Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 31st Jan 2012 03:49 UTC
Legal According to MSNBC, up to 50 million Megaupload users could lose their data by Thursday. They haven't been able to access their data since surprise US government raids early this month. None of these users has been charged with any crime. This continues the US trend towards expanded use of forfeiture laws to arbitrarily seize and/or destroy private property without due process. The US Constitution's 5th Amendment states "No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty or property without due process or law; nor shall private property be taken... without just compensation." The situation raises questions both about the reliability of cloud services for data storage and the end of due process in the United States.
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Nope
by AdamW on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:26 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

Data is not property. A hard disk is property. Store your data on someone else's hard disk, you can't expect to assert property rights over it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nope
by Morgan on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:38 UTC in reply to "Nope"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Data most certainly is property, just not physical property. For example: I keep PDF files of most of my financial transactions, as I've learned in the past how fragile and delicate paper records can be. Say I upload my financial documents to box.net, and three weeks later the government seizes that domain. I just lost access to my papers, as in "...secure in papers, effects..." and am likely to lose them forever.

From a different perspective: When our computer forensics team has to process digital evidence, they are required to make every effort to preserve the original data intact so it may be returned to the suspect or victim to comply with constitutional rights. This is at the local law enforcement level, of course, not the federal government. How's that for irony?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Nope
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 07:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Nope"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

In Australia law enforcement agencies are not even allowed to directly examine data on storage media. They must first clone the disk and then examine the cloned data.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Nope
by Morgan on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nope"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

It's the same here, at least in my jurisdiction, and from what I understand it's common practice across the country. Not just to preserve it for the original owner of course, but also so there is little chance the original is affected by the examination.

I've observed a forensic data examination in my agency, and they use a non-networked PC booted from a Knoppix-based data cloning suite to copy the source to the hard drive used as evidence. It comes from a vendor (I'd assume for accountability purposes) but it's basically the same thing you see on half a dozen freely available recovery distros.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Nope
by Browser Insider on Tue 31st Jan 2012 17:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nope"
Browser Insider Member since:
2009-06-16

If they delete all the pr0n movies I had bookmarked to download, I'll eat my hat.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nope, but...
by skandalfo on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:44 UTC in reply to "Nope"
skandalfo Member since:
2010-04-07

Data is not property. A hard disk is property. Store your data on someone else's hard disk, you can't expect to assert property rights over it.


But...

wasn't the legal action that's closing MegaUpload intended to protect the data of big media companies?

The data is intellectual property, then, but only if you have your pockets full of money, isn't it? Did I get the official truth right?

Edited 2012-01-31 04:45 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Nope
by Alfman on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:50 UTC in reply to "Nope"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

AdamW,

"Data is not property. A hard disk is property. Store your data on someone else's hard disk, you can't expect to assert property rights over it."

I don't know the details, but do you know for a fact that MegaUpload's servers weren't taken? I still think there could be a legitimate constitutional concern if they were. After all, they are private property (in the real physical sense). And the owners may have very well had contractual obligations in place with customers to hold their data. Who's responsible when the government come around to haul the equipment away?

I don't know the legal answer, but I think it would set a terrible precedent if the government could take over service provider's equipment without regards to their user rights.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nope
by darknexus on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:27 UTC in reply to "Nope"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Data most certainly is property, however, as with any other property (physical or otherwise) you should exercise care in where you store it. If you store any of your property in a way over which you have no control, you can't expect to be able to complain if something happens to it. You wouldn't keep your only precious airloom at a friend's house, so why would you keep the only copy of your data on a place like Megaupload, or any other cloud for that matter? Always retain backups of your own data that are under your soul control. The cloud is an excellent convenience, but should by no means be treated as a one-stop secure storage area for all of your files. Use it by all means to make your life easier, but always remember that you are not in control of that storage and are subject to the whims of third parties and so are any files you may elect to store there.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nope
by n0b0dy on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Nope"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

If you store any of your property in a way over which you have no control, you can't expect to be able to complain if something happens to it. ... always remember that you are not in control of that storage and are subject to the whims of third parties and so are any files you may elect to store there.

Same goes for the Music and Movie industry with their media being sold and broadcast everywhere. Double standard?

