Kim Dotcom’s New MEGA Encrypted Cloud Storage: See No Evil, Store No Evil

Controversial file storage tycoon, Kim Dotcom, is
launching his new encrypted cloud storage site
MEGA in the U.S. tomorrow (note: link not currently
active.) The service will offer 50GB of storage for
free and three Pro tiers of 500GB to 4TB for $13-$40
a month.
The new service comes a year to the day from
when authorities raided Dotcom’s New Zealand
mansion and shut down his previous site,
Megaupload. That site was notorious as a haven for
pirated materials, but Dotcom maintained
his innocence and charges against him were
dropped.
Dotcom is clever and MEGA is designed both to
compete with cloud storage giants like
Dropbox, Google Drive, and RapidShare—and also
to insulate itself from future charges. The
difference that makes a difference is that all files
are encrypted using a 2048-bit RSA key. (See a
detailed writeup on Ars Technica for more details.)
What this means effectively is that Dotcom cannot
be accused of knowingly storing copyrighted
materials because he cannot technically know the
content of the files stored on MEGA—only the user
who uploaded the files and/or possesses the key
can.
As you can see in the screen shot below (from the
Ars Technica article), you can provide links to your
files (either containing the key so someone can
access them directly or by providing them with the
key separately) but you are prompted with a
caution about not transmitting the keys through
insecure channels and a far-reaching copyright
warning. Although users typically do not read these
warnings and will undoubtably use the service to
store unauthorized copyright material, they cannot
be said to have not been warned. Dotcom is betting
that the combination of encrypted content and
explicit warnings should be enough to keep his new
service out of trouble.

In an exclusive interview this morning in the
Guardian (UK), Dotcom tells reporter Toby
Manhire, ”We want to show the world that we are
innovators. We want to show the world that cloud
storage has a right to exist. And, of course, when
you launch something like this, you can expect
some controversy. The content industry is going to
react really emotionally about this. The US
government will probably try and destroy the new
business … you’ve got to stand up against that, and
fight that, and I’m doing that … I will not allow them
to chill me.”
He maintains in the interview that the case against
Megaupload was politically motivated in response
to the failure of the SOPA legislation in Washington.
The process has made him change his perceptions
of America. In his early days as a hacker, he says
that he “thought of [himself] as more American
than Americans… I always had this attitude of can-
do, and if you’re successful you can show it, which
is a very un-German thing.” But after his
prosecution he claims, “ a much better
understanding now of how the US government
operates and how much spying is actually going on,
how much privacy intrusion is the reality today …
we are very close to George Orwell’s vision
becoming a reality.”
As for the entertainment industries approach to
controlling piracy, Dotcom thinks they’re missing
the boat. ”There’s so much money to be made, and
those fools don’t get it,” he says. “They just don’t
get it.” He sees himself as both pro-freedom and
pro-business. It’s just that the business he sees is
different than, and disruptive of, the Hollywood
model. One of the perplexing things about Dotcom
is that it’s as easy to paint him as a rogue as a
revolutionary.
Dotcom does not accept the hacker’s black hat,
however. ”I’m not evil, you know? I’m a good guy,”
he says. “Everyone who knows me likes me … they
should really come to the table, come to their
senses and work this out. Because I’m not going to
cave in. I’m going to fight this thing. And there’s no
way in hell that they have any chance to win this. I
don’t see it. I don’t see it because I know I’m
innocent, and the lawyers know I’m innocent, and
we have right on our side.”
The questions for MEGA are multiple. Will Dotcom
be able to dodge takedown attempts? Will users
find the encryption scheme too cumbersome? Will
MEGA disrupt not only the entertainment industry
but also the cloud storage market? Whatever
happens, like the name and Dotcom’s own person
suggest, it’s going to be big.

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12 thoughts on “Kim Dotcom’s New MEGA Encrypted Cloud Storage: See No Evil, Store No Evil

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