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MegaUpload data could be erased this week

User data from blocked site MegaUpload could be deleted as soon as Thursday.

Data stored on MegaUpload, the website shut down by the US Justice Department for allegedly infringing copyright, could have its stored data deleted as soon as Thursday, our sister site CNET News reports.

In a letter filed last Friday, the US Attorney's Office says the companies MegaUpload uses to store data may start wiping it clean on 2 February. That's disturbing news for anyone who used the service for legitimate reasons, such as storing personal data.

Two weeks ago arrests were made around the world as MegaUpload had £32m in assets seized. Website boss Kim Dotcom was nicked in New Zealand, along with other employees.

MegaUpload let users upload files, then share them using a direct download link. But the site is accused of paying users who uploaded copyrighted content to the site, and publicising sites that linked to the copyright-infringing material.

The problem is that many folks will have been using MegaUpload for legitimate purposes, and they're not able to get at their data. Now it looks as though that data could be wiped.

MegaUpload's lawyer has told Associated Press that at least 50 million users have data which faces deletion, but that the company is working with prosecutors to try to prevent the wipe.

"We're cautiously optimistic at this point that -- because the United States, as well as MegaUpload, should have a common desire to protect consumers -- this kind of agreement will get done."

Visiting now brings you to the above notice, letting you know the site has been seized. In response to the takedown, hacker collective Anonymous brought down the FBI website, along with several music and movie groups' sites.

What do you think? Was it fair to shut down MegaUpload? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook wall.