New file-storage, sharing website marks Dotcom raid anniversary


Kim Dotcom

Sydney: Kim Dotcom, marking one year since his Megaupload.com website was shut down by the United States Department of Justice and his home raided by New Zealand tactical squad officers in helicopters, unveiled a successor file-storage and sharing site, saying innovation won't be stopped.

The Mega website began accepting registrations from the public in Auckland, coinciding with the time the first helicopter touched down at Dotcom's NZ$30 million ($25 million) mansion in an Auckland suburb.

The site had more than a million visitors and 500,000 people registered in the first 14 hours, Dotcom told more 200 guests, including journalists, he had invited to the official start of the website at his home Monday.

"I've never seen anything like this," he said from a stage set up outside his home.
"Sometimes good things come out of terrible events."

Mega, like its predecessor, will let users upload, download and share files, competing with sites such as Dropbox.com and even Google's Youtube.com, Dotcom said. Unlike those sites, Mega will allow file encryption through an Internet browser with the user having the only key to unlock the file, preventing governments and storage providers from viewing the contents, he said.

Breaking impossible
Breaking into a file at Mega is 'impossible', Dotcom said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week before the start of the website. According to DigiCert, the Lindon, Utah-based provider of Internet Security Certificates, cracking a 2048-bit RSA SSL code using a standard desktop computer would take 500,000 times longer than the age of the universe, which is about 13 billion years old.

The random generation of the encryption code, which includes typewriter strokes and movements of the mouse on an individual's computer, may actually be predictable, according to the website Gizmodo.

"The code actually leaves Mega open to decide whether or not they feel like enforcing encryption for any given user," according to Gizmodo. "Of course, it also benefits Mega to keep everything encrypted for its own 'see no evil' purposes." It's up to the user to decide whether to encrypt a file, Dotcom responded.

Dawn raid
Before dawn on January 20, 2012, New Zealand police, cooperating with US authorities, raided Dotcom's rented mansion in an Auckland suburb, using two helicopters and 27 officers, some armed with assault rifles and gas canisters. The officers seized 18 luxury vehicles at the home, including a 1959 pink Cadillac, while Megaupload sites were shut down worldwide and his bank accounts frozen in Hong Kong. Dotcom spent four weeks in jail before winning his release on bail.

The stage show unveiling the new website included characters dressed in Swat-like gear, with replica assault rifles, rapelling from the roof of Dotcom's home, while a helicopter with FBI printed on the side hovered overhead.

"This is not about mocking any government or Hollywood," Dotcom said before the staged raid. He then went on to accuse the U.S. government of 'staging legal warfare' through copyright laws.

Copyright infringement
Dotcom was indicted in Virginia for what US prosecutors called the biggest copyright infringement in the country's history, with the Megaupload site having generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated films, music, book and software files.

Peter Carr, spokesman for US attorney Neil H. MacBride, referred to a statement Dotcom made in February to a New Zealand court, when he pledged not to resurrect the Megaupload site. Carr declined to comment further when contacted last week.

Dotcom, who turned 39 Monday, changed his name legally from Kim Schmitz. Megaupload.com advertised that it had more than 1 billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors.

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