It’s been months since Kim Dotcom triumphantly returned to the digital world with the launch of Mega and now the mercurial German-born Kiwi has set his sights on some even bigger ambitions for 2014. In a company blog post this week, Mega outlined its plans for new services next year that will include both encrypted messaging and encrypted video chat services aimed at helping users evade government intelligence agencies that cast a wide surveillance net across the entire Internet. Dotcom and Mega first started talking about launching encrypted email and messaging services this past summer after documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency’s vast data collection practices.
With secure email services such as Lavabit closing their doors, the fate of encrypted email may lie with the world’s most infamous German-born New Zealand resident. ZDNet reports that Kim Dotcom and his Mega team are working on a new email service that will “run on its entirely non-U.S.-based server network” and will thus will be immune from pressure from the American government to comply with orders from the National Security Agency. However, Mega CEO Vikram Kumar tells ZDNet that the challenges of creating an intuitive email service with end-to-end encryption are more difficult than many might think. More →
Kim Dotcom is producing a special treat for Mega users who want to communicate without any risk of getting intercepted by the National Security Agency. TorrentFreak reports that Dotcom plans to launch an “encrypted messaging service in four to six weeks” that Mega CEO Vikram Kumar says is designed to address “global concerns over governments collecting, storing, and analyzing all Internet traffic.” Dotcom tells TorrentFreak that in addition to the messaging service, Mega is also working on an encrypted email service that will be available sometime in the next six to nine months. Dotcom, who has been very critical of the NSA’s spying program, has personal experience when it comes to controversial surveillance practices. Last fall New Zealand prime minister John Key apologized to Dotcom for government security officials who illegally spied on his communications without first obtaining a warrant.
Mega founder Kim Dotcom has been scoring one victory after another over his would-be prosecutors over the past year and now he’s poised to land his biggest triumph yet. BBC News reports that Dotcom “has won access to evidence seized during raids on the file storage service” after New Zealand’s high court ruled that the warrants used to seize the evidence were unlawful. Dotcom wasted no time crowing about his latest win on Twitter and made a “victory” checklist in which he checked off the goal of getting his data back from law enforcement officials. The only item left unchecked on Dotcom’s list is getting former Megaupload users’ data back, which Dotcom has repeatedly said is one of his most important goals.
Kim Dotcom’s new Mega file hosting service has gotten the attention of Hollywood. Warner Bros. and NBC Universal have asked Google to remove Mega from its search results, claiming that it is hosting copyrighted content on its servers. Dotcom responded to the requests in a statement to TorrentFreak, calling it the requests the same “unreasonable content industry behavior” he has had to endure for years. He still blames Hollywood for shutting down his Megaupload service in 2012, which he believes is “the ultimate illegal takedown by the content industry.”
Kim Dotcom’s Mega file-sharing site could get a mega boost with the launch of its mobile apps. New Zealand’s Stuff reports that Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar “expects the number of people using Dotcom’s new Mega online file storage service to double in about a month to more than 6 million” now that the site is on the verge of releasing mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Kumar predicts that the apps will have mass appeal because “people are really waiting… for Mega to have the equivalent functionality of DropBox which is when people get these apps and the ability to synchronise with their desktops.” Dotcom launched Mega this past January and claimed that the site had attracted more than 3 million users in just its first month of operation.
It looks like the entertainment industry may have gotten its money’s worth after law enforcement officials shut down Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload last year. The Wall Street Journal reports that movie sales increased significantly after Megaupload went offline, according to new study conducted by Wellesley College assistant professor of economics Brett Danaher and Carnegie Mellon University professor Michael D. Smith. The two researchers say that “shutting down Megaupload and Megavideo caused some customers to shift from cyberlocker-based piracy to purchasing or renting through legal digital channels,” contradicting earlier studies that suggested shutting down the site did little to lessen online piracy. More →
Kim Dotcom has never been shy about tooting his own horn, and this week he boasted on his Twitter account that his new Mega file-sharing website now has more than 3 million users. It has also hosted more than 125 million files ever since coming online just a month ago. Dotcom said that Mega’s encryption remains “unbroken,” that “most” of its bugs had been fixed, and that the website will soon launch a mobile app and a sync client. The last year has been a long, strange trip for Dotcom, who has been engaged in a legal battle with law enforcement officials who shut down his original Megaupload file-sharing site in early 2012. Throughout the year, authorities also accused Dotcom of owning an Internet doomsday machine and of having the world’s most dangerous belly, among other questionable assertions.
Kim Dotcom isn’t the world’s most likely celebrity — a German born New Zealander who had been best known for running a website called Megaupload that was used primarily by people looking to share large files with one another and that wasn’t on the radar of the average Internet user. But as ZDNet’s Jack Schofield notes, the American government’s heavy-handedness, along with Dotcom’s own keen media savvy, have both conspired to make Dotcom into a media sensation who has now attracted more than 1 million users to his new Mega website in just one day. More →
Kim Dotcom launched the successor to his shuttered Megaupload service this past Saturday and early adoption has been impressive. While speaking during a launch event for the new service, called simply “Mega,” Dotcom said that more than 1 million users joined the site in just one day, The Next Web reported. “We cannot be stopped,” Dotcom exclaimed, speaking directly to media rights holders that have targeted the alleged piracy kingpin. Mega is a file-sharing service similar to the original Megaupload site but it uses a complex encryption mechanism that prevents even Mega from knowing what files are hosted on its servers. Downloaded files can only be decrypted with a unique decryption key made available to the original file holder when a file is uploaded to the Mega site.
What a long, strange trip it’s been for Kim Dotcom. Last year at this time, he was arrested at his New Zealand mansion and his Megaupload file-sharing website was shut down due to accusations that it was a hub for Internet piracy. Throughout the year, authorities accused Dotcom of owning an Internet doomsday machine and of having the world’s most dangerous belly, among other questionable assertions. While all this was going on, however, Dotcom was planning to make an epic comeback with a new file-sharing website, simply dubbed Mega, that he vowed would have ironclad legal protection. More →
Kim Dotcom’s new Mega file-sharing site hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s already proving as controversial as his previous ventures. New Zealand’s TVNZ reports that radio station company Mediaworks has yanked ads promoting Mega from its stations just days before the new site is scheduled to launch. Dotcom immediately blamed music industry pressure for Mediaworks’ decision and said on his Twitter account that “apparently some music labels complained to Mediaworks about our radio ads,” which allegedly resulted in the “booking of over 500 ad plays terminated.” Dotcom, who has long been in a legal spat with copyright holders in the entertainment industry, went on to say that “the music labels that are abusing their power, again.”
Kim Dotcom will not be denied. After facing a minor setback last week when the Gabonese government shut down its original domain name, Kim Dotcom’s new Mega website came back online this week and still looks primed for its grand launch on January 19th. Dotcom on Monday sent out a notice through Twitter that “New Zealand will be the home of our new website: http://Mega.co.nz,” which would be “powered by legality and protected by the law.” Going to the website shows a giant red “MEGA” icon that promises to “change the world” on January 19th.