Reports that the FBI would move in to seize the entire collection of Megaupload user data by Thursday have been nullified after the file-sharing site’s third party hosts, Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications, agreed a deal that will see the files saved for at least two weeks.
Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken confirmed the update, which gives time for the authorities and Megaupload to reach an agreement over how to handle the issue:
Carpathia and Cogent agreed to preserve consumer data for additional time of at least two weeks so #Megaupload can work with US on proposal
— Ira Rothken (@rothken) January 30, 2012
Rothken previously argued against the proposed seizure of the content, claiming that it should be kept as evidence for the trial, whilst also pressing the case for maintaining the files on behalf of its customers.
There are concerns that the company’s data — which estimates suggest may have cost the entertainment industry $500 million in lost revenue — also includes tens of millions of legitimate files, which had been uploaded and stored on the service by an estimated 50 million.
A statement from Carpathia on the possible federal seizure of files, claimed that the company is unable to facilitate a data handover:
In reference to the letter filed by the U.S. Department of Justice with the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 27, 2012, Carpathia Hosting does not have, and has never had, access to the content on MegaUpload servers and has no mechanism for returning any content residing on such servers to MegaUpload’s customers. The reference to the Feb. 2, 2012 date in the Department of Justice letter for the deletion of content is not based on any information provided by Carpathia to the U.S. Government. We would recommend that anyone who believes that they have content on MegaUpload servers contact MegaUpload. Please do not contact Carpathia Hosting
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. For now, any action that the collective has planned in response to the seizure of Megaupload’s user data can wait.