As expected, Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz this weekend marked the one year anniversary of the shut down of his original file-transfer business, MegaUpload, by launching a new venture, simply called Mega.
Documenting the launch of his new service on Twitter, Dotcom reported a massive surge of traffic in the first few minutes that Mega was operational, later telling reporters that half a million signed up within the first fourteen hours. Like the core MegaUpload business, Mega provides cloud storage that is accessed via a web browser. Operating in an increasingly competitive market, Mega offers generous terms, with 50GB of storage free, and premium packages between ten and 30 euros, offering between 500GB and 4TB of space.
As previously reported, the big innovation with Mega is that files uploaded to the storage platform are automatically encrypted, with only the customer receiving the unlock code. Dotcom told the Wall Street Journal: “I would say the biggest new development is on-the-fly encryption. Without having to install any kind of application – it happens in your browser in the background – it encrypts giving you privacy. This means when you transfer data anyone sitting on that line will get nothing as it is all scrambled and impossible to decrypt without your key. This is going to take encryption to the mainstream”.
Spun as a privacy protection tool, the auto-encrypt functionality will in theory stop the Mega platform from becoming a destination for people seeking free and unlicensed music and movie content – as happened with MegaUpload – because even if users allow others free access to their Mega lockers, content will be unusable without an unlock code.
Of course it will only take one message board where unlock codes are traded to overcome that limitation for the freetards, so perhaps Mega does have the potential to become the rampant source of illegal content that was, arguably, the reason why MegaUpload was so successful. Though even if it does, Dotcom and his lawyers reckon that the auto-encrypt system will limit the Mega company’s liability for copyright infringement, because rights owners won’t be able to accuse the digital firm of deliberately turning a blind eye to obviously illegal content on its servers, because with every file encrypted, Team Mega won’t know what’s on its platform.
Although operating at a New Zealand domain, the new Mega will be hosted in the cloud, and physically on servers in multiple countries. The aim will be to ensure that no one government can shut down the operations of Mega v2 in the way the US authorities took MegaUpload offline a year ago. Which is important for the half a million people now supposedly storing their files on the new Mega platform, at least some of whom will be aware that some customers of the old MegaUpload are still fighting to regain access to legitimate files they had in their old Mega lockers that became inaccessible last January.
As much previously reported, the US government is still trying to extradite Dotcom and three other former MegaUpload execs from New Zealand to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering relating to the original Mega business. Prosecutors previously said that they thought that Dotcom launching Mega put him in breach of his bail terms. It remains to be seen in any action is taken on that front. Team Mega continue to deny the charges made against them, while accusing the US government of a set up, of having no jurisdiction over the original MegaUpload company, and of having too little evidence to extradite Dotcom et al.