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Cloud Data Storage Hardware

What Happens To Your Files When a Cloud Service Shuts Down? 592

Posted by Soulskill
from the apocalypse-and-doom dept.
MrSeb writes "Megaupload's shutdown poses an interesting question: What happens to all the files that were stored on the servers? XDA-Developers, for example, has more than 200,000 links to Megaupload — and this morning, they're all broken, with very little hope of them returning. What happens if a similar service, like Dropbox, gets shut down — either through bankruptcy, or federal take-down? Will you be given a chance to download your files, or helped to migrate them to another similar service? What about data stored on enterprise services like Azure or AWS — are they more safe?" And if you're interested, the full indictment against Megaupload is now available.
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What Happens To Your Files When a Cloud Service Shuts Down?

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  • Evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:09PM (#38764386)
    As a point, the government will be using all files hosted on those servers as evidence in the case. They will not likely, and are not required to, give access to those files.
    • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:14PM (#38764488)

      Reminds me of the old saw, "Neither your life nor your property are safe when the legislature is in session."

      • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Informative)

        by racermd (314140) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:10PM (#38765574)

        The actual answer is (as always) to have backups of anything you feel is important. If the data is important enough, you make multiple backups to different kinds of media and store them in different places.

        And, with any backup solution, one must plan for contingencies. Now that MU is offline, and the other personal file uploading sites are in danger of the same scrutiny/takedown, maybe it's time to roll your own private cloud with friends and family as storage nodes. They host your files, you host theirs. Model it after a weird hybrid bittorrent/RAID setup. That whole Storage Spaces thing from Microsoft would be a good model if it can be scaled to the network layer. The loss of any node would not bring down the entire storage pool and would allow itself enough time to re-balance the load among the remaining nodes.

        Obviously, there are some logistics concerns with this method. However, a private cloud like this would certainly survive the antics of a jilted media conglomerate (or a cabal of them). And, as it would be a backup solution to data you are already keeping elsewhere (right?), it wouldn't be the only copy of the data in the event the cloud goes down.

        • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:33PM (#38766004) Homepage Journal

          And if it's damning, there are plenty of dead-man-switch based e-mail services that will happily e-mail your file to several news outlets for a cheap price if you fail to check in.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sentrion (964745)

          "...roll your own private cloud with friends and family as storage nodes. They host your files, you host theirs. Model it after a weird hybrid bittorrent/RAID setup..."

          Once the FBI and **AA's find out your "rolling your own" underground clandestine P2P under-the-radar private information (translated into "intelligence" by the agency) sharing (translated into "espionage") system they will for sure decide that you are a terrorist/spy and send a drone to take out your network and your family.

          They probably alre

        • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kevin Stevens (227724) <kevstevNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:31PM (#38766948)

          I am surprised that NAS's haven't caught on very well. I have had one since 2007, and have been living in "the cloud" ever since. I can access all of my data over the internet, and it also serves as a nice little low power web server that can run gallery and various other apps. It can stream media, and I can even kick off a bit torrent movie download at work, and then watch it when I get home. All the other functions are really just gravy, as I originally bought this set up to replace a large old power hungry pc that was acting as a file server to supplement my roommate and I's meager laptop drives. I am protected both by RAID 1 and an external USB hard drive that I do a full backup to on a weekly basis. The only thing I am really missing is having a backup kept off-site, which I could do if I was willing to swap out disks, or pay for a service that would allow me to do an online backup.

          Its a little pricey (about $400 for disks + the NAS itself) and requires some knowledge to set up properly, but I have no real space limitations, upload/download limits, and I can add or disable features as I see fit. Oh and of course, mine runs linux on top of a low power arm CPU.

        • by JobyOne (1578377)

          That answer doesn't work for a forum like XDA-Developers. They can't exactly back up the URLs that all their links point to. If a service like this goes down backups do nothing to alleviate the painful process of updating all their gazillion links to point wherever they move the new copies from their backups to.

          I thought old people knew the saying "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." Where was that kind of reasoning here?

