Kim DotCom, the owner of popular cyberlocker MegaUpload, claimed Monday that a large number of MegaUpload user email addresses belonged to U.S. government officials, including staffers within the Department of Justice and U.S. Senate.
The information was revealed as MegaUpload lawyers and digital civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation work to reunite users with personal data lost in the FBI sting that took down the site.
“Guess what — we found a large number of Mega accounts from US Government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate,” Dotcom told the tech blog TorrentFreak.com. “I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has raised objections about the takedown of the site, noting that users who did not engage in illegal file-sharing activities, but rather used the site to store data and personal files, were also harmed. EFF recently started a project called MegaRetrieval.com, which allows former MegaUpload users to share their tales of woe.
“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,” said Julie Samuels, a staff attorney at EFF, on the MegaRetrieval site. “We think it’s important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward.”
DotCom is set to face extradition hearings by the U.S. in August. He is currently out on bail in New Zealand, despite objections from the FBI.
“It is expected that in the coming week more news will come out about an eventual resurrection of Megaupload, so users can download their personal files,” reported TorrentFreak.com.
DotCom and six colleagues were arrested on Jan. 19 in New Zealand and charged by the United States with operating “an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works through Megaupload.com and other related sites, generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners,” the Justice Department and FBI said in a statement.
The takedown of the site in mid-January sparked an uproar from the political hacker community Anonymous, which responded by using Twitter to spread a link roping unsuspecting Internet users into a DDoS — distributed denial of service — attack against the sites of various government agencies, as well as various websites belonging to the film and recording industry, including the Motion Picture Association of American.