On May 5, I published an article about the only safe way to make backups at http://goo.gl/XtEYA. In that article, I mentioned the legal problems of online file storage service Megaupload. The company provided file storage services and had a great method of allowing one user to share files with others. The problem was that Megaupload had both customers who used the service legally as well as some customers who used it illegally. Some unscrupulous users found that Megaupload was a great way to share movies, music, and other files that were protected by copyright.
The owner of Megaupload protested that the company was doing everything legally even though admittedly a small percentage of Megaupload's customers were performing illegal file swapping on the service. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (an obvious pseudonym) compared his company to the telephone companies: the service was legal even if some customers found ways to use it for illegal purposes.
After repeated warnings, New Zealand police showed up in style at the mansion of flamboyant Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on January 20, swarming over the property and bringing along machine guns and two police helicopters. They cut their way through locks and into the home's "panic room," where Dotcom was hiding in apparent fear of a kidnapping or robbery. They seized 18 luxury vehicles. They seized NZ$11 million in cash from bank accounts. And they grabbed a whopping 150 terabytes of data from Dotcom's many digital devices. The police also powered off the servers.
Megaupload's many customers suddenly found they couldn't access their own files. The majority of customers apparently were doing everything legally but were still unable to access their own (legitimate) files.
The case quickly wound its way through the courts and New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann today ruled the police actions "totally illegal." She scathingly wrote that the New Zealand police used an "invalid" warrant and also wrote the subsequent search and seizure was illegal in her 56-page decision.
Megaupload should be back online shortly.
I do have one question: Kim Dotcom had 18 luxury vehicles? What did he do with all of them?
For information about how to avoid future shutdowns of your data, for legal or illegal reasons, I suggest you read my earlier article at http://goo.gl/XtEYA: The Only Safe Storage is L.O.C.K.S.S.
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