US Government: All your cloud data are belong to us

The folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting hard to help Megaupload users salvage their precious data since Uncle Sam crashed the party back in January, and even though Kim Dotcom is gearing up his new project, the fight is far from over.  Unfortunately, the last couple of days have brought some disturbing developments for anyone who uses cloud storage.

On Tuesday, the EFF filed a brief on behalf of Kyle Goodwin (the only person so far that’s willing to go to court over their Megaupload data), outlining a process for Megaupload users and anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the same situation in the future to retrieve their data.  That’s all well and good, but the US Government responded with their own brief outlining an alternate process. The only problem is that their process is so convoluted that it basically cuts off everyone from their data.

EFF attorney Julie Samuels told Wired that the government’s process, which consists of a long, drawn out series of court appearances and witness testimonies, is “almost an insurmountable hurdle for any individual or small business.” But we haven’t even gotten to the bad part yet.

The most troubling part of the whole mess is that the government has sifted through Goodwin’s files, looking for any excuse it can find to hold on to his data. At the same time, their brief questions “the cost and technical feasibility of finding a single user’s data on [Megaupload host] Carpathia[‘s] servers.” We’re not exactly sure how that works. How, you ask, does the government go about searching through someone’s private data when that person isn’t even the subject of a criminal investigation? It’s simple, really – the data doesn’t belong to that person at all.

Basically, they’re saying that the instant someone uploads their data to the cloud, they lose any rights they have to that data. That’s pretty scary stuff, especially when you consider the level of cloud integration in modern operating systems. And if you think you’re safe using SkyDrive, iCloud, or Google Drive, think twice – the government is taking this approach to all cloud data, not just Megaupload.

Cloud storage offers some amazing benefits to users, but at the same time it’s pretty clear that the US Government has absolutely no interest in respecting, let alone protecting, users’ data.  Actually, it looks like they’re pretty happy to exploit it for everything it’s worth. Scary, huh?

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation | Wired

Security Cameras Image by Shutterstock

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You have medical companies and insurance companies that have HIPPA information on their cloud storage.

Guess what's going to happen when Obamacare is implemented.

I don't see why this comes as a shock to anyone. Anything you put online has never been yours, it's in the public domain.

Raa said,
I don't see why this comes as a shock to anyone. Anything you put online has never been yours, it's in the public domain.

Cloud storage is different. Cloud storage is private, essentially a hard drive in the sky, and each 'partition,' or however users are distinguished, should be treated just like a physical hard drive.

....and this is exactly why I firmly believe in the home server based approach to cloud computing. Host your own cloud from your home. Its not that hard to do, and the benefit is nobody can contest the ownership of the data on your own cloud (unless you stole it of course..

And this is exactly why I will never sign my critical data over to a cloud service. My data belongs to me, not anybody else. At least with physical ownership I can destroy my hard disks if I don't want my data being viewed by unfriendly eyes.

Javik said,
And this is exactly why I will never sign my critical data over to a cloud service. My data belongs to me, not anybody else. At least with physical ownership I can destroy my hard disks if I don't want my data being viewed by unfriendly eyes.

Damn straight ..couldn't agree more.

This should be in "Editorials". This post is full of personal opinions. Journalism 101, kids. A grammar class wouldn't hurt either.

"your cloud data are belong to us" ???

Edited by COKid, Nov 2 2012, 3:04pm :

COKid said,

"your cloud data are belong to us" ???

Its a reference from a badly translated game. the original was "All your base are belong to us"

COKid said,
This should be in "Editorials". This post is full of personal opinions. Journalism 101, kids. A grammar class wouldn't hurt either.

"your cloud data are belong to us" ???

lol your super smart comment shows you didn't get the joke lol
i bet a million dollars its because your not old enough to know any better lol
(old enough for a lecture though i guess)

So just a thought I had...does this rule apply to companies as well? Let's say I have a song I recorded and uploaded it to a cloud storage system, I lose my rights to it.

What happens when Sony uploads songs to iTunes? Does that not count as cloud storage? Does Sony suddenly lose all rights and legal holds on the track? What about Bethesda when they upload a game to Steam? I think that counts as cloud storage too, right? And a ton of other companies upload data all the time to the Amazon cloud too! So is everything now free domain?

