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Electronic Frontier Foundation The Courts Your Rights Online

EFF Files Brief To Allow Users Access To Their MegaUpload Files 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-your-back-ups dept.
Fluffeh writes "The EFF has filed a brief in Federal Court on behalf of Kyle Goodwin (and potentially millions of other users) so that he can access his legally sound backup files. 'Goodwin is a local high school sports reporter and the sole proprietor of the company OhioSportsNet, who stored his video footage on Megaupload.com as a backup to his video library on his hard drive. He had paid €79.99 (about $107) for a two-year premium membership. Just days before the government seized the site, Goodwin's hard drive crashed. The brief states that his lost videos include footage to make highlight reels for parents to send to their children's prospective colleges, and an unfinished full-length documentary about the Strongsville girls soccer team's season.' According to the EFF, authorities told Carpathia (the hosting company that MegaUpload was using to host their content to the tune of $9,000 a day) that after it was done examining the servers and had copied portions of the data, the hosting company could delete the files and re-purpose its servers. Carpathia noted in a statement last week that it would like to allow Megaupload users to recover their data, but has struggled to find a way to do so."
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EFF Files Brief To Allow Users Access To Their MegaUpload Files

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  • Apple and others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:34PM (#39543097)

    Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and every other company that has "cloud" type of businesses should be on this like white on rice with their own briefs and financial help to the EFF.

    Why?

    Because this shows one of the many reasons why the "cloud" is a shitty idea. And until problems like this are solved, the "cloud" is a no deal for me.

    • Re:Apple and others (Score:5, Informative)

      by PNutts (199112) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:06PM (#39543271)

      Well, if you choose to keep no backups of your data and store it all in one place and it's lost, I don't think you can condem an entire technology. And I don't see why other businesses with an entirely different service offering should help.

      From a link in FTA:
      In response, a Justice spokesperson cited the site's FAQ which covered the possibility that their files might one day be lost or inaccessible: "This is still an ongoing matter," the spokesperson told Ars. "It is important to note that Megaupload clearly warned users to keep copies of any files they uploaded. Megaupload.com expressly informed users through its Frequently Asked Questions ('FAQs') and its Terms of Service that users have no proprietary interest in any of the files on Megaupload’s servers, they assume the full risk of complete loss or unavailability of their data, and that Megaupload can terminate site operations without prior notice."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        except it wasn't megaupload who terminated site operations...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "It is important to note that Megaupload clearly warned users to keep copies of any files they uploaded.

        If have to keep your own copies, what's the point in paying for this service in the first place?!

        Again, the whole "cloud" concept is just worthless.

        And I don't see why other businesses with an entirely different service offering should help.

        Because it damages their reputations too. People will attribute the same failings to them - just like I do.

        Cloud computing == risky, not secure, and no substitute whatsoever for just getting your own back up system and the authorities can delete your data on a whim because someone else is uploading pirated stuff to the servers.

        • If have to keep your own copies, what's the point in paying for this service in the first place?!

          Again, the whole "cloud" concept is just worthless.

          Being able to share the files with others by giving out an URL?

          • by yacc143 (975862)

            I don't need a cloud service for that, my home box can serve this role too.

            • by cduffy (652)

              I don't need a cloud service for that, my home box can serve this role too.

              You don't, but not everyone is so lucky. If your home connection is sitting behind two layers of 3rd-party NAT, or subject to a low upload-rate cap, or simply unreliable, running your own public file server from home can be a bit trickier to pull off.

              It's also perfectly legit for folks to simply want the administrative overhead of keeping a public-facing service appropriately configured, up-to-date, patched and secure to be offloaded

        • by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Sunday April 01, 2012 @06:05PM (#39543717) Journal

          Because MegaUpload isn't a backup site. There ARE sites and services for backup purposes and their contracts DO include provisions for access and loss of data.

          Cloud isn't worthless, just over-hyped.

          • And Dropbox allows public file sharing and backup... so... is anything with any public facing share folder now file sharing, not backup?

            It's easy to talk about MegaUpload, but it was by far not unique and its offerings also come from legitimate services.

        • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:12PM (#39544193) Journal
          Exactly, it akin to nuking a safe harbour and burning down the port because Captain Jack Sparrow sailed in through the heads. Merchants are not going to sail billions of dollars woth of container ships into that kind of environment.
          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Cloud is subject to the exact same risk. The premise and proof is if you house data in the US your data is at risk of arbitrary destruction by the US government. Story cloud services based in the US are shit as a result of arbitrary legal destruction by US government agencies (a delightful combination of arrogance and stupidity).

            WARNING DO NOT USE US CLOUD SERVICES OR FACE ARBITRARY DESTRUCTION OF YOUR DATA.

