Child And Megaupload
Published: May 27, 2012
Child And Megaupload, United States law enforcement authorities have confirmed they are investigating images of child abuse unearthed from Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload servers.
The material was discovered during FBI examination of the contents of the internet millionaire’s cloud storage system, seized in the global takedown of the “Mega Conspiracy” that included police raids at Dotcom’s Auckland mansion in January.
Dotcom, 38, is currently on bail awaiting an extradition hearing. Authorities say he used Megaupload and its affiliated sites to knowingly make money from pirated movies and games, and have charged him with multiple copyright offences.
A spokesman from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Peter Carr, said there was an ongoing investigation into the images of child p**nography found on the servers but would make no further comment.
Experts say Dotcom is unlikely to be held accountable for the child p**nography also uploaded to the Mega websites.
The laws covering objectionable material had broader “safe harbours” that ensured online service providers were not blamed for the actions of their users, said New Zealand internet lawyer Rick Shera.
“It’s absolutely impossible for a cloud service to scrutinise what’s on its servers.”
“The implications of being charged with possession of objectionable material are much more serious [than copyright]. It’s unfair and inappropriate that an online service provider is charged if they’re not involved.”
US Homeland Security Child Exploitation Investigations Unit spokesman Matthew Dunn said his organisation did not target cloud storage owners unless it could prove they were facilitating illegal activities involving child abuse.
“We go after the people that were sharing the objectionable material,” Dunn said. There were instances where internet forums had been shut down, but cloud computing sites and social networks usually did not want illegal activity on their sites and would co-operate to remove the material.
Director of the Kiwi child protection agency Ecpat, Alan Bell, said targeting host site owners was not useful in preventing further abuses.
“The real scrutiny should be directed at offenders who use those facilities for their own purposes.” (TVNZ)
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