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Megaupload User Data Could Be Destroyed Soon 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the cloudy-skies dept.
New submitter advid.net writes "According to the Associated Press, user data from the recently-closed file-hosting site Megaupload could be destroyed as soon as Thursday. Apparently Megaupload paid another company to actually store the data. 'But Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken said Sunday that the government has frozen its money. A letter filed in the case Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said storage companies Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc. may begin deleting data Thursday. ... The letter said the government copied some data from the servers but did not physically take them. It said that now that it has executed its search warrants, it has no right to access the data. The servers are controlled by Carpathia and Cogent and issues about the future of the data must be resolved with them, prosecutors said." There's also been talk of a lawsuit against the FBI over users' lost files.
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Megaupload User Data Could Be Destroyed Soon

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  • by mseeger (40923) on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:42PM (#38869055)

    Archives for As if millions of MP3s cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced....

  • Now if only my old embarrassing you tube vids would disappear the same way!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:46PM (#38869111)

    Wouldn't that be destruction of evidence?

    Captcha: retrieve

    • by what2123 (1116571) on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:52PM (#38869189)
      They seized everything based on unlawful means. Why would they need evidence? The "Anti-Rights" has won this battle and the only way to ensure their victory is to erase every file that was legitimate.
    • by hey! (33014) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:04PM (#38869325) Homepage Journal

      The short answer is no. "They" (by which I assume you mean the US govt) cannot delete the data. What they *can* do is take steps which will almost certainly result in the data being deleted by the third parties hosting it.

      The result is something like an extrajudicial execution. They've ensured Megaupload will die, even if the company is exonerated in the courts.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Epic counter-lawsuit though if that happens.

        It's one of those cases where they "could" give the data back but won't.

        • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:40PM (#38871321)

          Counter-lawsuit? Against what?

          The government is the perfect example of 'not my department.' The government doesn't have to care what gets crushed under the wheels of 'justice'. The people who are supposed to care were the ones who pointed the government in that direction and said 'GO'.

          ie: the government has the excuse in the form of: The people told me to go do this, it's not my job to question, it's my job to do. They told me to do this by passing the laws that gave me the power to do this. I must assume that they factored in the costs and potential outcome when they granted this power in the first place.

          This is why your first worry shouldn't be 'Will this give the government the power to solve problem xyz' but 'How is it possible for this power to be abused? And when it is inevitably abused in that manner, is it worth the cost?"

    • by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:11PM (#38869411)

      Wouldn't that be destruction of evidence?

      Captcha: retrieve

      It is also destruction of exculpatory evidence. If Megaupload makes the claim [true or not] that the majority of the content was non-infringing, how will they be able to prove/disprove this? Or, the reverse argument as well.

      Imagine if this was done to YouTube. YouTube has at least one infringing clip, but it also has a lot of original content that would be lost.

      • It doesn't matter. The business, "Megaupload", is gone, the guys running it have spent time in jail. Even if the FBI drops the charges, Megaupload is screwed.
      • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:25PM (#38869567) Homepage

        Imagine if this was done to YouTube. YouTube has at least one infringing clip, but it also has a lot of original content that would be lost.

        Believe you me, if YouTube hadn't been bought by Google, this would have happened to them. The various Copyright Cartels would still love to do this to them, but can't because Google is too big.

      • by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:11PM (#38870051)

        It's kind of like the police busting into you apartment and finding a body. They remove the body, but don't look at anything else. Then arrest you and prevent you from paying your rent.

        As a result, your landlord throws everything out, cleans the apartment and re-rents it.

        The only problem with that is there could have been tracks that the real murderer left there, a suicide note or a confession written by someone else.

    • From what I understand the search warrant has already been served and completed. Once it's completed that's it, if they want more data they need another warrant against the 2 companies hosting the data (neither of which is Megaupload).

    • by JackDW (904211) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:16PM (#38870151) Homepage

      No. See the indictment [scribd.com]. Very interesting document. The real evidence against these guys is not on Megaupload at all. It is in the emails they sent to each other and to outsiders.

      The Feds' case hangs on the allegation that these guys formed a criminal conspiracy, i.e. that they knew that they were breaking laws and that they conspired to hide this because of the vast profitability of their operation. The evidence is all email records, bank statements, and Kim Dotcom's fleet of luxury cars.

  • Oh no!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:56PM (#38869227)

    not my porn, my precious porn!

    does rule 34 apply here? Is there porn involving porn being deleted?

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:57PM (#38869247) Homepage Journal

    Did the users upload to MU and delete their local copy? If not, they still have their data.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      They uploaded to MU for a backup and just lost their hard drives and would like to recover from that backup.

    • by Inda (580031)
      Maybe the user's friend, who's not me, uploaded something there, forgot about it for years, and now thinks it might be a good idea to delete it, but can't.

