Ever since MegaUpload was taken down by the authorities in a raid (which has actually now been declared illegal by New Zealand’s courts) on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in New Zealand, Dotcom has been talking about how he is going to bring back MegaUpload but bigger and better. Well now we know exactly what Dotcom has been talking about: a new file locker called Mega.
Found at Me.ga, Mega is another online file locker/file storage similar to MegaUpload. The big difference, however, between MegaUpload and Mega is that Mega going to fully encrypt whatever users upload to the website. This, according to Dotcom, will ensure that no one except the person who owns the Mega account has access to the files and no one except the user knows what the files are:
In the past, securely storing and transferring confidential information required the installation of dedicated software.
The new Mega encrypts and decrypts your data transparently in your browser, on the fly. You hold the keys to what you store in the cloud, not us.
In other words, the authorities who took down MegaUpload will have an extremely difficult time in determining if a file stored on Mega is illegal or not. Or at least that is what Dotcom is insinuating — we will only find out when the website opens; which, by the way, is January 20, 2013 — the one year anniversary of when Dotcom was arrested.
According to Dotcom, this type of encryption is within the laws of the United States, and, even if it isn’t, Dotcom plans on avoiding all US-based internet services (servers, domain registrars, etc.); so the United States won’t have jurisdiction to bring down Mega like it did with MegaUpload:
The new Mega will not be threatened by US prosecutors.
The new Mega avoids any dealings with US hosters, US domains and US backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown.
That being said, Dotcom isn’t marketing Mega as a piracy heaven. Rather, it looks like Dotcom is trying to push the responsibility of pirated files away from Mega and onto the users of Mega. In fact, in an interview with Reuters, Dotcom hinted at giving intellectual property owners direct access to users’ files if the content owners “agree not to make us [Mega] responsible for actions of users”. That statement, however, is contradictory to Mega’s claim that it will encrypt everything and no one but users will have access to uploaded files. Let’s see what really happens.