Edited 2012-01-31 11:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nope
by Laurence on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:49 UTC in reply to "Nope"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Data is not property. A hard disk is property. Store your data on someone else's hard disk, you can't expect to assert property rights over it.


I see you're point, however these hard disks were seized because of users "stealing" MPAA / RIAA data.

This is the absurd thing about US law - it's one rule for the corporations and another rule for everyone else.

Reply Score: 6

It's only property if a company owns it
by benali72 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Nope"
benali72 Member since:
2008-05-03

>>>>>This is the absurd thing about US law - it's one rule for the corporations and another rule for everyone else.

You've really hit the nail on the head. If you're a US corporation, we'll pass SOPA or PIPA or ACTA to protect your digital data, whereas if you're an individual, you lose your data without due process.

Your one sentence really clarifies this whole issue.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nope
by robojerk on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:54 UTC in reply to "Nope"
robojerk Member since:
2006-01-10

Facebook, Google all all governments, would argue that data is in fact property, and all the data they've collected on you they own.

Reply Score: 3

Constitution
by Lorin on Tue 31st Jan 2012 05:37 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Under our Constitution and according to Supreme Court rulings, any official who violates their oath of office and acts outside the Constitution is in rebellion. If the Government as a whole acts outside the Constitution, it (Government) no longer exists.

Reply Score: 0

I'm confused
by rhavyn on Tue 31st Jan 2012 05:52 UTC
rhavyn
Member since:
2005-07-06

The article says:

The letter said the government copied some data from the servers but did not physically take them. It said that now that it has executed its search warrants, it has no right to access the data. The servers are controlled by Carpathia and Cogent and issues about the future of the data must be resolved with them, prosecutors said.


So, since the government hasn't seized anything, and any data deletion or loss would be caused a private company, what does this have to do with using forfeiture laws? I mean, both articles point out some seriously bad things associate with this case, but neither seems to provide even the slightest bit of backing for what is being claimed in this article.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm confused
by benali72 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 16:07 UTC in reply to "I'm confused"
benali72 Member since:
2008-05-03

The US government used the forfeiture laws to close down the site and deprive persons of their data without due process. If they hadn't used the forfeiture laws they couldn't have closed down the site without an extended period of going through the court system.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I'm confused
by rhavyn on Tue 31st Jan 2012 17:12 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm confused"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

The US government used the forfeiture laws to close down the site and deprive persons of their data without due process.


First, the US government had a warrant which means due process was followed. Second, no one has pointed at any use of forfeiture laws being used anywhere in this case, it's all standard document seizure stuff. Unfortunately, if you are dealing with an organization doing something illegal (knowingly or otherwise) it is possible that you will be inconvenienced while an investigation is being performed.

To take it to the real world, if a warrant is served on your accountant there is a good chance his operation will be shut down while documents are being retrieved. So, during that period, you lose access to your data. At no point was anything of yours seized and forfeiture laws were not used, it just is an inconvenience (and, if it's duing tax time, it could be a huge inconvenience, don't get me wrong). The same is true here, the government didn't seize anything, they don't have possession of the server's, private companies do. Whether the data is made available to user's again is out of the US government's hands.

There is much to be upset about in investigations like this, but unless someone comes up with something that shows that the government actually seized something owned by individuals not involved with this lawsuit the the articles characterization is still completely inaccurate.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 07:35 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I assume most users copied files to the site, not moved them to it.

Who would upload important stuff to something called megaupload.com and then delete any local copies?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 07:57 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Who would upload important stuff to something called megaupload.com and then delete any local copies?



Someone who wanted to do a clean install of their OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

In that case I definitely wouldn't rely solely on offsite network storage. A known good local copy is an absolute must if you're reinstalling from scratch; any offsite backup should be as reassurance for that local copy and not the only means of recovery. To do otherwise is asking for trouble.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 09:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Unfortunately modern backups involve far more than just copying some text files to a floppy. Most people don't have spare 2TB exterrnal hard drive and enough patience to do a proper backup.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Tue 31st Jan 2012 10:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You're really reaching for this argument. Two terabytes of online storage is prohibitively expensive especially compared to the price of a decent external 2TB drive. Even with the recent price hike for spinning drives, you can still net a good 2TB unit for under $100 if you know where to look. Compare that to several hundred dollars per month for equivalent online storage.

