MegaUpload's users may include U.S. government officials

The cyberlocker's founder Kim Dotcom says that he recently learned a "large number of Mega accounts" were being used by people in the Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate.

Kim DotCom, the founder of MegaUpload. 3News in New Zealand

When the file-swapping site MegaUpload was shuttered by the U.S. government--and consequentially its offices raided, $42 million of its assets frozen , and its leader Kim DotCom arrested--some officials might not have thought of unintended consequences, such as the loss of legitimate files.

They also might not have realized that they too might be outed as having used MegaUpload.

During an interview with TorrentFreak this week, DotCom said, "Guess what--we found a large number of Mega accounts from U.S. government officials, including the Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate."

Released on bail earlier this month, DotCom said he got this information through his dealings to get the Department of Justice to grant users temporary access to the site to download their personal data and files. According to TorrentFreak, the MegaUpload raid in January disabled hundreds of thousands of files that were not infringing on copyright laws, including personal photos and work-related documents.

"MegaUpload's legal team is working hard to reunite our users with their data," DotCom told TorrentFreak. "We are negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is also looking into how MegaUpload users will be able to recoup their personal files. At the end of January, the nonprofit launched a campaign called MegaRetrieval, which has the goal of creating an inventory of all users with lost data.

"EFF is troubled that so many lawful users of MegaUpload.com had their property taken from them without warning and that the government has taken no steps to help them," EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels said in a statement. "We think it's important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward."

It remains unclear who and how many people in the U.S. government actually used MegaUpload and whether the Department of Justice will restore the site temporarily to let users access their personal files.

About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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