the servers were based in Virginia.

While HTTP downloaded content from file-sharing sites, such as MegaUpload, FileShare, FileSonic and others, can not be traced in transit unlike torrents, server logs could show from which IP addresses illegally downloaded content was accessed from.

While consumers are worried about their personal files, some may soon be more worried that repeat downloaders of illegally hosted copyrighted works could be the next target.

Megaupload was in the top 100 most visited websites on the Web, according to Internet traffic analytics firm Alexa, before it was shut down.

Since then, many other file-sharing sites have restricted users' accounts from either U.S.-targeted IP address blocking or preventing new uploads from being accepted. Seen as a defensive move by these sites, many file-sharing companies seek to limit the damage caused by the Megaupload raid.

Image source: Megaupload/FBI.

Topic: Browser

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22 comments
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  • Welcome to the cloud.

    This is why I'm happy to retain all of my resources on my own systems.
    ye
  • Now the real racketeers have their DOD dogs rains on the Cloud's parade!

    Legal data, hosted under contract on a cloud service, will likely be deleted by overzealous agents of big business racketeers (yes RIAA and MPAA, we're all looking at you collusive price-fixers). Innocent customers will most likely lose their personal data (family pictures, personally copy-written material like artwork, etc...).

    ZDN bloggers laughed when I warned them that this sort of thing was not only likely but perhaps inevitable. Well, here is is, happening right now.

    Tell me again how trusting someone else to hold my data in their cloud is a 'good thing'?

    Regards,
    Jon
    JonathonDoe
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      Just more of Obama and his gestapo tactics
      anonymous
      • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

        @rparker009 Yes, President Obama has taken time out from hunting Al Qaeda and running a re-election campaign to personally oversee an investigation into a file-sharing outfit and decided to personally delete your files just to make you miserable. Hmm-mmm.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

        @rparker009
        No it's not gestapo?? If you are downloading unlawful content, it just takes the local sheriff or police department. The president doesn't make arrests and congress makes the laws that the law departments enforce. So much for the Obama Gestapo theory!!!
        eargasm
  • A good reason not to trust your data to the Cloud

    On the other hand, in the unlikely event that Megaupload is found innocent of all charges, I fully expect every member of the Department of Justice to be fired, banned from all federal employment for life, their retirement accounts seized, and the individuals thrown in jail under RICO convictions for fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, police brutality, abuse of authority, ... ad nauseum.
    Dr_Zinj
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      @Dr_Zinj
      They won't be found innocent. These guys did not go after these guys for the exercise. They are toast! Nice pipe dream, though!!
      eargasm
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    Realistically, who would use Megaupload to store their personal and family photos? While I don't agree with what is going on here I think this argument comes off as a bit disingenuous and silly.
    stiphy
    • Apparently a lot of people did just that.

      @stiphy: [i]Realistically, who would use Megaupload to store their personal and family photos?[/i]
      ye
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      @stiphy

      People may be using a service such as Megaupload to back up their files and allow selective sharing of their files. They may have family photos to share with family members. They may also have important files that they can encrypt and store there in case of disaster. There are legitimate uses of services such as Megaupload. I used Megaupload to download a Firefox extension that was updated to work on a newer version of Firefox.

      What I don't get is why anyone would lose everything stored at Megaupload, they should have a local copy.

      Instead of going after piracy in a way that will have little or no effect, the content providers should look at the big picture. Their sales are down because of sustained worldwide depressed economy, the fact that the content providers are producing junk, and they are holding onto an ancient business model that cannot work in the modern world. They should work on ways to lower the price, produce what people will buy, and make it convenient to buy and use their content. Locking their content down to the point of making it useless to their customers is one of the driving forces of piracy today.

      They should also stop bringing up their phony figures about how much piracy is costing them in lost sales (every download is NOT a lost sale). Many pirates are "collectors" who would not buy their content anyway, so there are very few lost sales.
      mystic100
      • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

        @mystic100 This idea that it's all content providers' fault has got to stop and the consumers have to take responsibility. I can buy almost any computer game online via Steam and similar outfits and Steam has completely transparent DRM (heck, even Linux users can get the Steam client working through the WINE compatibility libraries and play games downloaded from Steam, so the DRM really is unobtrusive). However, PC game piracy is still rampant. I can download almost every book published in the last few years from Amazon, B&N or other players for cheaper than physical books, yet torrent sites are still filled with e-books. I can stream tv episodes and movies from sites like Netflix and Amazon (with Amazon using Flash so usable even on Linux), yet movie and pay tv piracy is still rampant. Amazon and others sell DRM-free music, but music piracy is still rampant.

        Prices are lower, distribution is instant, and people are still stealing. I told someone yesterday who sent me stuff about a protest I don't want to hear any more about SOPA or anything related until someone comes up with concessions on the other side. I suggested tongue-in-cheek that consumers pledge not to use any more pirated copies of Photoshop or Windows as a start. :-)
        jgm@...
      • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

        @jgm@... Yes, now can you tell me how many of those people would actually buy the content they're pirating if pirating was impossible? Hint: The number is way smaller than you think it is.
        Aerowind
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    Welcome 1984! Welcome Big Brother!

    And, wow, the cloud is making his job Sooooo much easier!
    Shara8
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    Surely the FBI should wait until a trial is over before destroying the evidence.
    Knowles2
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      @Knowles2
      On appeal that evidence might prove that the accused are innocent.
      Obviously that can't be allowed to happen. ;)
      lehnerus2000
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    I am surprised that I do not see an injunction against this act. There has been no trial. No guilty verdict. Yet somehow all data is being destroyed. I do not know the laws of where the servers are but here in the US such acts would be unconstitutional.
    fldbryan@...
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      @fldbryan@... gee maybe you should read the article then. The FBI doesn't enforce foreign laws. The servers are in Virginia, a U.S. state last time I checked a map.
      spin498
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    And they want people to store they data in the cloud
    peter010908
    • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

      @peter010908
      For this EXACT reason (i.e. so it can be seized, inspected and any interesting IP appropriated).
      lehnerus2000
  • RE: Megaupload data 'to be destroyed': Could feds swoop on file-sharers?

    I'm not a legal expert by any means, but it occurs to me that if this action proceeds the feds are guilty of [u]destruction of private property[/u] (in the case of legitimate, personal files stored on Megaupload or whatever site they decide to attack next). Furthermore, it seems that their authority should end at the US border; contrary to what many (politicos, in particular) seem to believe, the US government and its' agencies are [b]not[/b] actually the worlds policeman. Their impingement on companies operating outside the country, accomplished through whatever means, is [b]not[/b] legitimate and may, in fact, be illegal in some cases.

    It seems to me that there need to be measures taken to prevent the destruction of [u]any[/u] data until the actions are held up as legal by the courts, and this includes all levels of appellate courts up to and including the Supreme Court. Allowing the data to be destroyed contravenes the presumption of innocence and cannot be undone, which does back to my first point of destruction of private property. Under the provisions of the law "One form of equitable relief that is available in copyright cases is a seizure order... Items that are impounded during the course of the lawsuit can, [b][i]if the plaintiff wins[/i][/b], (emphasis mine) be ordered destroyed as part of the final decree."

    Over and above that, I have real problems with government and its' agencies essentially acting as publicly-funded, private enterprise goon squads on behalf of the MPAA, RIAA, and others who have plenty of resources to pursue civil actions against "violators" without offloading the expense on the general public. It's time government stopped acting on behalf of wealthy, private companies and organizations while assisting them in skirting due process. Let them take care of their own house. The tax-paying public should not be expected to fund their "cost-of-doing-business" enforcement.
    hectorj102