The FBI gain access to all of Megaupload’s user data as soon as this coming Thursday, February 2, according to a report from the New Zealand Herald, which cites a letter from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The correspondence was sent to storage companies Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications, both of which host data for the file-sharing site, clarifying that US authorities now have the appropriate search warrants and are looking to gain rights to access the data. Authorities previously copied a portion of the data but are now looking to physically seize the files in question in their entirety.

Megaupload’s attorney Ira Rothken told media over the weekend that it is working with the firms to keep hold of the data as it is evidence that is central to the company’s trial.

Rothken also revealed that the data — which reportedly includes personal data and legal content belonging to more than 50 million users — should be spared deletion as it belongs to Megaupload customers:

We’re cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as Megaupload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done.

US authorities are moving in on Megaupload thanks to the fact that a number of its servers are based in the country, however Megaupload itself is a registered business in Hong Kong. It is a truly global operation with founder Kim Dotcom based in New Zealand and a raft of other senior figures living in a range of places across the world.

In the midst of an initial seven arrests, the FBI seized a whole load of Megaupload’s assets, including 10 Mercedes Benz cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and an impressive collection of 65 108-inch TVs.

The Anonymous hacking group has been busy taking vengeance on a number of companies and government organisations — including the the FBI and the FTC — in response to the closure of Megaupload, which is one of the biggest criminal copyright cases ever. If the entire Megaupload file collection is seized this week, who wouldn’t bet on more ‘hacktivist’ action following?

Image credit: Flickr user nostri-imago