As African authorities shut down a new file-sharing domain, a U.S. case regarding the site founder's prior site could have privacy and cloud data implications.
Kim Dotcom, a file-sharing "kingpin," recently had his new domain me.ga shut down by the Gabon government, according to Wired's Threat Level blog . This is only the latest in legal woes for Dotcom, who has been indicted on criminal copyright infringement allegations in the United States regarding actions of his prior site, Megaupload.
Dotcom is one of seven people who were indicted earlier this year in connection with Megaupload's activity. Five have been arrested, according to Threat Level. The case is now the subject of legal action by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
According to Threat Level:
The privacy and property rights of its 60 million users are also in jeopardy, as well as the privacy and property rights of anyone who stores data in the cloud, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing one of Megaupload’s users in a lawsuit against the government that could set a precedent for cloud users in general. A hearing on the issue in Virginia federal court is expected to be set any day.
The problem lies in the fact that there is currently no clear process for owners to retrieve property that federal prosecutors effectively seized when they shuttered the file-sharing and cyberlocker service last January over issues of alleged copyright infringement.
EFF attorney Julie Samuels argues that there must be a way for third party users to get their data back when a cloud service is shut down. She is quoted stating: "These are important property rights. If we don’t treat them as such, we’re doing third parties a disservice. These are new issues. More and more people are using cloud technology every day.”
The article states that Megaupload's hosting company was initially told by the government that it could delete the data. But the EFF filed papers and a judge held off on the company's ability to delete the third-party data.
A hearing on this case is expected soon, according to the article.
Kim Dotcom portrait from Abode of Chaos/flickr