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday January 20, 2012 @07:11PM (#38769770)

          The actual answer is (as always) to have backups of anything you feel is important.

          Ironically, the specialist on-line back-up services seem to be among the worst offenders in terms of guarantees.

          For example, we looked into this a few months ago, and one huge and very well known back-up service had Ts & Cs that seemed to say (quite clearly, IIRC) that if they decided to close down the service for any reason then they would have no obligation in terms of granting customers data access beyond letting you download what you could over the next 3 days. On a fully saturated leased line, with no-one else hitting their servers at the same time, you still couldn't download the volume of data that even their entry-level business packages supported within that time frame! And clearly in practice not everyone has a handy leased line available and it is highly unlikely that the back-up service's servers would stand up to their entire customer base trying to do that at once. They normally offer other ways to retrieve your data en masse if necessary, such as posting it on discs for a small fee, but those options all stop as soon as they announce the closure. Basically, they offer a back-up service that can disappear at any time without giving you a chance to retrieve everything, so better hope your office doesn't burn down around the time they decide to do that, then.

          We didn't take out a contract. We did notice that while the above was the worst case of not really providing the advertised service at all, several of the other big name specialist off-site back-up services didn't seem to be much better. None of them actually promised to take steps such that even if they had to shut down at short notice for any reason there was a always a credible plan in place to get your data back to you.

          One of my colleagues made a strong case that we should use something like encrypted files uploaded to AWS if we wanted cloud back-ups, for the simple reason that Amazon make most of their money elsewhere but rely on AWS themselves as well, which with their scale means it is inconceivable that the service would be shut off with the loss of data before we had chance to retrieve it. In the end, we decided (as we have with most other cloud services) that the whole idea didn't live up to the hype, and we opted to lease a dedicated server housed in someone else's data centre and we basically just do an automatic rsync from our normal servers to the back-up with suitable levels of encryption applied throughout.

    • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Funny)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:17PM (#38764600) Homepage Journal

      As a point, the government will be using all files hosted on those servers as evidence in the case. They will not likely, and are not required to, give access to those files.

      Yeah, expect a subpeona in the mail.

      "Uh, I was so shocked by the news I forgot the password to my 8GB zip file."

      "No worries, we have a crack team of security hackers who will have it open in a few minutes if you can't supply it."

      "..."

      "We'll call upon you if we need you for anything. Bye!" *click* nrrrrr...

      *click* diit-doot-doot-deet-diit-doot-deet-doot-deet-doot "Hello, I'd like a ticket to New Zealand! FAST!"

    • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:22PM (#38765828) Journal

      I know cloud storage is trendy and all, and maybe I'm just an old fogey, but things like this just confirm my feeling that you should keep your stuff local. There isn't a lot of functional difference between a local storage appliance and storing your stuff in "the cloud". You can even outsource administration if you choose. The difference is, you won't lose your stuff due to the suspected bad behavior of some other company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:10PM (#38764414)

    ...if the answer is "backup"?

  • by OnTheEdge (136784) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:10PM (#38764424)
    Good question, but it's not really an issue for Dropbox as that service maintains full local copies on each of the computers I have on my account.
  • by sethstorm (512897) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:10PM (#38764430) Homepage

    If you can afford to lose the data, it's fine to have it in the cloud.

    If you can't, you are SOL if you don't have a backup - one that is not in the cloud.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:20PM (#38764644)

      Yep, this is why on-shore cloud computing will never take off, why would a foreign entity want to put in this position. XDA won't get their hosting back, but I highly doubt they lost anything, it's developers after all. But imagine if your business relied on megaupload, say for high speed downloads of your companies product, you'd be hurting.

      Still I don't see how paying uploaders can directly be linked to promoting file sharing. It's still the uploaders choice to make the money via copyrighted material...

