Factbox - What are cyberlockers?

AUCKLAND Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:15pm IST

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AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Cyberlockers, are also known as cloud storage or file storage services, enable users to keep files, or back them up, on the internet.

Users can access files from these virtual storage lockers, which operate on remote servers, from any computer with an internet connection, often more quickly than on personal computers.

Many of these sites offer limited free storage, and users can pay for more capacity through subscriptions.

WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?

Like cloud storage services, users can use cyberlockers to store photos, documents, music and video files, which are often too large to save on personal computers.

Users can grant access to these files at their discretion, while many sites enable users to search for content.

Many cloud storage services are promoted as a business tool to enable several people to access shared files, while cyberlockers often refer to services for individual use. Both are interchangeable in their uses.

WHY ARE THEY CONTROVERSIAL?

The entertainment industry has been a vocal opponent of cyberlockers containing copyrighted films and music, arguing that it is illegal to distribute such material without their consent.

Site operators say they cannot be held responsible for any illegally obtained content as it is impossible for them to monitor the massive number of files stored on their servers. They say they do not knowingly enable users to store and share illegal material.

Sites offer a "take-down" feature which enables copyright holders to order cyberlocker users? Or the locker operator? to remove unpermissioned content. The understanding is that any delay or refusal to act may make the cyberlocker?? liable for such content.

WHAT ROLE DOES ENCRYPTION PLAY IN CYBERLOCKERS?

Encrypted files feature a code designed to stop the file being hacked. Some cyberlockers offer this feature to guarantee users privacy of their files.

Many in the technology and security industries see considerable merits to file encryption, as it would secure large files, including government documents, stored on offshore servers.

While protecting the privacy of files, encryption also enables users to conceal them.

Mega, Kim Dotcom's cyberlocker to be launched on January 20, features a file encryption system which will enable users to encode their files before storing them on the Mega servers.

Once the file is encrypted and stored, they are accessible only using a decryption key which the fileholder alone will control.

As a result, Dotcom claims that the fileholder will be solely responsible for the content stored on Mega, and that the site operator cannot be held liable for content as it will not have access to any of the files stored in the cyberlocker. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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