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Judge asks specific questions about lost MegaUpload data

By | Published on Tuesday 10 November 2015


As the MegaUpload extradition hearing continues to go through the motions in New Zealand, the judge still considering the lost data previously stored on the defunct file-transfer platform has sent out some specific questions to different stakeholders.

As previously reported, when the feds shut down MegaUpload in 2012, as well as all the copyright infringing music and movies taken offline, those using the file-transfer service to legitimately store and share their own content also lost access to their files. That content has been in limbo ever since, stored on the disconnected servers previously used by MegaUpload that are now gathering dust.

MegaUpload didn’t actually own those servers, and one of the companies who provided server space to the often controversial file-transfer firm has since deleted all the old files on its system. However, MegaUpload’s biggest server provider, US-based Carpathia Hosting, still has the data it used to store. But Carpathia has a new owner, and it wants to repurpose the machines on which that data still sits, and to rid itself of the cost of storing unusable servers.

Some former MegaUpload users have demanded the return of their lost data, while lawyers working for the former MegaUpload management reckon those servers contain evidence that will be useful for the defence in the criminal case against their clients. Prosecutors in that case, meanwhile, say that they have all the evidence they need and the old servers can be wiped for all they care.

As for the movie industry, it says legit former users can get their old data back, but any reopening of the defunct MegaUpload servers should not give people access to the copyright infringing material that was previously stored there.

Nearly four years on from shutdown, the judge overseeing the lost data, Liam O’Grady, now wants to know how realistic it is to reconnect the old MegaUpload servers to the internet, and what that would involve. To that end he has now sent specific questions to different stakeholders, some requesting viewpoints – the answers to which are pretty predictable – but others asking for clarification on logistics.

Whether any of this results in former MegaUpload users getting access to their old data remains to be seen.