Two weeks ago federal prosecutors in the US shut down MegaUpload, one of the most popular file-sharing sites on the Internet. The site was a widely-used “digital locker” that stored files for millions of users world-wide. Some of those users, however, used the side for illegitimate purposes, turning the site into a hub of what the US prosecutors characterized as “massive worldwide online piracy.”
While there’s no question large quantities of illegal, pirated material was successfully removed with the MegaUpload takedown, thousands of innocent users have lost access to their files as a result of the takedown. The legality of the takedown has been questioned by lawyers from around the world, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has promised to take legal action against the US Government if data is not returned to legitimate users promptly.
When considering the risks of storing data in the cloud, becoming collateral damage from an over-reaching takedown order is not something the typical consumer will – or should – have to contemplate. The US Government deserves strong pushback on this kind of action, as other file storage services, such as Dropbox, Box and others – could face the risk of being summarily shut down because a subset of its users choose to misbehave.