            All caps, just to emphasize the risk, end of story. US government agencies have proven, actual h

            • There is no way I am going to store anything in the US, I need to move my .com domain out of the US too. Its clear that private cyberspace users have no reasonable legal rights. Its convenient for the government and big business but I wouldn't want to live in a backward hell hole like that.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:22PM (#39543401)
        But megaupload didn't chose to do that did they? A foreign government did it for them. Just imagine if some non-western country had done something like this to a site as big as megaupload... We've prolly already be bombing someone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > if you choose to keep no backups of your data and store it all in one place and it's lost,

        For this guy, Megaupload *was* the backup. The TOS you quoted shows he did not choose a good backup option, as there is little guarantee. But even if he had chosen a cloud company specifically in the backup business, he would never be able to discard this kind of legal risk. At least for cloud companies with servers in the US (unfortunately).

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, this. This is an example of the main and the backup failing at the same time for unrelated reasons and when they are in separate locations. I find it very hard to blame the guy.

      • by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:26PM (#39543441)
        What part of "...stored his video footage on Megaupload.com as a backup to his video library on his hard drive..." did you miss? Or is it that you define basic disaster recovery architecture, that stores files off-site in case of a local "disaster" (like a hard drive crash), as "all in one place"? The only thing that poor Kyle can be accused of is having the bad luck to lose his primary store before it could be backed up anew to someplace that RIAAs goon squad had yet to raid. Consider the scale of things, it's likely that there are others in the same boat.

        The real story here is the fact that the goon squad doesn't give a shit about the damage they've done to legitimate customers of Megaupload/Carpathia. We've seen this pattern over and over - law enforcement doing millions of dollars of damage to innocent bystanders (legitimate businesses) when they indiscriminately pull the plug on hardware that might host something illegal. At least they had the courtesy to not seize it permanently this time, though unless the EFF prevails, that's some fucking small consolation.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Justice is restorative. This guy's HDD died and Megaupload had a copy of his data. Big media companies came along and prevented him getting access to it. The law allows him to sue to restore things to the way they would have been if they had not taken that action which caused him measurable loss.

    • As cool as it is to hate Apple, iCloud is a backup/synchronization service. All your emails/contacts/songs/pictures/videos/documents/whatever are stored locally on each device; the "cloud" is only used to keep them in sync. It's basically Dropbox for Apps.

      So if iCloud got shut down tomorrow, you'd still have copies of everything and you'd still be able to sync your files the old fashioned way. And it's not likely to change anytime soon; Apple is a hardware company, after all, and they want you to fill up

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I hate to say it but I agree AC, this is why I tell my customers to use "defense in depth" so that if the cloud disappeared tomorrow they would lose nothing. Using a combo of USB HDDs, DVDs, and the cloud one can make your most important data practically destruction proof but this shows why the cloud by itself is simply useless. For the best defense in depth one should have a relative you swap USB HDDs with on a weekly or bi-monthly option and send the DVDs to a relative for safe keeping.

      I got to see how w

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:34PM (#39543099)

    OK so we're seeing stories about cloud being a failure. Fine. In the endless wheel of IT repetition, what old idea will come around again, to replace cloud as meaningless PR term of the year...

    I'd like to vote for "statistical mux". I have no idea why it would be useful, but it sounds cool, which is all thats really needed.

    I also liked "source route bridging" the last time around, so maybe we could try that... over wireless? Or add a i- as a prefix? i-source route bridging?

    Hmm another old IT idea that I liked was cheap computers that hook up to TVs and boot directly into basic in about one second. maybe with the raspberry pi?

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:35PM (#39543105)

    authorities told Carpathia (the hosting company that MegaUpload was using to host their content to the tune of $9,000 a day) that after it was done examining the servers and had copied portions of the data, the hosting company could delete the files and re-purpose its servers

    So after...
    illegally seizing the servers,
    illegally seizing the financial assets of a
    non-US citizen using a
    non-US financial service located in a
    non-US controlled area,
    the US government is now asking that
    all the evidence and data be destroyed,
    The company be buried in the US' endless appeal's process,
    the end-users who legally used the service are labeled as criminals,
    and the United States is once again proving to the world that it's financial networks, data networks, or any property located on, near, or in any way related to, itself is inherently untrustworthy for the purposes of conducting any form of commercial enterprise.

    That sound about right?

    • by folderol (1965326) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:50PM (#39543183) Homepage
      I'd say you're right on the button there. BTW what's that big black thing hovering above your house?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So, a cloud business should have their servers in Russia or China or somewhere that will tell the US Government to "fuck off"?

      • So, a cloud business should have their servers in Russia or China or somewhere that will tell the US Government to "fuck off"?

        Its probably reasonable to host mirrored servers in mutually hostile countries so that they won't both shut you down as a result of a complaint in a single country.

      • by million_monkeys (2480792) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @06:50PM (#39544055)

        So, a cloud business should have their servers in Russia or China or somewhere that will tell the US Government to "fuck off"?

