The January 21 shut down of Megaupload and the subsequent seizure of all files by the FBI has had a huge impact on a sizable portion of the Internet.
The feds have charged seven Megaupload executives - including founder Kim Dotcom, currently under arrest and fighting extradition to the US from New Zealand - with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as criminal copyright infringement. That's hard cheese for people who've made millions, supposedly, off the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, and it's likely they're all looking at serious jail time. But it isn't just alleged criminal actors that have been impacted. Millions of people stored files on Megaupload legitimately, files they'd like to get back.
Whether they can or not is, however, in doubt. On Friday, the US Department of Justice issued a letter, written by U.S. District Attorney Neil MacBride, confirming they were finished looking over the data stored on Megaupload. "It is our understanding" the letter says, "that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012". The hosting companies, the letter asserts, are Cogent Communications and Carpathia Hosting. That is apparently news to Carpathia Hosting, who took umbrage with being mentioned in the letter and issued a statement to their website clarifying things. In short, they have no idea what the DOJ is talking about.
"In reference to the letter filed by the U.S. Department of Justice with the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 27, 2012," the statement reads, "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." That's a rather definitive denial. Furthermore, Carpathia questions the deadline handed down by the feds, implying strongly that it is entirely arbitrary. "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."
So there you have it. They do not have your data. Unfortunately, no one seems to know for sure who does. The Washington Post reports that Megaupload's attorney, Ira Rothken, could not be reached for comment, and the DOJ has only copied a portion of what they examined. Perhaps this incredible profile of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom might yield some clues, but if the data isn't found in two weeks, it might be lost forever.