October 19, 2012
Dotcom Resurrects Megaupload To Include Encryption
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
As it turns out, you can´t keep an eccentric Austrian-turned-Kiwi millionaire down. Though he´s facing the full force of the FBI and entertainment industries for operating Megaupload, a file sharing service, Kim Schmitz (who later had his name changed to Kim Dotcom) is planning to get back into the business.
Mr. Dotcom has obviously found a few spare minutes in between handling his legal affairs, heading in and out of court, and recording his upcoming rap album to focus on reopening Megaupload, heretofore to be known as Mega.
According to a recent Wired report, Mr. Dotcom and his business partner Mathias Ortmann have built this new service with different rules which, according to the pair, should skirt some of the legal issues Dotcom is currently facing.
Mega is like its longer-titled sibling in that it´s a subscriber-based platform which allows users a place to access, store, upload and, most importantly, share files. The difference, says Dotcom and Ortmann, is that, under Mega, these files are encrypted with one click in the user´s browser. The user will then be given a second key to decrypt these files.
With this encryption in place, it´s up to the users, third party developers, and the like to decide if others have access to this file. Mega will not have access to this decryption key, meaning the file sharing service cannot prove what is being hosted on their site, essentially building an online storage building, tossing out some keys, then turning their backs on it so as not to see what´s being stored or traded.
According to the pair, this new method not only keeps him and his aspiring rapper partner free of liability, but also provides some extra security for the users.
Furthermore, the FBI won´t be able to raid the servers again.
“If servers are lost, if the government comes into a data center and rapes it, if someone hacks the server or steals it, it would give him nothing,” said Dotcom in the Wired interview.
“Whatever is uploaded to the site, it is going to be remain closed and private without the key.”
Dotcom believes this new method will appease even the broadest of interpretations of the law which was cited when his home was raided and his servers taken down. Under this new tweak, Mega will not be in control of who shares what and how, they´ve simply created a platform and some keys.
As one might expect, Dotcom has been keeping his legal team close as he and Ortmann develop these new plans. According to this team, the only way to legally shut down this new service is to make encryption illegal. Dotcom is also ready for another fight, citing the UN Charter for Human Rights which holds that every person has the right to privacy.
“You have the right to protect your private information and communication against spying,” said Dotcom, already ready to defend his new plan.
Dotcom and Ortmann have also included a little twist which would make taking down content a little more difficult. Rather than enable de-duplication, or a means by which 100 copies of the same file would be stored as 1 file, they´re passing out keys for each and every file. So, were the government and Hollywood to issue takedown notices, they´d have to issue as many notices as there are files stored, which could easily be in the millions, depending on the file.
For all their attempts to thwart another raid or takedown, Dotcom told Wired that Mega is not a “giant middle finger to Hollywood and the DoJ,” or simply a relaunch of their old service. Yet, they´ve also implemented tools which allow copyright holders to take down their content for themselves, but not before they accept terms which say they won´t sue Mega.