U.S. government destroyed 10.75 million legitimate files in Megaupload raid, says research


Back in the year of 2012, the U.S government raided Megaupload and shutdown the service after a long investigation. With the shutting down of Megaupload, 10.75 million legitimate files were sent to the graveyard, according to new research from Boston’s Northeastern University. This is an important revelation as the U.S. government claims Megaupload was a pirate site with seemingly few legitimate uses.

In order to fill the gap and to understand more about the legitimate uses of these websites, Boston University researchers along with colleagues from France and Australia, examined millions of files from 5 cyberlockers (FileFactory, Easy-share, Filesonic, Wupload and Megaupload).

Researchers extracted meta data from the site’s upload to find out whether or not files were legitimate. The researchers would then manually determine the legitimacy of the files based on random samples of 1,000 uploads per site.

In the case of Megaupload, researchers came to the conclusion that 31 percent of all uploaded content were infringing on copyright laws while 4.3 percent were legitimate files. So, of an estimated 250 million uploads, 10.75 million of that number were legitimate files, which contradicts the U.S government claims about Megaupload lacked use for legitimate uploads. (Although, it should be mentioned, if only 4.3 percent were legitimate then… yeah… you fill in the blanks.)

The remaining 65 percent is either unknown, or the researchers were unable to reach a consensus.

The fate of Megaupload should be a clear indication to Internet users that they should never put their trust in online storage. Always keep a backed up version of your files in local storage as anything is possible.

[via Torrent Freak, image via Hollywood Reporter]

Related Posts

  • Horrabin

    One things that bugs me, but apparently not too many others, is that for the life of me I can’t find anything in the Constitution giving the US Federal Government any authority at all to take down anyone’s servers, especially involving those in another country, with the aim of protecting private entities’ (Movie, software, etc) property. I can maybe see a point, but possibly no authority, if the servers were demonstrated to contain copies of government’s restricted files. But copies of movies mixed in with other legitimate files that private citizens have contracted with a server storage company to keep copies of for them, backup or otherwise? Copyright laws cover movies and so on, certainly, but a heavy-handed blanket wipe of everything on a server is a criminal action itself. That’s not unlike burning down a whole block of houses because at least one of them may contain a pot distribution operation. Procedures are in place to have verified copyrighted files removed once demonstrated they are present. Wiping a whole server or group of servers because some material has been proven to be illegal is itself not legal or moral, especially since the server operator has no oversight of much of what private parties store there (encrypted), so the government has heavy-handedly put companies out of business arbitrarily. I’ll bet the same doesn’t happen to Skydrive or Amazon’s cloud servers if it’s discovered someone stored a season’s worth of Oprah on one of them.

  • [@Tom] NSA, the Cloud’s backup service. ;)

  • [@etim] Nobody has ever won a lawsuit against the government. I can’t see any chance of it ever happening either.

  • Tom

    The “unknown” 65% were encrypted, leaving the researchers flummoxed. Of course those files, and the rest, now reside on NSA servers.

  • Bub

    10.75 million sounds like an impressive number, but 4.3% sounds a lot less impressive. If 95% of all the files on the site were illegitimate, then breaking it up was justified. If only 31% were, then it feels a lot more like overreach.

    The 65% chunk with unknown disposition is important. Unfortunately, it sounds like we’re unlikely ever to get better figures.

  • DoktorThomas™

    Generally there is no correlation between claims and reality when it comes to the US fed.gov. The entire institution is a fraud on the world. ©2013 All rights reserved. No use without written permission. Statutory exemptions revoked by author. Protected by law and international treaties.

  • Godel

    Here’s another cloud screw-up, via Slashdot. Box.com transferred his account to another person who then wiped all the files.

    Notice also that idiot writer apparently stores his personal tax, medical and other private information in the cloud, unencrypted.


  • CJ Cotter

    “The fate of Megaupload should be a clear indication to Internet users that they should never put their trust in online storage.”

    DUH. Am I the only sane person on this planet? The world is all google-eyed with internet cloud storage, and raves about what a marvelous thing it is. I wouldn’t put my cat’s picture on someone’s cloud server. When Lavabit pulled the plug…..guess what? Not one piece of my email was stored on it. Everything was on my local and external storage drives.

  • etim

    Sounds like the makings of a dandy class action suit against the feds, eh?