Remember, Corporations are people and have political opinions and can donate money.

Another reason (other than my phone), I don't "cloud" anything personal on my home computer or laptop. The only things on my phone that sync to the cloud are the address book & photos.
I keep a rip of everything on the home computer & laptop, copied to an encrypted HDD and a 2nd HDD as a backup of the first one.
I don't like MY data, potentially being held hostage by some server OR GOVERNMENT.

I am finding all this rather funny considering that the taking down a Megaupload was to protect the rights of copyright holders. But when it comes to a copyright holder that doesn't make millions a year, they do not have the right to have control over their data.

Sweet ... not sure how it matters .... 99% of it was illegal

Sorry but I just don't care and I don't see anything like this being an issue if you're just hosting your own legal stuff.

Spirit Dave said,
Sweet ... not sure how it matters .... 99% of it was illegal

Sorry but I just don't care and I don't see anything like this being an issue if you're just hosting your own legal stuff.

"A request for privacy is not an admission of guilt."

Just as an example....would you let a random stranger go through your cell phone, financial records, credit card statements? Those are all perfectly legal. Why should it be an issue? My guess is you wouldn't.

This is like putting restrictions on the 1st amendment. Once you start restricting anything it starts to snowball. So it's OK to search files if there is a "belief" there is something illegal? That kind of mentality would spiral out of control.

Spirit Dave said,
Sweet ... not sure how it matters .... 99% of it was illegal

Sorry but I just don't care and I don't see anything like this being an issue if you're just hosting your own legal stuff.

It doesn't really matter that this is being applied to Megaupload right now. They've already said that you lose all rights to that content by uploading it to the cloud, and that is extremely disturbing in and of itself. That's a problem.

Spirit Dave said,
Sweet ... not sure how it matters .... 99% of it was illegal

Sorry but I just don't care and I don't see anything like this being an issue if you're just hosting your own legal stuff.

Illegal to whom ?
The uploader or the downloader or both ?
I often here how copyright holders have the right to download the leaked content on torrent sites because of DMCA rules that make it legal for them to do so but then what does that say for anyone else that may download ?
It's an assumption at best. there really is no way of knowing if a downloader has the legal right to do so..
And i won't even get into the fact that we're not all American.
Believe it or not there is other countries on earth and it possible that the rest of us may have different laws regarding copyrights.
The American justice system is based on innocent until proven guilty ?
LOL i don't think so

I am Not PCyr said,

Illegal to whom ?
The uploader or the downloader or both ?
I often here how copyright holders have the right to download the leaked content on torrent sites because of DMCA rules that make it legal for them to do so but then what does that say for anyone else that may download ?
It's an assumption at best. there really is no way of knowing if a downloader has the legal right to do so..
And i won't even get into the fact that we're not all American.
Believe it or not there is other countries on earth and it possible that the rest of us may have different laws regarding copyrights.
The American justice system is based on innocent until proven guilty ?
LOL i don't think so

Don't try and talk crap. Illegal is pretty simple. Content you didn't pay for but were supposed to. And I'm UK based, not American.

Vveazel said,
As long as my files are not on US servers, I am happy

don't be.. that means nothing at all.
Time for a history lesson ?
America does what they want and they couldn't care less about any laws anywhere.
Like illegally sneaking in to Pakistan under the cover of night with stealth choppers
to assassinate a suspected Terrorist (Osamea BinLaden) AND ALL of his friends and family that were there.. Obama stated they figured there was a 50/50 chance it was him based on their (illegal) intel and that they had ZERO intention of arresting anyone. it was simply a kill only mission. And that is exactly what they did.. They burst in there killing everyone on site no questions asked and then found Bin Laden in his underwear unarmed with his wife in his bed room and blew his (unarmed) brains out !
And then to add insult they took his corpse and threw it off the side of an aircraft carrier.
Bring on the media celebrations hand shacking and congrats to job well done.
Marines ! hooooo rawh !

