Kim Dotcom: US government officials used Megaupload too

In January, US law enforcement officials shut down the Megaupload file sharing web site, claiming that the site was being used for uploading and downloading pirated content. The shutdown of the site also left the site's many millions of users unable to access the content they uploaded on their accounts, including many who uploaded legitimate content such as documents, photo galleries and more.

TorrentFreak.com reports that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his legal team have been working with the US Justice Department to allow Megaupload's users to access their content. In the course of their investigation, Dotcom claims:

Guess what – we found a large number of Mega accounts from US Government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate. I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files.

A few days after Megaupload's site was shut down, there was a threat that the content stored on the company's servers might be deleted. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the server files were saved from deletion.

One of the two server hosting companies that Megaupload used, Carpathia Hosting, announced in February it was teaming up with the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation to help some of MegaUpload's users retrieve their files. However, TorrentFreak.com reports those actions are currently on hold while MegaUpload's legal team continues its talks with the US government.

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offroadaaron said,
http://youtu.be/pF48PjCtW4k

He has such valid points!

Some of it sounds fine and some good arguments, but loads of it is nonsense which blurs his argument...

For example: if you are a company making money you can't stand behind the defence that you couldn't manage what you were doing on the basis too many files were being shared. It is your company, it is your problem. If I ran a company and didn't bother doing something in order to keep profits up and costs down... failing to maintain the integrity of the company (eg. health and safety compliance) the company shouldn't exist.

However: the idea he can't look at the files because they are private is interesting and more valid than the above argument, but it sounds like the Terms of Use have been fabricated to make this a problem. I may be mistaken but I believe many file sharing sites aren't as "private".

lt8480 said,

you can't stand behind the defence that you couldn't manage what you were doing.

yet gun makers have such a protection. Gun makers know what they do will be used for illegal activities. The worst illegal activities that you can possibly imagine. Yet they have no obligation to try to stop their cutomers from doing it. Rightfully so.

Since when the maker of a product is responsible for the act of its customers ??? Why is it different for internet products and services ?

Lot of apartements are used for drug dealing or other criminal activities. Everyone know this. Yet owners have no obligation to spy on their tenants.

imo the police should do its job. Catch the people who do illegal activities and send them to jail. It's not megaupload business to know what its cutomers do with the space.

lt8480 said,

Some of it sounds fine and some good arguments, but loads of it is nonsense which blurs his argument...

For example: if you are a company making money you can't stand behind the defence that you couldn't manage what you were doing on the basis too many files were being shared. It is your company, it is your problem. If I ran a company and didn't bother doing something in order to keep profits up and costs down... failing to maintain the integrity of the company (eg. health and safety compliance) the company shouldn't exist.

However: the idea he can't look at the files because they are private is interesting and more valid than the above argument, but it sounds like the Terms of Use have been fabricated to make this a problem. I may be mistaken but I believe many file sharing sites aren't as "private".

fabricated? like the DCMA? the post office? Traffic enforcement?

People mail drugs around the world on an daily/hourly basis... You are saying that EVERYONES mail should be allowed to be opened at the post office to double check its not drugs? Your grandma's christmas gift you mailed in August would only arrive the week before X-Mas, all battered and torn, as they thought you were shipping her a few cocaine bricks??

Seems a bit far-fetched for a few bad apples don't it? You **** off a few thousand and waste resources to bring a handful to justice. Back to MegaUpload - considering theres over 800 files shared a second, and only 15 million links were removed - and no previous legal action - something tells me either the public are HUGE piraters, or more logistically, there was a lot of legitimate, non-infringing stuff on the servers the studios didn't delete.

srbeen said,

People mail drugs around the world on an daily/hourly basis... You are saying that EVERYONES mail should be allowed to be opened at the post office to double check its not drugs? Your grandma's christmas gift you mailed in August would only arrive the week before X-Mas, all battered and torn, as they thought you were shipping her a few cocaine bricks??

You make it sound like someone has to sit there checking every file (or post item). To my understanding computers would be more than able to check all the files for illegal contents - however as MegaUpload basically grew off the back of illegal activity they probably had no intent of such a system.

It's very feasibly to make a 99.9% legit file sharing service simply by doing a contents check against copyrighted material. (im guessing providers would more than happily supply a catalogue of protected works for this effort). Even I could write a basic script to check the contents of a video or music file against a database of files. No human ever need know the contents nor inspect it. Sure there would be workarounds, but the fact a phone can tell you what song is being played in a noisy pub tells you how advanced this technology already is.

Once a check system is in place users simply won't try and upload illegal contents to that service any more.

On a side note in the UK and in Australia (not sure about the USA), international post is frequently searched for drugs and then checked if flagged - it's not that outrageous.

lt8480 said,

You make it sound like someone has to sit there checking every file (or post item). To my understanding computers would be more than able to check all the files for illegal contents - however as MegaUpload basically grew off the back of illegal activity they probably had no intent of such a system.

