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

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 in reply to "I'm confused"
benali72 Member since:

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 3