Then there's the speed issue. You mentioned a lack of patience for onsite backups. I'm sorry but I'd much rather spend a few hours babysitting a large transfer over 400Mbps or faster USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt than up to a week of 10Mbps upload speeds from Comcast. Even if you're lucky enough to have a 100Mbps upload, once again you are paying far too much for it and you can't be sure that the cloud storage you are paying hundreds for can sustain that on their side.

Bottom line: Do five minutes of research before making ludicrous claims about what "most people" can do.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

At no stage did I say that online storage is cheap or fast. I merely stated that doing a backup these days is a huge PITA compared with the past - 25 years ago it took me less than five minutes and used one floppy disk.

However there is absolutely no reason why routine online backups of large data sets won't be viable in a few years. Australia is installing FTTH to about 95% of households over the next decade and storage by then will probably only cost $1-2/TB. In terms of convenience file lockers beat lugging around hard drives.

I think you need to spend a few days away from IT Land if you think that a) most people have a 2TB external Firewire hard drive lying around and b) know how to do a backup.

Edited 2012-01-31 11:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:35 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Okay wait a minute, I think we have our wires crossed here. You were the one who originally made the case for online-only backups as a solution to an OS reinstall. I refuted that with my opinion that local backup is much more appropriate, and you responded with a generalization about how "most people" can't or don't want to back up locally, with the inference that online backup is somehow easier or cheaper (said inference based upon your earlier case for online-only backups before OS reinstallation in this very thread). If I inferred incorrectly and you are actually having two almost completely unrelated conversations in this thread, I apologize.

Anyway, I agree that in a few years, assuming the impending global economic collapse is avoided, we first worlders will indeed have 100Mbps or faster connections to the backbone, with the almost guaranteed drop in cost of online storage to go with it. But until that happens, I maintain that there is no way in hell online storage can trump local; it can only serve as a weak safety net, especially given the legal issues that are the original subject of this discussion.

Regarding your last comment, you would be surprised at how many average families I've done computer work for have a 1 or 2 TB drive laying around collecting dust, with no idea how to even plug in the damned thing. Best Buy sales geeks told them they would need it (along with that overpriced copy of Acronis backup software) when they bought their new HP, but offered nothing in the way of education. And that is why I have a hard time stepping away from IT Land. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 13:31 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I merely replied to a comment about a possible scenario where a person would upload their files and and delete the local copy. I never claimed that it was a realistic situation or a practical solution.

However I can think of a number of situations where a user would back up the data to an online service and delete the local copy. An obvious case is wanting to take your data into or out of a foreign country without being detected. In some cases it is too risky to even smuggle a microSD card. [Mining giant BHP Billiton runs it's Chinese operations from Singapore and doesn't even allow it's staff to take a phone or laptop to China because of industrial espionage.]

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's much easier to buy a 2 TB external drive than to sign up at megaupload.com, upload your personal stuff, do a clean OS install, move everything back. A lot of users aren't very clever, so I am surprised a lot of users have NAS devices and external drives and use these to make backups of badly taken holiday shots.

Besides, what are the chances of that happing just as the FBI shut it all down?

I would guess an average of 99.99% of the files on that site were media files and warez.

It reminds my of Kazaa, which at one time was promoted as a way for people living under an oppressing regime to share their files with the rest of the world. We all know it was just a way of downloading MP3 files.

While I don't agree with shutting down megaupload, I do think it was used and intended to share copyrighted material. They shouldn't claim they are just the medium which offers a service to share files and it's the users responsibility wether they share legal/illegal files.

The telephone system and high ways were build and intended of legal use and are mostly used as such. Megaupload was build and intended for illegal use and mostly used as such.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The telephone system and high ways were build and intended of legal use and are mostly used as such. Megaupload was build and intended for illegal use and mostly used as such.

Criminals were amongst the earliest large scale adopters of telephones. Phones allowed them to warn colleagues of police raids, to organise crimes and run large-scale betting operations.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 13:48 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

How do you think the Climategate emails and Wikileaks documents were distributed? I'll give you a hint - it wasn't pigeons or newspapers. It was torrents and file lockers.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by Lennie on Tue 31st Jan 2012 15:32 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I don't know. 99.99% is a lot.

MegaUpload was paying US $1 million per month just for bandwidth.