And why would a company implement a system to spy on its customers ?

It's not Megaupload business to play the police.

A file sharing system is always 100% legal and legit. It's like Canada Post or USPS. It let people exchange files. Canada Post doesn't not open mail to verify that the content is legal. Megaupload should not have to do it either. The activity some users do with those services to exchange files, letters or physical objects is what is illegal, not the services themselves.

Edited by LaP, Mar 14 2012, 1:34pm :

I would like to see how they will prove that U.S. "government officials" used MegaUpload. IP Addresses isn't a great way of proving use, if they use that metric in their defense. Also just the phrase "government officials" is pretty vague.

MattWeihl said,
I would like to see how they will prove that U.S. "government officials" used MegaUpload. IP Addresses isn't a great way of proving use, if they use that metric in their defense. Also just the phrase "government officials" is pretty vague.

IP addresses were enough in this case to seize a server, domain, and all associated assets.
IP addresses were enough in previous legal cases by the RIAA and MPAA to convict limewire criminals and throw the Maven-release group (for example) behind bars, and IP addresses are enough countries like Canada are trying to legalize anyone within law enforcement the warrant-less ability to search an IP for the owner, as they please, to pursue legal action...

government officials could be someone proxying through the gov't IP's, someone working in human resources, or employees who used the service to upload pictures of their friends and share... It don't mean government officials were partaking in the underground criminal activity the site was popular for, just that THEY used it. Officials seemed to paint everyone who used megaupload with the same brush.

Just because they used an illegal service for legal means don't mean they are a criminal, like the people who buy from the pizza joint who is exploiting foreigners for a better bottom line - ignorance is bliss..

So it seems major media corporations have successfully convinced most people that physical property and intellectual property are the same thing. "You wouldn't steal a purse, would you?" -.-

how was this not 100% legit service again? Maybe Im unsure what legit means.

Legit to me is a site that takes the file I 'upload' and provides it to others to 'download', as per their terms, for 90-days... So what if they focused their subscriptions on people who wanted to download the latest movie, their service WAS legit - how they ran it was not.

The pizza shop up the road may not be 'legit' (trafficking, under-the-table employees, tax evasion..) but they still make a damn good pizza.

srbeen said,
how was this not 100% legit service again? Maybe Im unsure what legit means.

Legit to me is a site that takes the file I 'upload' and provides it to others to 'download', as per their terms, for 90-days... So what if they focused their subscriptions on people who wanted to download the latest movie, their service WAS legit - how they ran it was not.

The pizza shop up the road may not be 'legit' (trafficking, under-the-table employees, tax evasion..) but they still make a damn good pizza.

It's a difficult distinction, whilst the serving of the file could be legit - in many cases it was not. If someone hands you something illegal you are not meant to "pass it on". The service was only at times legit, the company as a whole was certainly not.

To respond to your analogy... a company that operates tax evasion is definitely not legit... and whilst difficult/impossible for a customer to realise whether a pizza service is legit... the price, profits etc. are deduced from illegal means - therefore the price of the pizza is (most likely "too good to be true" and) the consequence of illegal practices. Therefore everything including the pizza is not legit.

To continue the analogy and to comment on the state of gettings files back if someone ordered a Pizza from such a place, and whilst waiting for the pizza the police turned up an shut the take-away down - no-one would demand their pizza or money back, or have placed the possibility of starvation in the hands of the dodgy pizza shop. Whilst it is disappointing, its the reality of being involved with shady companies.

srbeen said,
how was this not 100% legit service again? Maybe Im unsure what legit means.

Legit to me is a site that takes the file I 'upload' and provides it to others to 'download', as per their terms, for 90-days... So what if they focused their subscriptions on people who wanted to download the latest movie, their service WAS legit - how they ran it was not.

The pizza shop up the road may not be 'legit' (trafficking, under-the-table employees, tax evasion..) but they still make a damn good pizza.

I consider 100% legit, as in a site that doesn't let users upload illegal content and share the content with other users, running the risk the site could be taking down thus putting my data at risk.

warwagon said,

I consider 100% legit, as in a site that doesn't let users upload illegal content and share the content with other users, running the risk the site could be taking down thus putting my data at risk.


Megaupload didn't, "let," people pirate on their site, but do you really think that would've stopped some people?

MASTER260 said,

Megaupload didn't, "let," people pirate on their site, but do you really think that would've stopped some people?

Turning a blind eye and the system whilst not designed to... did encourage the activity. Sure it wouldn't have stopped *some* people doing it - but the site probably wouldn't have been taken down.

srbeen said,
how was this not 100% legit service again? Maybe Im unsure what legit means.

Legit to me is a site that takes the file I 'upload' and provides it to others to 'download', as per their terms, for 90-days... So what if they focused their subscriptions on people who wanted to download the latest movie, their service WAS legit - how they ran it was not.

