That high profile, open-and-shut international case the U.S. government has against Megaupload is starting to look like it might not be quite so open-and-shut after all. Today, New Zealand Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann found that the warrants used to raid Kim Dotcom's mansion were insufficient and invalid -- and she says that the Megaupload server data taken by the FBI was taken illegally.
The Carpathia hosting company has already sunk over half a million bucks into keeping the user data stored on Megaupload's 25,000 servers, and that tally's rising by another $9k a day. Now, the company's looking to offset that cost by either: (A) selling 25 petabytes of data back to Megaupload; (B) get the court to help foot the maintenance bill; or (C) receive court protection from civil claims if it has to wipe the data to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately for Megaupload users on the up-and-up, the government and MPAA are blowing a raspberry at all three options.
There's an old saying about throw stones from a glass house, which we imagine is just one of the many dangers of living in an ill-conceived all-glass abode. Hail, birds, robbers, and all kinds of dangers abound, but we digress. The reason we're bringing this up is because MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom claims that a bunch of high-ranking U.S. government officials are also members of the website that got him in hot water.
The demise of Megaupload has left a bit of a void in the file sharing community, and rival sites such as RapidShare are beginning to struggle with ways to combat the influx of questionable content. Last month representatives from RapidShare boldly announced to Arstechnicia that they were “not concerned” with the government crackdown on Megaupload, because file hosting is a legitimate business if operated properly. Either way it appears as though they have had to make a few policy changes as a result of their new found popularity, and these measures are clearly an attempt to drive away the un-wanted traffic and legal attention that comes along with it.
This isn’t the best time to be in charge of a file-sharing site, with authorities around the world — everywhere from the United States to Middle-earth (or New Zealand as it’s known more popularly) to Sweden — currently on a rampage against online file repositories brimming with unauthorized content. Ukrainian authorities are the latest to crackdown on online file sharing, having taken down popular file-sharing site Ex.ua a couple of days back. But that’s not where the story ends. You know the drill: hit the jump for more.
Let's face it, MegaUpload was just as much of a popular pirate hangout as The Pirate Bay (TPB), which isn't to say there weren't some upstanding netizens using the service for legitimate purposes, but we all know what really on went over there. Does that mean non-infringing users should suffer for the wrongs of the bunch who ruined MegaUpload for the few? Maybe (better research into where you store your files could have prevented potentially losing them when the feds beat down the virtual door), maybe not (they weren't doing anything illegal, after all), but regardless. there's at least one organization that has their back: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Ever since MegaUpload was hit with arrests and seizures last week, everyone has been wondering how the US government managed to get access to internal communications between the company’s founders. Most of the incriminating conversations cited in the indictment are Skype IMs that would have long been purged from Skype’s servers. According to Cnet, it has been confirmed that the FBI obtained a warrant to obtain the data, and that might have included using government-issued spyware.
After seizing MegaUpload and freezing its assets last week, U.S. District Attorney Neil MacBride wrote in a letter to the site's lawyers saying "hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012." That's bad news for people who were using the site for legitimate backup purposes, but a last minute stay of execution for all those digital bits is still possible.
The debate over the seizure of MegaUpload may intensify this week as the site's hosting companies, Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc., get ready to purge its data, according to an AP report. Federal prosecutors said in a letter that the data purge could take place as soon as Thursday. With MegaUpload's money frozen by the government, customers who were using the service for legitimate purposes could be screwed.