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.
The key to keeping the new Mega out of legal trouble, Wired reported last fall, is that all files uploaded to and shared on Mega “will first be one-click-encrypted right in a client’s browser, using the so-called Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm” after which the user is “provided with a second unique key for that file’s decryption.” The most important aspect of these new security features is that it puts responsibility for obeying copyright laws squarely on individual users because “the decryption key is not stored with Mega” and thus it will “be impossible for Mega to know, or be responsible for, its users’ uploaded content.” This technique should also give users stronger protections over their own data because it will be impossible for thieves to properly access it without the decryption key.
So now, one year after the raid on his mansion, Dotcom has finally taken the wraps off Mega, which will give users a whopping 50 GB of free storage to play around with. In an interview with The Guardian, Dotcom admits that he part of his motivation behind launching Mega is to strike back at his accusers at the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, whose lawyers have branded him a “career criminal.” Dotcom also expresses solidarity with Internet activists such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the recently-deceased Aaron Swartz, both of whom he says have been victims of purportedly corrupt government prosecutions. In praising both activists, Dotcom drew parallels between what they’ve been through and what he’s been through at Megaupload.
“We want to expose what has happened here,” he said. “We have a lot of information that shows the political interference. We feel that what happened here was manufactured to destroy Megaupload, and we want to show that.”