The pizza shop up the road may not be 'legit' (trafficking, under-the-table employees, tax evasion..) but they still make a damn good pizza.

well that would be like one of the gas stations around here. they sell bongs under the table. Go there all the time to buy gas. What bongs anyone? no? Burger King is next door. Same building

warwagon said,
Why are people using this services to backup their data when there are 100% legit services like carbonite?

Because you & the U.S. government are wrong about Megaupload being illegitimate. Megaupload was created for stuff like backing up your plain old files, not for the few people who happened to pirate there.

warwagon said,
Why are people using this services to backup their data when there are 100% legit services like carbonite?

What makes Megaupload illegitimate?

Majesticmerc said,

What makes Megaupload illegitimate?

if they did not actively try to stop illegal activity on the site then that is illegal.. Kind of like if I had a restaurant that had drug dealers trading illegal drugs and I promoted it because it meant more business at my restaurant.. Having a Restaurant is not illegal but if you allow illegal things to happen on your property with no effort of getting rid of them then you are breaking the law.. Youtube would be illegal if they didnt actively take down copyrighted content .. But they follow the law and take it down.

warwagon said,
Why are people using this services to backup their data when there are 100% legit services like carbonite?

Cause carbonite is really 100% legitimate.... righht

warwagon said,
Why are people using this services to backup their data when there are 100% legit services like carbonite?

thats a silly question. under what they used in January, Carbonite and anything in the cloud is illegal. Which of course is total BS. Basically their right food didn't know where there left foot was going. ie Chris Dodd had some part of the government so convinced that what MU was doing was illegal they forgot about the law. There's a reason you don't shut down sites right away. This is why..

Lachlan said,

if they did not actively try to stop illegal activity on the site then that is illegal.. Kind of like if I had a restaurant that had drug dealers trading illegal drugs and I promoted it because it meant more business at my restaurant.. Having a Restaurant is not illegal but if you allow illegal things to happen on your property with no effort of getting rid of them then you are breaking the law.. YouTube would be illegal if they didn't actively take down copyrighted content .. But they follow the law and take it down.


The only way they would know that the files are illegal is to inspect them which means they are probably breaking a privacy law or something like that. Unless they can add that to their terms of service and get away with inspecting files. Not to mention the overhead of searching and monitoring files.

YouTube is easier because people are posting videos for the whole world. I am not even sure how YouTube inspects the content. If a copyright holder complains to YouTube then they pull the file. Even then I it is a tricky situation because how do they really know the person complaining holds the copyright.

How would a copyright holder know that someone was putting their content on Megaupload? I guess if the file was public and they downloaded it. The problem is that the laws have not been written for some things yet. And when the law is written it is still not perfect and the rules can change in court.

Basically it is all about money. Who ever has the most money will more likely win. I mean come one. What else are laws written for? Safety? Even then the laws are manipulated by those with money.

All this does not really matter. From what I have read Megaupload was paying people who did have illegal content on their site. That is what bit them in the butt. I think the site was like any other cloud service. The only difference is that there was too much piracy on their site. I am sure other sites have the same issues too. But come on. Everyone knows there site is full of pirated content.

Lachlan said,
if they did not actively try to stop illegal activity on the site then that is illegal..

Not sure about MegaUpload, but MegaVideo was constantly removing videos that infringed on copyright, to the point that online streamers began using everything but megavideo to get links to shows.

Lachlan said,

if they did not actively try to stop illegal activity on the site then that is illegal.. Kind of like if I had a restaurant that had drug dealers trading illegal drugs and I promoted it because it meant more business at my restaurant.. Having a Restaurant is not illegal but if you allow illegal things to happen on your property with no effort of getting rid of them then you are breaking the law.. Youtube would be illegal if they didnt actively take down copyrighted content .. But they follow the law and take it down.

They removed illegal files which were reported to them, that's the best any online storage/sharing solution can do.

Lachlan said,

if they did not actively try to stop illegal activity on the site then that is illegal.. Kind of like if I had a restaurant that had drug dealers trading illegal drugs and I promoted it because it meant more business at my restaurant.. Having a Restaurant is not illegal but if you allow illegal things to happen on your property with no effort of getting rid of them then you are breaking the law.. Youtube would be illegal if they didnt actively take down copyrighted content .. But they follow the law and take it down.

They removed illegal files which were reported to them, that's the best any online storage/sharing solution can do.

U.S. Congress members could insider trade legally also. There is severe corruption in Washington D.C...and as a American this ****es me off to no end.

revparadigm said,
U.S. Congress members could insider trade legally also. There is severe corruption in Washington D.C...and as a American this ****es me off to no end.

Well what the hell are you doing making a comment on Neowin???

If you know or have proof some such thing is true, then do something about it!

I can't stand this, "ohh look at me and how much I know" style of commenting.