I'm certain that isn't paid from just advertisements, so they probably had a lot of paying accounts.

Even if I only had a legal copy of my CD (or bought mp3 files online), I can upload it to that site.

As long as I don't share it with others, there is nothing the FBI or anyone can do about it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by DrillSgt on Tue 31st Jan 2012 15:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Unfortunately modern backups involve far more than just copying some text files to a floppy. Most people don't have spare 2TB exterrnal hard drive and enough patience to do a proper backup.


People would not be able to backup that much data to the cloud anyway. Not only is the time required well beyond what anyone would wait for, which would take weeks, but also the monthly bandwidth alotments by some ISP's. For example, Comcast customers are limited to a total of 250GB per month transfer, or lose internet access for a minimum of 6 months. That limitation alone says the cloud is not the place to store a backup of your machine, let alone the privacy issues involved.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

If someone would do that I would post a WTF comment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by bouhko on Tue 31st Jan 2012 10:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
bouhko Member since:
2010-06-24

Lol, you made my day :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Neolander on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Oh, come on ! This is The Cloud, man ! This stuff is the future ! It's a revolution in our lifestyle ! Everyone should store their data online, and let professionals take care of their data better than they can ! Who uses local storage nowadays ?

*gives a bit of what he's smoking to MOS6510 to help him see the light*

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

There was a mayor power outage yesterday and the company where I work was located in the affected area. Well, the source of the problem was around the corner, literary.

Dependance on electricity and the Internet became very apparent during that period.

I do Dropbox stuff, but I always want a local copy!

(to go to the toilet during a power outage, just bring your mobile phones with you, their screens can provide enough light to do your thing)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by Neolander on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Just out of curiosity, how long did it last ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

At our company nearly 2 hours, but other areas took longer.

Our sheds and 2 remote locations had power back half an hour before our main building.

But before power was restored everybody already went home, leaving me in a dark dead building, wheeeee!

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by Neolander on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Wasn't the lack of heating problematic ? This stuff tends to need electricity to work...

(Was just thinking that computers themselves could have worked for 2 hours, although without Internet, if they had a good battery/UPS to back them)

Edited 2012-01-31 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

They temperature did drop, but not by much despite is being very cold outside.

The very funny thing is I had ordered 2 new UPS units, because the one we had was a single point of failure and I suspected it wouldn't last long, which it didn't (less than 10 minutes).

To make room for the 2 new units I had to move 2 servers upwards in the rack. While doing this I managed to cause 2 power outages, causing the main switches to go off-line. It's not easy to fiddle around with your limbs while surrounded by a whole bunch of wires. A little nudge can break the power connection even though to the eyes it seems the cable is still connected.

So when the really big power outage arrived all eyes were on me and for a moment I myself thought I had done something. Imagine how happy I was when thousands of people didn't have electricity and not just us.

The traffic lights stopped working too and there we no accidents. Makes you wonder what use they have.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Tue 7th Feb 2012 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The traffic lights stopped working too and there we no accidents. Makes you wonder what use they have.

No accidents ...and most likely much slower flow of traffic (plus easier creation of jams if a bit heavy traffic)

But seriously, Netherlands? You're in absolute top when it comes to road safety ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_d... ) - it's not a place by which you can ascertain average expected driver behavior.
Generally, it's a place doing things very, very right when it comes to conditions on the road - by default, better continue doing it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Tue 7th Feb 2012 23:24 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Wasn't the lack of heating problematic ? This stuff tends to need electricity to work...

I would think / hope that an average building has enough thermal inertia (which would imply decent isolation, overall "energy efficiency" & "green") so as to few hour long power outages aren't very problematic, temperature-wise (especially since forced ventilation - hopefully with heat exchanger, nominally - also isn't working then)

"Without internet" is not a given BTW. A laptop plus kept-in-the-drawer-normally-not-used (in preference to router) USB ADSL modem always did the trick here, few times so far - apparently the phone network tends to work perfectly in local (usually few blocks) power outages.
Of course a company & its larger network would have to prepare for that...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Tue 31st Jan 2012 17:23 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

About the reliability of cloud services for data storage I have always had plenty of doubts.
And, unless you want to remotely share your data with others, why do it? I can easily use my 1TB external hard drive instead, quite easy to carry around.

Reply Score: 3