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March 13, 2012

Megaupload Founder Reveals High Ranking US Officials Were Site Members

By Patrick Lambert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The saga of Megaupload never seems to end. As you may remember, the founder and employees from the biggest file sharing site in the world were arrested last month through a vast, international effort led by the US Justice Department in order to shut down what they consider to be a haven for piracy.

But as the leader, Kim Dotcom, was brought to court and subsequently released, the outcry had only just begun. It turns out that many thousands, if not millions of files stored on the servers behind this service contain perfectly legal files, owned by individuals around the world. And now that Dotcom is out and speaking to the press, it would appear not all members of Megaupload are the stereotypical pirates and freeloaders that the DOJ might want you to think.

Speaking to TorrentFreak this week, Dotcom revealed some interesting information about the members of his sites. First, he said that his lawyers are in touch with the Justice Department in order to try and secure those legitimate files for their users. Even though the government may be right to claim that a lot of copyrighted material ended up on those servers, there's no question that a lot of other files did as well, such as business documents, personal photos, and more.

According to him, his legal team is doing everything they can to reunite the users and their data, even though there had been rumors earlier that this would not be possible. It seems like this may indeed prove to be something that might happen after all, and if all the parties can reach an agreement, things will start moving and at least some users might get their files back.

But a bigger surprise was a comment Dotcom said about the members of Megaupload. It seems that several high ranking government officials actually had accounts on the site. He said that they “found a large number of Mega accounts from US Government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate.” This is an interesting revelation, since one key part of the case hinges on the fact that the DOJ claims this service was mostly used for illegitimate purposes.

If Megaupload employees can prove that they in fact responded to any legal claim, and that the bulk of their service was used for legal files, then that may throw the whole case out for a loop. There's no indication whether those government accounts were used to store copyrighted files or not, but it stands to reason that government employees wouldn't abuse the law like that. Right?

The saga is clearly not over, and one piece of information that may be interesting to see as the case moves ahead through discovery, is the list of users from that site, and whether or not the government shot himself in the foot by bringing the world's attention on Megaupload.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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