EFF Starts Operation Mega Retrieval

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 31, 2012
Updated • May 27, 2017

When the Megaupload servers were taken down, no one bothered to distinguish legitimate data from data that infringed on the copyright of others. Users who had been using Megaupload as a host for their own files found themselves in a position where they were denied access to their files, even though they were in many cases completely legal. It was even worse for some users who had no access to local backups of the data. With the take down of Megaupload, access to those files was no longer available.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation in cooperation with Carpathia Hosting has started the Mega Retrieval project. The main purpose of the project is to connect affected end-users from the United States with the EFF to assess options.

It is not clear at this point in time if the EFF and its attorneys can aid Megaupload users in the retrieval of files that they have uploaded to the service. Affected users are asked to contact the EFF (an email address is provided on the Mega Retrieval website).

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 the best contact information for you to the EFF at..

The page notes that users shall not send any details of materials they have uploaded. It is likely that this initial step is needed to assess the number of users who are affected by the Megaupload take down.

Affected users should not get their hopes up to high though, as it is not clear at this point in time if anything can be done to prevent the deletion of all server data.

It may also be difficult for users to come up with additional information if requested. While they may be able to look up their account name, they may have troubles listing the files that they have uploaded to the service.

What's your take on the development?

Update: Five years have passed since Megaupload servers were seized. The situation has not really changed since then. Ars Technica reports that the servers are still kept locked up, and that access to data was not granted to anyone in that time.

EFF Starts Operation Mega Retrieval
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EFF Starts Operation Mega Retrieval
The Electronic Frontier Foundation in cooperation with Carpathia Hosting has started the Mega Retrieval project to help Megaupload users regain access to data.
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  1. jmjsquared said on February 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    The US Gov’t eventually will give access to Megaupload files. They will not be deleted enmasse for at least three reasons:
    1. The US Gov’t *cannot* confiscate property without due process;
    2. They will need/use the files as evidence in the upcoming legal proceedings, as will the defense attorneys; and, finally,
    3. The files have great investigative value for ongoing tracking and prosecuting efforts. The “pirates” being sought left a trail that can be followed; ie., any files they uploaded illegally.

  2. Leslie said on February 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    America, land of the free – I do not think so.

    The corrupt officials who took this action are just the puppy dogs of Hollywood and their ilk. They need to take a long look in the mirror as they have committed the cardinal sin of penalising 1000’s of innocent people and businesses just to get their hands on perhaps maybe TEN people.

    On the positive side, this has just confirmed everything I believe about “the cloud” – I consider it to be just spin spin spin.

  3. SubgeniusD said on February 1, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Wouldn’t all the user files be linked directly to the account? Can’t see why locating them would be an issue.

  4. Bob Hart said on February 1, 2012 at 6:28 am

    i hope they AT LEAST give us 24 hours access…i’m mad cause i had alot of stuff of on MU that i didn’t keep a 2nd backup off (-)smacks head into wall(-)

    p.s. if anyone is looking for a similar free host:

    imo it’s better than megaupload since peeje gives u DIRECT-download links

  5. ilev said on January 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    ESR, What a stupid move. Version numbers doesn’t mean a thing, specially when all add-ons are now automatically compatible.

    1. ilev said on January 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Ooops, wrong place. Should be regarding Firefox 10 ESR release.

  6. Robert Palmar said on January 31, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Megaupload servers taken down without the protection of legitimate data is
    a major blunder and a dangerous precedent in the age of cloud computing.
    The are a large number of legitimate users of Megaupload that are being
    penalized for no reason other than the scorched earth crackdown.

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