America makes me sick .
And yeah i would VERY concerned about this country and their retards in control..

You are saying that the US government is saying all of the cloud data belongs to them. Did they actually say that. What references do you have? So basically what you are saying is your opinion. I don't agree with what they are doing but you are making assumptions about what they are saying.

BillyJack said,
You are saying that the US government is saying all of the cloud data belongs to them. Did they actually say that. What references do you have? So basically what you are saying is your opinion. I don't agree with what they are doing but you are making assumptions about what they are saying.

That's quite irrelevant really. The title is actually just a clever reference . The point is that the government has the power to look at and dissect these private files in the cloud. Does it even matter if they "own" it? They already have the access.

not that this is anything new or diff from the path we've been on for the last 13 years, but the big govt supporters are getting what they asked for..

madLyfe said,
not that this is anything new or diff from the path we've been on for the last 13 years, but the big govt supporters are getting what they asked for..

And people think that with either Obama for another 4 yrs, or Romney replacing Obama is gonna change things......Ignorant fools.

radwimp said,
Who's surprised? You really can't expect privacy when you store your files outside your immediate control.
There are privacy laws. Doesn't matter where the files are. This is just a government with power issues.

radwimp said,
Who's surprised? You really can't expect privacy when you store your files outside your immediate control.

When I put my money in a bank it is outside my immediate control, but that doesn't mean they have a right to take it from me.

radwimp said,
Who's surprised? You really can't expect privacy when you store your files outside your immediate control.

Still people who rent physical storage can expect privacy.

Why is it different for virtual storage ? There's no legal reason for it to be different.

x-byte said,
There are privacy laws. Doesn't matter where the files are. This is just a government with power issues.

**** privacy. Any files I produce I own with a copyright. If I've got content that I've created uploaded to mega upload, they've *stolen* my copyright, not even pirated it, but actually stolen it as in I don't have it anymore. They do. I want it back, its mine. I have copyright on it.

TRC said,

When I put my money in a bank it is outside my immediate control, but that doesn't mean they have a right to take it from me.

tell that to my bank who keeps pushing a large bill through my account 24hrs after i drain the account after payday lol
i've had like 4 NSF charges of 40$ from that in the last month and a half
and i paid em too
who's money ?

LaP said,

Still people who rent physical storage can expect privacy.

Why is it different for virtual storage ? There's no legal reason for it to be different.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be this way, but reality is far different. Just like with money and banks, there is a sense of security there but is it real? If **** hits the fan if you don't have the money in your hand...

This is why I still run my 15tb FTP server from home, my server, my files, my responsibility.
Almost every browser on every OS supports FTP, no need to download additional software.

With PGP Whole Disk Encryption and a SSL Certificate its a pretty efficient setup.

FloatingFatMan said,
Time for these companies to relocate their datacentres out of the US.

Were megaupload servers in the US when it got seized?

FloatingFatMan said,
That was an illegal seizure, made possible by, likely, corrupt officials.

And that'll never happen again, amirite?

FloatingFatMan said,
Time for these companies to relocate their datacentres out of the US.


How can something you've created and thus have copyright over suddenly not belong to you? I'm sure copyright is the reason why the megaupload servers got taken down in the first place. I'm sorry, but I still own the rights to anything I make, just like the US are saying about the pirated content that supposed to be uploaded there... or are they saying the pirated content has suddenly become theirs too? in that case, what is.. the case?

sagum said,
in that case, what is.. the case?

You make a good point. At this point, I would argue that the legal branches of the government are now copyright violators as they have taken posession of the infringing content.

RIAA/MPAA vs DoJ!!!

sagum said,


How can something you've created and thus have copyright over suddenly not belong to you?

Yes but not all information was illegal.

sagum said,
How can something you've created and thus have copyright over suddenly not belong to you?

You're looking at this the wrong way, when a record label uploads a music video to youtube, surely they have just forfitted their ownership of that track? So any music video on youtube, uploaded by the copyright owner is fair game to download right?

SPEhosting said,

nope they were in the Netherlands i believe


They also had servers in the US, that's why they where brought down.
For Kims new project however, there wont be a single server in the US