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 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Nope
by unclefester on Tue 31st Jan 2012 07:54 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 Parent Score: 5

RE: Nope, but...
by skandalfo on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:44 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 Parent Score: 7

RE: Nope
by Alfman on Tue 31st Jan 2012 04:50 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: Nope
by darknexus on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:27 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Nope
by n0b0dy on Tue 31st Jan 2012 11:50 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 Parent Score: 3

RE: Nope
by Laurence on Tue 31st Jan 2012 08:49 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 Parent Score: 6

It's only property if a company owns it
by benali72 on Tue 31st Jan 2012 16:05 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Nope
by robojerk on Tue 31st Jan 2012 18:54 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 Parent Score: 3