        Kinda of sad how the same reason hosting is those countries is preferred for criminal and shady dealings is now a reason for legitimate businesses to keep servers their too.

    • by drolli (522659)

      No what they said is: do with the space what you want, we dont need the documents any more.

      If megaupload did not take precautionary measures, its megauploads problem.

      if you are interested in backup, how about using Amazon S3 or any other service which will definitely not be shut down?

      • by mspohr (589790) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:47PM (#39543599)

        What makes you think that Amazon S3 or any other service will "definitely not be shut down"?
        All the MPAA/RIAA and their government goon squad need is a certain level of paranoia that you are storing something that they don't like and "all your fella data here belong us".

        • by drolli (522659)

          Well maybe the fact that Amazon are taking great care to make clear who is responsible for which content and react in an appropriate manner?

      • by godglike (643670)
        What more precautionary measures could Megaupload have taken? They are a non-USA company, operating outside the USA, with executives living outside the USA. And even if they had a spare 25 petabytes of storage for co-location, somewhere other than outside the USA(???), the USA would have seized that as well.
      • by sjames (1099)

        Actually, since there is no finding of guilt in a court, they have no business crashing Megaupload in the first place. The investigators have a duty to maintain that data, preferably by paying Carpathia to keep it where it is until this can all be worked out.

        As we learned earlier, in fact there was a legal requirement for a court hearing BEFORE any seizure, but that never happened.

    • by Joe Snipe (224958)

      You bring up an interesting point. If the data itself has so little value as to be considered worthy of being destroyed, then how could it have enough value to prosecute over?

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:54PM (#39543209)
    "We're judging this company as guilty before giving it an opportunity to defend itself and before we even gather evidence. Please delete all their data after we pull out anythign incriminating so both legitimate users are effected and they can't use it to defend themselves."
    • by PNutts (199112)

      No, not at all. If you RTFAs you'll find the gub'ment is finished with their investigation and the server owners (Capathia and Cognet) are free to delete the data. However, they've agreed to not delete the data but now cannot come to an agreement with "interested parties" on how to allow users access to their data. It no longer has anything to do with the authorities other than Megaupload's assets were sized, so they can't pay to allow access. This is a money thing, not a law thing.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        All you just did is say the same thing as the GP said but in a different way.

      • This is a money thing, not a law thing.

        Oh, so its OK that the prosecution gets the data, but the defense doesn't because money is involved. Thanks for clearing that up.

      • by sjames (1099)

        There is a law thing here. The government has a duty to preserve all of that data and allow innocent 3rd parties access. Due process doesn't allow them to destroy a business and it's assets unless/until it or it's owner is found guilty in a court of law. That means THEY need to pay the bill for retainling the data.

    • Yeah, kinda like the Nazis :/ Hopefully Goodwin will have the law on his side on this one though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how many seconds regular users will have to wait when downloading their files for the last time

  • by nickmalthus (972450) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:31PM (#39543475)

    Collective Punishment is a lazy and reviled method of government action which defiles the very idea of Justice. There was a time in this country where our leaders fretted over government encroachment stating things like "It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer" and "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated". In the digital era it is inexcusable that the government cannot make a best effort to identify offending content and release the rest of the content back to their rightful property owners. This is just another instance where the government favors the interests of the financial elites over the interests of the average citizen.

    Just as America was a "Great Experiment" so is copyright law. The whole intent of it was to balance the incentives of content producers and consumers with the main goal of maximizing the progress of the Arts and Sciences. Today it has been perverted into an entitlement system where the government enforces perpetual royalties. In the information age where millions have higher educational skills the antiquated copyright laws only server to retard innovation. Even worse anyone caught in ambiguity like the person EFF is championing is now automatically presumed guilty. Fortunately this injustice is not lost on everyone. I feel EFF is the most effective non-profit organization I donate to and I plan to increase my monthly contribution.

    • by godglike (643670)
      Beautifully said sir. I applaud your erudite and insightful analysis of the situation, and pray that many will follow example of pecuniary support to a just cause.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It was probably copied from somewhere.

  • by countach (534280) on Monday April 02, 2012 @02:18AM (#39546375)

    I don't get how the government just shut them down with no warning. I mean if Ford or GM committed some crime, they would go on. They'd get a chance to defend themselves, and even if found guilty, they'd just have to modify their behavior if necessary, and they'd just keep going. How did megaupload just get shutdown instantly, no warning, no chance to defend itself, no chance to modify behavior?

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Unlike Ford and GM the Megaupload guys didn't shove truckloads of money up politicians' asses.

  • by lucidlyTwisted (2371896) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:18AM (#39547137)

    "The Cloud" is not a complete back-up solution, do not rely on it. It may well form park of your solution, but you really should have other copies on media you can control directly.

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