January 31, 2012 | By Julie Samuels

EFF Requests Information from Innocent Megaupload Users

In the media firestorm surrounding the recent Megaupload takedown, there has been little lacking in the way of drama (police helicopters, midnight raids, safe rooms, shotguns, and inflatable tanks, for starters). The legal battles between the government and Megaupload are unlikely to end soon. In the meantime, however, many ordinary users of Megaupload’s services have been swept up in the government’s dragnet, and, as a consequence, have lost access to their own data.

Megaupload, of course, had many lawful customers (see here and here, for example). Yet those people were given no notice that they might lose access to their data and no clear path to getting their property back. Setting aside the legal case against Megaupload, the government should try to avoid this kind of collateral damage, not create it.

We learned yesterday that the government has finished its investigation of Megaupload’s servers and claims that the companies that own those servers – Carpathia and Cogent – are free to delete their contents. Luckily, those companies aren't following the government's example of shooting first and asking later. To that end, Carpathia has put together a site at www.megaretrieval.com where Megaupload customers can contact EFF and provide information to help assess the scope of the issue and possible responses.

If you believe you are one of these users, are based in the United States, and are looking for legal help to retrieve your data, please email your contact information to Megauploadmissing@eff.org. While we will try to respond to everyone, you should understand that we are still at the preliminary stages of our investigation.

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