Security and privacy talk mix with glitz and glam at Mega launch
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom relaunched his empire yesterday with Mega.co.nz, and celebrated with a glitzy launch event at his mansion outside of Auckland.
The event featured a performance by local musician Tiki Taane and his father, as well as a dramatisation of an armed offenders squad raid.
A helicopter with 'FBI' printed on the side at one point circled the crowd as men in black abseiled down the side of the Dotcom mansion. At the event, Dotcom spoke about why Mega was to be trusted with users' files, given that a significant number of Megaupload users had lost theirs.
"Well, of course I understand that some of our customers will have concerns because of what happened before. And there will be some that say, 'Hey, we'll
wait a little bit and see what happens here before we sign up and become customers," Dotcom said."But there will be the early adopters. And it will be
those who try it out, and I think once they see how great Mega is, the word will spread quickly and more people will sign up. And I'm actually more
concerned about how I can manage the current growth because there are so many people signing up."
When asked why Mega was a safer business than Megaupload had been, Dotcom told the audience at Mega's launch that the service has been "scrutinised by lawyers like no other internet start-up in history."
"Every single pixel of this website has been checked for some kinds of issues. Our lawyers have made sure that we are fully compliant with the law," he said. "So I don't think that we need to worry about any kind of takedown anytime soon."
On privacy and encryption, a Computerworld reporter suggested that perhaps, given that Mega was encrypting all files, the Government would make attempts to outlaw encryption. However Dotcom reiterated that privacy was a "basic human right."
"It's in the United Nations' charter of human rights, so I think it will be difficult to outlaw encryption," he said.
Chief technology officer of Mega, Mathias Ortmann, said the encryption code was open source and as such would be subject to peer review.
"We expect the security community to take a long and hard look and comment on possible weaknesses and implementation errors," Ortmann said."To crack the key by simply trying all possible keys is definitely impossible, the universe is not old enough for that."
More than 50% internet traffic is piracy, Dotcom says.
When asked about how Mega would prevent abuse, Dotcom said that Megaupload had not been responsible for the actions of its users.
"They are trying to blame us for an internet phenomenon. This wasn't a Megaupload phenomenon, that there was piracy on Megaupload," he said. "You can ask any ISP that connects users to the internet, 'How much piracy traffic do you have on your network?'. And anyone who will tell you less than 50% is a liar."
Every internet company has to deal with piracy issues, Dotcom said, including reputable organisations like YouTube.
"Why are they coming here, to New Zealand, [to] rip me out of my house when everyone has to deal with the same issues? They can't blame me for the actions of third parties." "If someone speeds in a car they bought you don't go to the car manufacturer and say, 'We're shutting you down.'"
Dotcom also spoke of sister service Megabox, which is yet to be launched. Megabox is to be a service designed for musicians to upload music and get royalties when their music is played on the website.
"Megabox is still under development," he said. "It will take at least another six month before that site goes live. I'm a perfectionist and I'm not going to release a product that I'm not 100% sure of. And Megabox still needs some improvements. But it's going to be an awesome site, it's definitely going to change the music industry."
Dotcom said Megabox would give the power back to the artists and creators of content. Artists using Megabox will keep the "lion's share" - 90% - of revenue from the service for themselves, he said.
Now that Mega is launched, Dotcom said he will be taking a break from the limelight.
"I am getting tired of seeing myself in the news," he said, "so I can't imagine how a lot of New Zealanders feel.""The next time you hear from me will probably be when I am in court, fighting my case if it comes to that. I'm going to take myself a step back."