Which is not to say such actions are without their downsides. They're
expensive, they're time-consuming, and some people get hurt who don't
necessarily deserve it. But that's the price we pay for living in a
constitutional democracy governed by due process of law. We don't hold
the phone company responsible when criminals use its network to plan
robberies; we shouldn't hold Google responsible when pirates have websites that show up in search results.
It's hard to sympathize much with the Megaupload customers who are now complaining that they lost data or money
when the plug was pulled on the site. There's little doubt that
Megaupload made the lion's share of its revenues from piracy, though the
service was used for legitimate purposes as well (the feds say the
operation's legit data-storage business was there mostly to provide a
"veneer of legitimacy," but that seems to be overstating the case).
What's more, anybody who used the service either knew or should have
known that it was mainly devoted to piracy.
Not that it's fair that people lost out. It's possible the feds will set
up a mechanism for returning data and fees to customers, but if they
don't, or can't, them's the breaks. It's not the cops' fault, it's
Dan Mitchell has written for Fortune, the New York Times, Slate, Wired, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.