      The user's friend has an unsolvable problem and he's worried.

      It wasn't even a real chicken.
  • !Safe in Cloud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barondude (245739) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:00PM (#38869283)

    And this is why you should never trust anything you can't afford to lose to the cloud. You lose control and have no idea what is really going on with your data under the hood.

    • Re:!Safe in Cloud (Score:4, Insightful)

      by theNAM666 (179776) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:13PM (#38869433)

      Kinda like... trusting anything you can't afford to loose to a hard drive.

      Remember when IBM moved its production facilities from San Jose to Hungary? I heard they had a 60%+ return rate on those first batches of drives-- I lost two years of grad school research.

      Cloud= redundancy, man. Didn't you watch the Steve Jobs presentation at WDDC, when he said HE NEVER LOST ANYTHING? That's the idea.

      • by Pope (17780)

        If it was that important, why not have backups?

        • if you are storing your data in the cloud "backups" mean you use multiple companies. that way if one company is shutdown, then your data is still in the cloud elsewhere. view it as losing a disk from a raid array (yes i know raid isn't meant for backup) you need to start rebuilding the array before you lose the rest.

    • You betcha. I take all my important data and put store in in my old dell PC. Plugged right into the wall socket, stored on my one big drive, and put into a nice little box in the corner closed off so no one can see it.

      Lets face it. If you are going to use a cloud service it is because you don't have the resources to have Redundant servers hosted at multiple locations, with UPS power supplies, and RAID configuration, in a well climate controlled room.

      If you already have the infrastructure going to a cloud
    • . . .use steganography to embed the data in a compromising picture of yourself and then upload it to Facebook. Presto -- it will be there forever.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:00PM (#38869285) Homepage Journal

    Carpathia Hosting

    Well, choosing them was a titanic mistake.

  • How fitting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:02PM (#38869307) Journal
    If we are to have a 'war on piracy', I suppose it is only to be expected that we should soon enough have some of what some elegant coiner of dispassion euphemism though to refer to as "collateral damage"...

    Selfishly, I'm inclined to be pleased, in a way. As long as it is possible for people to think that it is 'just about the pirates' or 'the innocent have nothing to fear', acquiescence will be the order of the day. Wholesale and flagrant destruction of bystanders' property should provide a valuable example of how false that thinking is.
    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      Had no effect when the feds stormed in and took whole racks of equipment at a hosting providor, knocking legit sites off air as they scrambled into disaster recovery mode.
      Paraphrasing, "when they came for the data of the filesharers, noone siad a word because it did not affect them, then they came for the data of the political activists, and noone said a word as we were all of course loyal citizens. Now they have come for my data, and I have nowhere to go to get information or to protest.

    • by Caerdwyn (829058)

      The binary tree of liberty must occasionally be watered with the data of patriots.

      And tyrants.

  • Nuke 'em from orbit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:03PM (#38869309)
    The FBI is using the "Nuke 'em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure", offense.

    The article says 50,000,000 users, it doesn't say how many files each might have.

    If they keep any of them, there might be embarrassing disclosures like un-owned MP3's downloaded by congresspeople and their kids. There might be department of Justice employees with unlicensed software. Even White House staffers might have kinky files.

    It would take every FBI agent several years to comb through all that data. It's better for them to just destroy it all.
    • by Algae_94 (2017070)
      You bring up an interesting point, but the FBI is not deleting any data. They have frozen Megauploads assets, so they can't pay to keep the data hosted. Therefore the 3rd party hosting will delete the data. I assume the FBI has grabbed all the data they want to try and make their case, and left everything else to be thrown out.
  • down side of the cloud where your data end up in the hands contractors or sub contractors and so your data can be a risk if say the main contract does not pay it's subs or wants to change the terms of there deal.

  • This action will destroy the cloud storage/computing industry before it gets off the ground. Who will be able to trust their data to any cloud storage provider [used for disaster backup] that can be subject to such seizures/destruction?

    ---

    If you use a provider to archive old data to free up some space, how would you get it back if it's destroyed?

    So, bye bye, iCloud et. al. ...

  • Doesn't this mean that the FBI took down the wrong site... I mean the legislation is all about 'indiscriminate hosting' of copyrighted data. Doesn't that mean they should be taking down Carpathia Hosting?
  • Could this end up being the basis of "safe" cloud filesharing?

    Open account with Company A. Company A doesn't own servers, they outsource their servers to Company B. Company B has some storage, but outsources some of this to Companies C, D, and E (...and F, and G...)

    Due to fluctuating demand, costs, and performance modeling, Company B migrates data periodically between storage vendors, who in turn, migrate data between data centers.

