The return of MegaUpload is near, according to the service’s founder, Kim Dotcom. “Quick update on the new Mega: Code 90% done,” Dotcom recently said on Twitter. “Servers on the way. Lawyers, Partners & Investors ready. Be patient. It’s coming.”
Dotcom’s popular online file-sharing service was taken offline in January as part of a massive copyright infringement case brought against MegaUpload by the United States.
Dotcom has been hinting for several months via Twitter that a new version of his famous site was on its way. “MEGA will return. Bigger. Better. Faster. Free of charge & shielded from attacks,” Dotcom said in July. He followed several weeks later with a promise the new Mega would be “100 percent safe and unstoppable.”
Dotcom has styled himself as something of a revolutionary since losing his company and facing extradition from New Zealand to the United States to face charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering, and other charges. The MegaUpload founder has even released a music video calling on people to join him in taking on world governments and corporate interests that are trying to control the Internet.
It’s an idealistic pitch, which falls a little flat when you consider that Megavideo, one of Dotcom’s properties, was widely used to stream a wealth of pirated movies and TV shows for free. Oddly, these premium videos, despite their apparent popularity, did not appear on the front page of Megavideo.com where the site displayed its most popular videos, or through the site’s search tool. Instead, these videos were only accessible through third-party sites that had links to the content.
Dotcom maintains his innocence, arguing his company complied with all take-down notices it received and that his company cannot be held accountable for the actions of its users under the “safe harbor” clause of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Dotcom has been fighting extradition to the United States since his arrest in early 2012. The case against Dotcom appeared to face a setback Monday when New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced an inquiry into the actions of one of that country’s intelligence agencies that assisted police in the MegaUpload case.
Key has asked for an investigation into “unlawful interception of communications” of unnamed individuals in the MegaUpload case. The communications spying was carried out by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). Similar to the U.S. National Security Agency, the GCSB is prohibited from listening in on the communications of New Zealand citizens and residents.
Key says in a statement he is disappointed in the GCSB’s actions. “I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust,” Key said.
It’s not clear if the GCSB’s actions under investigation targeted Dotcom or other Mega employees arrested in the case. The New Zealand Herald reports the investigation surrounds intercepted communications of Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk, who is also accused in the MegaUpload case, and both men’s families.
It’s also not clear how the GCSB spying revelations will affect Dotcom’s extradition fight.
Dotcom’s suggestion that MegaUpload was almost ready was first reported by TorrentFreak.
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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.