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:24PM (#38764734) Journal
      Well, the summary specifically references a developer's forum where I can sympathize (being a developer) with people modding Android ROMs or whatever and uploading such binaries for distribution to others. I guess the people who run the forum don't really get a say in any of this. However, as a software developer, I can imagine a third option for files that are user generated (and for the most part legal).

      Now XDA-Developers is going to have tens of thousands of once helpful posts that now lead to a broken link. How could they have avoided this? Well, I'd imagine that someone could have written an internal bot for their forums that would harvest links to the external megaupload. They then could have subscribed to megaupload, downloaded said linked files and created a local cache of their files purely for their own use on a small RAID. Now the last thing the bot would need to do is take the megaupload URL and develop some unique URI ... perhaps a hash of the date, checksum and filename? It would then maintain a key-value pair of these megaupload links to your internal URIs and also a directory structure of these URIs as the files. Now, say megaupload is a very unreliable/questionable service or goes down and now your forum is worthless. Well, you can always re-spider your site and replace all the megaupload links with links to your cloud hosting of these new files or work out a deal with another third party similar to megaupload where they would accept the file and URI and return to you the URI paired with their new URL. Then it's a matter of spidering your site and replacing the megaupload links with your new service's URLs.

      It's a pain in the ass but let's face it, some forums could perish when their codependence on megaupload is fully realized in a very painful manner. And I don't think that's a fair risk to the users who have created hundreds of thousands of posts.
    • by dissy (172727) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:04PM (#38765454)

      I never understood why people would upload a copy of a file to the Internet, manually/purposefully delete their only local copy, and proceed to complain that they no longer have a local copy.
      Why on earth would you delete it from your computer?!?

      There is NO excuse for this problem.

      This is FAR from a new issue with "the cloud" either.
      People used to do the exact same thing with web-hosting.
      They would upload their website to a web server somewhere, delete their only copy, then when the hosting company went under, had the server crash, disk failure, whatever... the user would proceed to blame the ISP for the fact the user themselves deleted their only copy from their own computer. wtf?

      The standard rule for backups is, if you can't bother to have two copies (One on your computer, one backed up on another device) then it clearly wasn't important enough to warrant bitching about when you lose it. That rule implied ONE copy was not enough... Why on earth would people think ZERO copies is any better?

      Hard drives die. It's a fact of life. The "if" is always a yes, only the "when" is variable.
      That fact alone is reason enough to already have more than one copy in your own home on your own equipment.
      A provider disappearing like this should be nothing worse than a minor inconvenience in finding somewhere else to host it and upload another copy, then chase down URLs pointing there and update them. Sure, that can be a bit of work and is quite annoying, but it should be nothing on the scale of data loss.

      Storage is cheap.
      Encryption is easy (Thanks to the efforts of projects like PGP [symantec.com], GPG [gnupg.org], and TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org])
      BackupPC [sourceforge.net] is free, runs on Linux which is free, and can be as simple as an old Pentium-2 desktop sitting unused in your basement that you toss a couple extra hard drives in.
      You set it up once and it does everything for you! It daily grabs copies of other computers, all automated, all by itself. It can backup Linux, Windows, and even OSX via the network. You can feed it DHCP logs to watch for less frequently connected machines like laptops. It de-duplicates to save disk space, and can email you if and when a problem crops up. I only check mine twice or so a year just to make sure things are running (never had a problem yet) and as it deletes older backups only when needed to make room for new ones, with de-duplication I can go grab a file from any date between now and three years ago, at any stage of editing (Well, in 3 day increments for my servers.. but it's all configurable, and should be set based on the importance of the data!)
      On ubuntu and debian based systems, it is a single apt-get install away. Likely just as easy on any other distro with package management.
      Any true computer geek can slap together such a system with zero cost and spending less than an afternoon. Anyone else can do so for minimal cost and perhaps a day of work.

      Apple has ridiculously easy backup software (Time Machine?), and Windows has the advantage of most of the software out there being written for it, so the odds that there are less than five different software packages to do this exact same thing is next to impossible.

