Rapidshare got a lot of flack earlier this year when reports surfaced that the one click hoster had cooperated with German law enforcement officials, providing them with the IP address of an uploader, which eventually led to a raid of the uploader's residence.

One of the issues at hand was that Rapidshare had never really told its users what kind of data it exactly collected, and for how long these logs were kept. The company did provide some answers when P2P Blog asked about its logging policies, but ordinary uploaders were still kept in the dark, because Rapidshare.com simply didn't feature any privacy policy. Back then I wrote:

"(A)nswering 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."

Well, guess what? Rapidshare listened. The company officially announced a few days ago that it's from now on including an "easily understandable, yet legally binding" privacy policy on each Rapidshare page. From the site's news section:

"What is happening to your data behind the scenes? (...) Our support team also receives a lot of questions about data privacy, and quite a number of rumours are circulating on the internet. Therefore, we have set ourselves the goal of handling this topic as transparently as possible."

The policy itself doesn't feature any surprises for anyone who has followed the recent controversies, but it's quite clear on which data it does and doesn't keep. Rapidshare clarifies that it keeps the IP address of the uploader for every uploaded file, but doesn't keep track of the downloaders of any of the files it hosts:

"In no case will we store information about which data has been downloaded by which IP address or Premium Account. (...) If anyone should legally try to force us to monitor customers to such an extent, we would gladly go through all levels of jurisdiction in order to avoid that."

However, Rapidshare won't quite put as much energy into fighting orders to hand over IP addresses of uploaders to law enforcement officials:

"If we are legally obliged to turn over information about the origin of a file, we will fulfill that obligation. The legal circumstances will be evaluated individually in each case. Without a legal basis, no information will be given to third parties."

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