    At any one point, the person with an account at Company A can access their

  • by undeadbill (2490070) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:46PM (#38869789)

    Megaupload is a Hong Kong based company. The only reason they were charged in the US was because they used servers for hosting in the US. This pretty much sends a message to anyone who might do business in the States that they are not welcome, and that justice is pretty much bought and sold by how much money and influence you have. This is not a good message to be sending out to businesses overseas, looking to invest here. Freezing a foreign company's assets worldwide over what is a domestic issue is going to give a lot of international entrepreneurs reasons to look elsewhere.

    Kim Dotcom did the smart thing- he made sure there was a time limit set on his user's data if someone bigger than his company came along and tried to forcibly take it. By the time someone shutting down his operations finally figured out where the real data was held, all of it is going to be deleted- unless they return his funds and let him continue to operate. Damned if they do shut him down, because now he and his company are a damaged party and the US takes a hit in the international markets, damned if they don't shut him down completely, because then the Feds look weak and ineffectual.

    Exculpatory evidence and discovery for the trial are irreparably damaged by the Prosecution, the Defendants can now sue in civil and international court for damages (whether they see them or not), and Kim Dotcom may even become a cause celebre. That is, if the US doesn't hold him indefinitely under the NDAA...

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:00PM (#38869941) Journal
    There goes the cloud industry.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:09PM (#38870035) Journal

    The A-team had stories like this all time, small nice family company being muscled out of business by big evil company.

    The US constitution provisions for protection of the individual are NOT as many think to get the guilty off but to protect the average innocent citizen from being bullied into submission.

    The principle is simple, if I want to stop you, I can have you arrested and your crops will rot on your farm, your will unable to supply your customers, you will run out of cash and bam, I can buy your farm cheap... I don't need to have you found guilty as long as I can keep you under arrest for long enough. There are plenty of variants on this, in corrupt countriest the way to get a bribe as a custom officer is to hold up the goods of a company for inspection until they either pay or go out of business for being unable to deliver.

    This is even done on a country scale. Romania did not like that The Netherlands is blocking Romania becoming part of the EU free labor traffic, they claim this is racist (Romania is one of the worsed human rights abusers in the EU with their treatment of gypsies) and so they blocked dutch product at the border trying to put pressure on the Dutch government. Didn't really work since it only re-inforced the view that Romania is not yet ready to fully join the EU.

    But the tactic itself remains, get the police to smash your opponents goods during a search and force them out of business.

    Megaupload itself is shady enough but then the content industry has many accusations against it as well, just that he who pays the piper determines who ends up in court or not. How many settlements has the content industry agreed to to avoid being found guilty in open court? Quite a few in the last couple of decades.

    There are lots of filesharing methods, the error Megaupload made was trying to go semi-legit... artists had publicly voiced their support for a new scheme Megaupload wanted to introduce... coincidence that the very next week they are put out of operation by the rent-a-cop FBI? Maybe and Saddam considering selling oil in Euro's just a bit before being removed from power had nothing to do with it... first Iraq war was over the conquering and subjegation of another nation and he was left in power unharmed. He considers undermining the dollar and BAM, he swings.

    And gosh, all the oil nations that consider dealing in euro's are on the danger list to... how amazing a coincidence.

    You can destroy someone in the courts without ever needing to find them guilty. But if history has shown us anything, their will be 10 megauploads to take this ones place and they will be harder to take down. And they will not bother trying to go legit or try to work with artists. They will just copy all and damn the rest. Want to download files right now and not deal with filetubes with endless vapor ware? Go russian. I tried to find some old ebooks, go west and it all leads to overpriced book sellers, go russian and you find entire libraries with no popups, no spam, no search bars, just simple downloads. Because nobody in Russia gives a fuck. If the FBI tried the same as they did in New Zealand their officers would come back in body bags and asking the former KGB to investigate would be very ironic indeed.

    They took down napster which led to the demise of cutemx on which anime was shared... and all that happened is that you now got anime torrent sites that are run so smoothly they release automatic updates and actually have an rating system telling if there is a better version out there for series 10-20 years old (torrents for new stuff are easy but finding a very old series with 20-30+ seeders and only leeching... that is class).

    It is like stomping ants, only these don't just come back in greater number, they come back stronger and fiercer... and if I am a typical person, their users come back a little bit more reluctant to buy from the RIAA/MPAA every again. It ain't just being cheap anymore, now it is a case of principle!

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:29PM (#38870329)
    Megaupload hasn't been proven guilty yet. If they are not allowed to pay their creditors to stop their users data being deleted it is effectively destroying the company beyond repair based on an opinion since there has been no trial yet.
  • by Old Wolf (56093) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @04:05AM (#38874959)

    Megaupload was the only known location of the videos accompanying http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/54/poker-beats-brags-variance/bbv-grossest-craziest-night-my-life-very-graphic-tl-mr-240866/ [twoplustwo.com]

    It would be a travesty if these were lost!

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