MegaUpload's storage providers could wipe user data on Thursday

By Lee Kaelin on January 30, 2012, 8:30 AM

The data of around 50 million MegaUpload users stored on servers from third party storage providers could be erased as early as Thursday, despite claims by the file sharing company’s lawyers that doing so would compromise their ability to defend themselves in court.

Access to MegaUpload has been blocked since US authorities arrested several employees of the company on January 19, including its founder Kim Dotcom, who all stand accused of massive online piracy as well as money laundering, in what some insiders call the biggest case of its kind ever brought before the courts.

Lawyers for MegaUpload argue that losing user data would reduce their ability to defend themselves against these charges, and will affect millions of users of the service who have innocently uploaded important files, such as family photos and personal documents.

"We're cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as Megaupload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done," said Ira Rothken, an attorney for MegaUpload.

MegaUpload employs storage companies Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications Group to store data uploaded by its users. Because the government has frozen the firm's assets it is unable to make good on its obligations with these companies in order to keep existing contracts running. Both companies say they will likely begin wiping data on Thursday, according to a letter filed with the court on Friday.

It has been confirmed that law enforcement personnel have copied some of the data, but never actually seized any of the servers used by the two storage companies that house MegaUpload's uploaded data. Given that the original search warrants have now been executed they have no legal right to access the remaining data.

Representatives of the US Attorney’s Office, as well as the two data storage companies have not answered requests for comments.

User Comments: 14

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hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

This is soooo fishy, and waaaay too early. Destroying evidence before there's even a trial? And you let two guys get out on bail? No way do I believe what is on those servers are just illegal movies and music.

p51d007 said:

Want to bet that any data that law enforcement has copied, is pirated data and not "the family photos"? How can they delete EVIDENCE before a trial?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think the only thing fishy about all this, is that the government raided megaupload the day after the sopa blackout... If anything, this seems like a blatant retaliatory strike against opposition to sopa/pipa/acta/etc.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

p51d007 said:

Want to bet that any data that law enforcement has copied, is pirated data and not "the family photos"? How can they delete EVIDENCE before a trial?

If it were evidence, big brother should already have it... I can't believe that the feds only "copied" information from the servers, instead of taking the whole server... Wouldn't that mean the feds are pirating evidence?

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

This is just the Government doing whatever the hell it wants! It's true, how can you delete the data when this is a criminal trial and that data contains the evidence unless your trying to cover something up.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I'm curious what role these storage companies play in all this this. Can they be held liable for anything? If not they still lost a big chunk of their business and are probably hurting.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Surely deleting any direct evidence before a trial is not allowed? I've watched CSI

Guest said:

How much money do they owe? If the rest of the data is 'fine' it's just megaupload has no money due to frozen funds, what if another company paid it? Or bought the data?

Guest said:

It's not the government that will be deleting anything. It's the third party companies whos contracts will be breached due to Megauploads assets being frozen. Pretty sure if the Justice Department has taken what it wants in regards to evidence and the warrants have been executed the third party companies can do what they'd like with their space.

Not to say that's the right thing to do but... such is government.

Guest said:

If someone that purchased a legal file from an online store uploads that file to a file sharing site like MegaUpload for backup purposes or easy access for him to that file from any device he wants whenever he wants, with what right do the site owners or FBI delete that file based on a copyright holders request since that file was legally purchased in the first place ?

Second there are dozens I mean dozens of free artists or individuals that create their own content music, videos, books or any other document that they produce and they like to share what they create with others by uploading those files on a file sharing site like MegaUpload was. The same applies here with what right do the site owners or FBI delete someone else's intellectual property art work, documents or files based on a 3rd party request which has no copyright on those files ?

Remember that whatever you create as a user you had the copyright on that content whether is a pictures you take on a vacation or a video you make, some ideas or thoughts you write in a document even a book or a song you write, poetry, technical or scientific data or discoveries you might make or any other content you produce you hold the copyright on that as a creator, and if you upload any of that on a file sharing site like MegaUpload was you could use those powerful copyright laws like DMCA, ACTA, SOPA or PIPA to fight back against those that deleted your copyrighted content whether they are the site owners, RIAA, MPAA or FBI..

Remember if you cannot fight against the law then fight with the law on your side. ;)

Tygerstrike said:

Its more like "Hey buddy you didnt pay your rent on your storage, you have to get it out" then anything else. The DoJ can put out an order that would make the storage company NOT erase any data. Even if Mega owes money. The storage company would have to go after Mega in a civil suit to collect any money owed to them. As for the criminal action against Mega.....It would be disruptive to the storage companies business for any law enforcment to remove their servers. Ten to one the DoJ or FBI is setting up its own "storage server" in order to preserve the chain of evidence. Kinda makes me feel bad if they do that tho. They will have EVERYONES info. Guess we might see some midnight raids on those ppl who were doing illegal file sharing of copywritted material. I Hope im wrong, but given how serious the govt. seems to be, I would expect at the least that MAJOR offenders might get jailtime or a fine.

Guest said:

The problem here is that the people who are now in the positions of Governing powers have an askwed perception of how people should be living and the even more distorted perception that they THE authority on how you should live and that everyone is obliged to comply. This is true when there was a set of simple laws to live by, however the Governing powers are delving deeper and deeper into the realm of micro-managing your life. They aren't satisfied with you following the basic laws, now they even want to dictate your every action. Many of them try to envision themselves to be like our forefathers. However, if any of them would have actually considered anything our forefathers said, they would have taken to heart Thomas Jefferson's statement, "..the Government is best which governs least". Reality shows us that they are doing the opposite though, to the point where they are deciding what you can or cannot put in your body, what you can or cannot think, who you can or cannot communicate with, what you can or cannot read, when you can be outside or when you can't be outside. Were China in U.S. skin.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

xclusiveitalian said:

This is just the Government doing whatever the hell it wants! It's true, how can you delete the data when this is a criminal trial and that data contains the evidence unless your trying to cover something up.

As usual. "Democracy" at it's finest...

Guest said:

i hope they AT LEAST give us 24 hours access...i'm mad cause i had alot of stuff of on MU that i didn't keep a 2nd backup off (-)smacks head into wall(-)

imo it's better than megaupload since peeje gives u DIRECT-download links

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