Following the surprise takedown of MegaUpload, the countless thousands who had been using MegaUpload’s cloudspace for perfectly legitimate purposes – -sending files across the globe, for instance — have been wondering what’s to become of their data. As it turns out, there’s a good chance it’s going to disappear. Forever.
The impending deletion isn’t some kind of cruel slap in the face by the U.S. government or anything; it’s a passive thing, not an active one. After having its assets frozen, MegaUpload has simply been unable to pay its bills, specifically those at Cogent Communications and Carpathia Hosting. If the U.S. government doesn’t step in to prevent it, everything stored in the MegaUpload cloud will be deleted this coming Thursday, as a matter of housekeeping.
MegaUpload’s lawyers have reached out, asking that access to MegaUpload files be reinstated, at least temporarily, so that those who have irreplaceable personal files in the cloud can get them out. “We of course would like to think the United States and Megaupload would both be united in trying to avoid such a consumer protection calamity whereby innocent consumers could permanently lose access to everything from word processing files to family photos and many other things that could never practically be considered infringing,” one of MegaUpload’s lawyers told TorrentFreak.
It presents a very interesting scenario. MegaUpload was shut down due to allegations of piracy, a crime wherein the original copyrighted material that is being duplicated remains intact. Now, in the fallout, non-copyright infringing data may actually be destroyed. It could hardly be more ironic.
The deletion of this data could also have a huge affect on the “Cloud” industry as a whole. I mean, if MegaUpload gets wiped, maybe all of your data really isn’t safe in the cloud. Of course, this has really been the case all along, but this would serve as a particularly harsh reminder to people who use cloud storage for files that aren’t backed up somewhere. Would this mass deletion spark a new enthusiasm for backing up, or a sudden wariness of “the Cloud”? Probably both, but hopefully it won’t come to that.
There have already been moves to sue the FBI over lost files. The issue is, however, that things have to move fast to make sure the data isn’t destroyed. Getting it back to the users is a less time-sensitive matter, but keeping it on life support is an urgent one. The destruction of so much non-infringing data would be an utterly disastrous amount of collateral damage considering the crime being prosecuted is noteworthy for not destroying, or even altering, anything. I trust that the powers-that-be will realize the deletion of all MegaUpload data would certainly not help their cause. The question is: Will they realize fast enough?
In the meantime, routinely backup your data to a drive that you can go over and touch, like, in meatspace. Someday, you’ll thank yourself for it.
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