Reports that Rapidshare may have cooperated with Geman law enforcement officials who pursued and eventually raided the residence of a suspected Metallica uploader have generated quite a stir, mostly because Rapidshare has been seen by many as a more anonymous alternative to P2P file sharing.

It's not really clear whether Rapidshare did in fact provide any data to law enforcement officials in the case in question, but the company admitted to P2P Blog that it does in fact routinely save data that could be used to identify uploaders. Of course, this raises the question: What else does Rapidshare know about you? doesn't have a privacy policy available, and its Terms of Use don't contain any information about Rapidshare's log files either. However, a company spokesperson answered almost all of my questions, providing for the first time a detailed overview of how Rapidshare deals with privacy issues. Here are the most important use cases:

What happens if an unregistered user or the user of a free account downloads a file?

Rapidshare: "In the case of Free Users, we log how much data is downloaded from which IP address within the last 10-100 minutes. This information is kept for about two hours."

How about downloads initiated by premium users?

Rapidshare: "We log how much data is saved on which day from which IP address by Premium Users. This information is currently kept for 30 days and can be accessed within the Premium Zone."

Do you keep a record of the files I download?

Rapidshare: "We don't have any logs about which user downloads which file."

So what about uploads?

Rapidshare: "For uploads we save when and from which IP address a file is being uploaded."

Rapidshare did not tell me how long the company keeps IP addresses that link uploaders to certain files, even though this is probably the most controversial measure. However, answering these questions is already a big step to make the service more transparent to its users, and one can hope that a formal privacy policy will eventually be available as well.

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