Looking to share your important files somewhere safe and secure? Forget FileSonic, formerly one of the world’s largest online file-sharing lockers. In a message just posted to its website, the company says “all sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled” and that its “service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.”
“Looking to store your important files somewhere safe and secure?” reads the promotional spot on the company’s homepage, in stark contrast to prior messages like “Share your talent! Upload your music, art, poetry… Share your files with your friends…”
FileSonic hasn’t said why it disabled the website’s…well, its raison d’être, but it’s almost certainly a reaction to the federal shutdown of Megaupload.com and arrest of company officials last week on grounds the Hong Kong-based file-sharing behemoth violated copyright laws. Instead, FileSonic now appears to be positioning itself as a cloud storage alternative.
The company’s official Facebook page is also missing in action, though why — untoward or possibly incriminating visitor comments? — is anyone’s guess. Several users on Reddit are reporting that their accounts have been deleted, and that attempting to log in returns an error message stating the account has been disabled “due to violations of [FileSonic's] Terms and Conditions.”
In December, FileSonic said it was teaming up with Vobile, a content identification service, to scan all content (including compressed files) uploaded to FileSonic’s site for copyright infringement before allowing them to be shared publicly.
Apparently that wasn’t a bridge far enough: FileSonic now describes itself as “a leader in personal and business solutions for a variety of cloud storage and file hosting needs” and says users have access to “free and unlimited storage, downloads and uploads of files up to 5gb.” File-sharing news-watcher TorrentFreak notes that FileSonic has previously served up “a billion pageviews a month.”
What’s next? That’s hard to say without full disclosure from FileSonic (the company isn’t responding to press inquiries at this point). FileSonic has office locations in Britain and Hong Kong, but it’s not clear where its physical servers are located or whether it would be indictable — say there’s another hush-hush international sting in the offing — on the same grounds as Megaupload.com. In the latter case, both the FBI in the U.S. as well as police in New Zealand were involved, arresting Megaupload employees and seizing cars, artwork, weapons and more than $8 million in cash from homes and businesses near the city of Auckland.