      Hell, even for non-geeks, most people have that one guy or gal in the family who supports everyones computers. Just ask them! They will likely be ecstatic to help, possibly will donate spare parts from their collection (Or find you the best prices on parts if not) - and be content in the fact they won't have to tell you things like "Sorry, your hard drive has the click-o-death, I can't recover anything from it." which no one likes to need to say.

      This is worth repeating: There is NO excuse for this problem.

      Personally, if it's important, I have a bare minimum of four copies.
      One for actually using, on my system drive.
      One that got a

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:12PM (#38764450) Homepage Journal

    The foolishness that is millions of users trusting a single giant computing grid owned by a single private corporation was stupid in the first place.

    it is everyone putting their eggs in the same giant basket

    ranging from policy changes to mergers/takeovers/acquisitions to bankruptcies to government intervention - whatever you can imagine. its a single point of failure and your important stuff is gone.

    moreover, these cloud stuff are utilized for making collaboration tools work. so if cloud is gone, there goes your entire communication in between your team, company, clients, workgroup, whatever.

    its strategically stupid. run your own cloud if you want. dont put your stuff on another company's turf. its dangerous.

    • by forkfail (228161) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:16PM (#38764554)

      But once the SOPA-esque laws and treaties become The Way That Things Are (tm) - and unless things change drastically, they eventually will - and once the Great Consolidation has run its course - what choice will there be?

      • by fusiongyro (55524) <faxfreemosquitoNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:25PM (#38764762) Homepage

        How is SOPA going to stop you from hosting your files yourself?

        • by forkfail (228161) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:35PM (#38764960)

          It wouldn't.

          It would, however, prevent you from using any sort of cloud hosting if you want to keep your data private. Because in order to be SOPA compliant, a cloud would have to scan your data to ensure that you didn't have any sort of "illicit" files.

          So - why use the cloud at all? Well, for better or worse, services like AWS make it possible for certain businesses to grow and thrive - and in some cases, exist at all.

          Which brings us back to my original point. Given the constant push by the seriously monied interests in SOPA-esque laws and treaties worldwide, and given the trend towards consolidation of the various corporations and services out there, eventually, it's going to be hard for a certain class of business and user not to have all their eggs in one basket - a basket that has both corporate and government eyes peeking at pretty much every bit that's out there.

          If this scenario does not appeal, then perhaps a way to change the underlying trends of corporate and government Big Brotherhood needs be found.

    • by Myopic (18616) *

      No it's not, you luddite. If I upload a file into the cloud, the file now exists in two places. I have it, and the cloud has it, and now maybe other people have it too. It is exactly the opposite of everything putting their eggs in one basket. It is more like magically multiplying your single egg among many baskets, so that any basket which disappears still leaves you with a bunch of eggs in a bunch of baskets, with plenty of eggs for everyone.

      If I'm wrong, then you will kindly point out how now nobody can

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#38764468)

    I've always wondered what happens to Pokemon in a trainers' computer when the trainer dies/quits/etc. I imagine the same would happen to megaupload files. Like the pokemon lost in a nonphysical oblivion for all eternity, these files will endure an endless torture of nothingness.

  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itchythebear (2198688) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#38764470)
    Has Megaupload been found guilty of anything? If not, why has their site been shut down? If copyright laws apply to the internet, then why doesn't due process?
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Informative)

      by Caerdwyn (829058) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:23PM (#38764706) Journal

      For the same reason that some suspects are kept in jail pending their trial: it is considered highly likely by the judge presiding over the case that the criminal activity would continue, or evidence be destroyed. "Due process" includes that decision, and the prosecution and defendant both state their position before the judge makes that decision. That stage has passed.

      BTW, I read the complaint. The core of the accusations are twofold: first that the Megaupload folks willfully hosted infringing content (thus losing the safe harbor protections that shield other hosting services); they knew and did nothing. Second, that through other businesses and websites they controlled, the Megaupload folks deliberately solicited infringing content and directed it to Megaupload (hence the "conspiracy" charges, which mean something very specific and not necessarily the tinfoil hats and black helicopters so popular among bloggers who think they know the meaning of a word). If those complaints are true (and none of us here knows that or will decide that; we are not the jury, and we are not seeing the evidence), then yeah, they're gonna go to jail and be stripped of every penny they own. That's reality, regardless of whether Anonymous, Slashdot, or anyone else likes it or not.

      • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

        by forkfail (228161) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:28PM (#38764830)

        Here's the problem with the "willful" argument in general.

        Either you can have a cloud in which your data is private, or the owners of the cloud can actively prevent the use of the cloud for hosting "infringing content".

        You can't have both.

  • Simple... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#38764472)

    Your files will glow in golden sunlight when the cloud dissipates... =)

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#38764482) Homepage Journal
    It sounds hauntingly familiar to what happens when a DRM licensing server goes down. (And also due to a company folding/retiring the service.)

    Clearly, we need a magical, distributed, self-healing data storage system. I think I've heard of one or two of these (can anyone provide links, if they exist?) but I guess they haven't been popular enough to be remembered. (And I'm not talking about mere P2P; I'm thinking something more like distributed, redundant storage with the structural resilience of BitCoin.)
  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:14PM (#38764516) Homepage

    I don't even trust GMail to keep my e-mail store forever, but download them to my own copy of Thunderbird each day. GMail is probably not going away any time soon, but what would I do if for some reason they shut down my account? Customer service for issues like this at Google isn't exactly stellar. If you don't have your own backups of what you have in the cloud, you are asking for trouble.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:15PM (#38764532)
    There is nothing magic about the "Cloud". From a practical perspective it is little more than a remote hard drive. A cloud provider going away is very much like a hard drive failing.
  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:16PM (#38764572)

    It goes away. Hope you had a backup.

    If you're lucky, the cloud provider may provide you with a one-time access to your account, but isn't it far safer to assume that if your cloud provider goes down, you've lost everything you put in? Not just data, either - if you've prepaid your account, you probably lost all that stored value as well.

    Cloud storage providers especially. What happens if your hard drive dies? You lose the data. What happens if your backup tapes fail - you've lost the backup. What happens if your dropbox/skydrive/etc. disappear? You've lost your files.

    All those XDA Developer links? Gone. hope the original authors are still around to upload them elsewhere or that someone downloaded it and can upload it.

    Cloud providers make us lazy - we think "it'll always be around and I can grab it later". Turns out later can disappear - perhaps temporary (e.g., your or their internet connection dies), or permanently. But it's really just the same as storing files locally - there's a chance the storage may fail.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:17PM (#38764604)
    The possibility that a cloud service can go offline quite suddenly should be a major factor in your decision whether to use the service at all, and the extent to which you'll rely on it. The customer agreement for Amazon Web Services [amazon.com] is better than I might expect because it says they will notify you if the service goes dark, but that might be small comfort if you are not prepared for a sudden migration.
  • One story down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:23PM (#38764722) Homepage Journal

    Is a case against some Dell folks for massive insider trading scam.

    Wanna take a whild guess as to who gets more jail time?

  • by darkharlequin (1923) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:24PM (#38764740) Homepage Journal
    ...for a client, I'm not going to fool them into believing its any more secure than offsite copies in C level officer's homes or other safe location with physical access. In fact, given what happened with Megaupload, I'm not sure I could, in good conscience, convince a customer that cloud computing is secure for them.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:26PM (#38764786)

    Prime example evidence #1 of how SOPA breaks the cloud.

    A single complaint that a cloud service has a copyright file can result in a takedown of the entire cloud. Stranding all clients of that cloud.

