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Cloud Crime Data Storage Piracy Privacy

Megaupload User Data Could Be Destroyed Soon 260

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 Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:46PM (#38869111)

    Wouldn't that be destruction of evidence?

    Captcha: retrieve

  • Re:Suing the FBI? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:56PM (#38869239)
    not quite. Its like the FBI seizing all units of a storage facility where the storage facility itself is believed to be storing illegal materials on the premises. The case about them isn't about users storing illegal materials, its about them knowingly allowing it, hindering the ability for the rights holders to remove it and building their entire business based on those illegal materials.
  • How fitting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:02PM (#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.
  • Nuke 'em from orbit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:03PM (#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 Forever Wondering ( 2506940 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:11PM (#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.

  • by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:28PM (#38869601) Homepage

    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.

    More importantly, the business, "MegaBox" (one of the main reasons MegaUpload was targeted [techcrunch.com]) is also dead, meaning the first real challenge to the RIAA is stillborn.

    Just as planned, Mission accomplished, etc etc.

  • by undeadbill ( 2490070 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:46PM (#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 mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:57PM (#38869907)

    By unlawful you mean by lawful methods you disagree with.

    That is absolutely true, but isn't is strange how when the RIAA or other well funded trade group doesn't like something they line a few pockets and get it made illegal, but when the population doesn't like it there is nothing to be done?

  • by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:08PM (#38870029)

    But do other corporations get treated in the same way? When they are sued, do they get shut down before the verdict?

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:09PM (#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 @06:29PM (#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.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake