Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MegaUpload users could see their files deleted as early as Feb. 2

File hosting and transfer site MegaUpload was taken down about two weeks ago because, the DoJ said, it was guilty of facilitating piracy. However, as was evidenced by laments on Twitter and other social media sites shortly afterwards, there were many end users who stored personal --- and not infringing --- files on the site, which they can no longer access.

Those files, which include, for some people, family photos and personal documents, could be gone by as early as Thursday, Feb. 2

Megaupload uses outside companies to store the data, for a fee. However, as Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken noted on Sunday, the government has frozen the company's money, which means those companies are not being paid.

A letter filed in the case on Friday, Jan. 27 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said that the storage companies Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc. may begin deleting data on Feb. 2.

Rothken said that at least 50 million MegaUpload users have data on those servers. He added that, in addition to customer data, the files stored on those servers are important for MegaUpload's defense.

You might think that the Justice Department would want the files kept as evidence in its case, as well, the DoJ noted in its earlier letter that it had copied some data from the servers, so it is possible the government has all the data it feels it needs. While the DoJ copied some files, it did not physically take the servers into its possession as evidence.

Rothken said that:

"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."

MegaUpload is based in Hong Kong. The DoJ said it had jurisdiction in the case because some MegaUpload's leased servers are in Virginia.

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