    Thanks to the government and their extra-judicial processes, they have broken the notion of internet provided services.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:32PM (#38764886) Journal
    Those emails are pretty damning, especially the ones specifying payments to users for providing illegal content. To paraphrase: "User X has 10 great, DVD ripped copies of some popular movies, let's send him a check for five grand." If anything, though, this is proof that the existing law is working as intended and we really don't need any additional bills to go through to crack down on piracy.
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:32PM (#38764900) Journal
    Today, millions of people understood why technical staff always had reservation about "cloud-based" solutions.
  • should work out pretty well. Just upload your content to as many "cloud" services as possible and each one can pay for itself if your content is worth anything. If one provider goes away, the rest will take up the slack. Use magnet links.
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:56PM (#38765310) Homepage

    If you're using file storage/replication services as a backup, then you have the originals. The point of a backup is that you can lose either of the copies and still have another. That's relevant whether it's the original that goes up in flames, or the backup.

    If you're these services as the sole-source for storage, then you're doing it just as wrongly as if you used a single local storage device, or else the data isn't important enough to worry about losing.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday January 20, 2012 @01:58PM (#38765350) Journal
    "The Cloud" is for dopes. Period. If you stored mission- or life-critical data in "The Cloud", then you get what you deserve.
  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:00PM (#38765388)
    I've been watching the hype over cloud-this and cloud-that for several years with an increasingly cynical eye. Perhaps this incident will help convince a few others to look pass the trendy buzzwords and actually THINK about what can happen. For example:

    1. Drives seized, eventually end up for sale to the public, random people now own your data.
    2. Cloud provider hacked, dangerous random people now own your data.
    3. Drives seized, feds download all your data and start going through it to see if they can make a case against you. (Oh, you don't think they can? Keep in mind the words of Cardinal Richelieu: "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.")
    4. Drives seized, someone decides to make a few extra bucks selling your data to your competitors. Or spammers. Or phishers.
    5. Drives seized, someone graciously decides to let you "have your data back", but what you get back is not what you think it is -- it's been quietly, carefully modified. Maybe your research statistics have been subtly corrupted; maybe there's malware in it; maybe it's missing a few key pieces here and there.

    When you use a cloud provider, all you've got is your best hope. And "hope" is not a valid security strategy.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:11PM (#38765602) Journal
    Your files are going to be probed over the next few months for:
    1. evidence of copyright infringement that can be used to increase damages
    2. evidence of criminal activity other than copyright infringement by Megaupload users
    3. confidential information that could be useful to law enforcement (contact lists for Mexican drug cartels? Can you imagine if they seized Evite? You know they'd be looking for "Welcome back from your cross-border smuggling mission!" parties and "Whack-A-Mole" mafia parties)

    First Rule of Cloud Computing Use: Never upload anything to the cloud you wouldn't want the entire world to see.

    Are you going to get this data back? Of course not. The servers have been seized by the government because they were used for criminal activities. They're not going to take the time to go through everyone's files to find the good ones and give them back.

    • "This photo belongs to 10-year-old Jimmy Thompson in Arlington, VA. Looks harmless to me. Go ahead and email this back to him." Right.
    • "This looks like a code snippet from some open source project. Looks harmless to me. Email it back to them." Sure.
    • "This one's just a video of Jimmy's family singing Happy Birthday to him at the park. Wait! That's infringement [wikipedia.org]!" (Personally, I'm boycotting birthdays until 2030 when people can legally sing the song.)

    They're going to count up the number of items that look like copyrighted content (7 billion copyrighted photographs, 28 million ripped DVDs, etc.), come up with a multiplier for each type ($5,000 for each photo, $15 million for each DVD, etc.) and then tell the judge the copyright infringement at Megaupload was so massive, the value of the damages is greater than the amount of U.S. debt held by China.

    Second Rule of Cloud Computing Use: Never assume that you have any guarantee of access to anything in the cloud.

    Keep in mind that the Rules of Cloud Computing Use are a necessary because of the Three Laws of Cloud Computing:

    1. 1. A cloud may not injure an industry association or government entity or, through inaction, allow an industry association or government entity to come to harm.
    2. 2. A cloud must obey the orders given to it by industry associations or government entities, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. 3. A cloud must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:24PM (#38765868) Homepage Journal

    Losing access to your data is only one of the points to be made here.

    There's also the question of the government having access to your information. With one blanket warrant (the website), the government now has access to all the files of all users, whether infringing or not.

    This is roughly akin to the government getting a search warrant for a bank, and rooting around in all the safety deposit boxes.

    Another question relates to the security of the data.

    As I understand it, MegaUpload allows users to choose who has access to their data. If your data was valuable, what happens if that value is lost due to the feds losing control over it?

    Does the government guarantee the safety of the data? Can the government be sued if your trade secrets mysteriously find their way to the hands of your competitors? Or to China?

    Indicting the owners of MegaUpload is one thing, but every way you look at it the seizure of the data is an infringement of people's rights.

  • toast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:28PM (#38765916) Homepage Journal

    What Happens To Your Files When a Cloud Service Shuts Down?

    They're toast.

    That was the easiest "Ask Slashdot" ever. What's the next question?

    No, really. That's all there is to say about it. Everything else either follows from there, is trivially obvious, or is pure speculation, ranting, off-topic or trolling.

  • by iamstretchypanda (939837) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:29PM (#38765936) Homepage
    Check out the plates on some of these:

    2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM, VIN WDB2093422F165517, LicensePlate No. “GOOD”;69.
    2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG 5.5L Kompressor, VINWDB2093422F166073, License Plate No. “EVIL”;70.
    2010 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG L, VIN WDD2211792A324354, LicensePlate No. “CEO”;7071.
    2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drop Head Coupe, VINSCA2D68096UH07049; License Plate No. “GOD”;72.
    2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, VIN WDD2120772A103834, LicensePlate No. “STONED”;73.
    2010 Mini Cooper S Coupe, VIN WMWZG32000TZ03651, License PlateNo. “V”;74.
    2010 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, VIN
    WDC1641772A608055, LicensePlate No. “GUILTY”;75.
    2007 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, VIN WDD2163792A025130, LicensePlate No. “KIMCOM”;76.
    2009 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, VIN WDC1641772A542449,LicensePlate No. “MAFIA”;77.
    2010 Toyota Vellfire, VIN 7AT0H65MX11041670, License Plate Nos.“WOW” or “7”;78.
    2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG, VIN WDB4632702X193395, LicensePlate Nos. “POLICE” or “GDS672”;79.
    2011 Toyota Hilux, VIN MR0FZ29G001599926, License PlateNo. “FSN455”;80.
    Harley Davidson Motorcycle, VIN 1HD1HPH3XBC803936, LicensePlate No. “36YED”;81.
    2010 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG, VIN WDD2163742A026653, LicensePlate No. “HACKER”;82.
    2005 Mercedes-Benz A170, VIN WDD1690322J184595, License PlateNo. “FUR252”;83.
    2005 Mercedes-Benz ML500, VIN WDC1641752A026107, License PlateNo. DFF816;84.
    Fiberglass sculpture, imported from the United Kingdom with EntryNo. 83023712;85.
    1957 Cadillac El Dorado, VIN 5770137596;86.
    2010 Sea-Doo GTX Jet Ski, VIN YDV03103E010;87.
    1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, VIN 59F115669;88.
    Von Dutch Kustom Motor Bike, VIN 1H9S14955BB451257;89.
    2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM, VIN WDB2094421T067269;90.
    2010 Mini Cooper S Coupe, VIN WMWZG32000TZ03648 LicensePlate No. “T”;7191.
    1989 Lamborghini LM002, VIN ZA9LU45AXKLA12158, License PlateNo. “FRP358”;92.
    2011 Mercedes-Benz ML63, VIN 4JGBB7HB0BA666219;
  • You thought your content was safe. You lost. You thought your content was secure. You lost. You thought your content couldn't be seen or decrypted by third parties. Odds are, you lost there too.

    I wish I had more sympathy, but "the cloud" still looks like a sucker's game pushed by government-corporations as a way to acquire, monitor and control digital content for economic and political purposes. Think anything else and you're just being a gullible fool. Sorry, but that's the real world you see in those broken links today.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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