So, a lot of people are talking about Kim Dotcom’s latest gambit, which was to point out that he holds a patent (US 6,078,908 and apparently others in 12 other countries as well) that covers the basics of two-factor authentication, with a priority date of April of 1997. While interesting, he goes on to point out that he’s never sued over the patent because “I believe in sharing knowledge and ideas for the good of society.”
So what’s to stop Mega from going down just the way Megaupload did? Mega’s privacy, which is a no-foolin’ stroke of genius. See, all of your files are encrypted locally before they’re uploaded, so Mega has no idea what anything is. It could be family photos or work documents, or an entire discography of your favorite band. Poof: online and easy to share. And importantly, Mega doesn’t have the decryption key necessary to get in. See? It’s a masterstroke of copyright subversion.
Technically you should be able to do this with any cloud storage service. The key here is that the encryption is done locally. There are many ways to encrypt your stuff locally so why would it matter which cloud storage provider you use? Maybe I’m missing something but this doesn’t seem all that novel of an idea other than perhaps the new Mega provides the software and user interface to make the entire process easier. Mega is supposed to launch tomorrow so more information will surface.
Kim Dotcom’s plan of launching a “bigger, better, faster, stronger, safer” Megaupload successor, Mega, is already in peril as Gabon’s government has suspended the domain www.me.ga.
The new Mega will operate from the Gabonese domain Me.Ga. With just 98,800 Internet users in a population of 1.6 million, the African country is a small player on the Internet, but this is about to change.
In a notice, ironically hosted on Kim.com, Dotcom also advises other cloud hosting providers to stay away from the U.S. and refrain from operating domains that are controlled by American companies.
If provincial newspaper editorials are anything to go by, there is growing anger about the authorities’ handling of Kim Dotcom. The Waikato Times’ editorial entitled, NZ: 51st state of the US, is particularly worth reading. It says that the announcement of the illegal spying has ‘heightened suspicions that this country’s relationship with the United States has become one of servility rather than friendship’. The editorial’s conclusion is worth quoting at length: ‘Dotcom is wanted in the US to face nothing more threatening than breaches of copyright laws.
She says ‘If the authorities are so supine in their relationship with their US counterparts and so eager to corral an alleged copyright criminal – allegations which Dotcom is strongly contesting – that they don’t check the basics before mounting their interception, what guarantees do other businesses have that this is a one-off affair?’
Carpathia wants the court to help pay the costs of preserving MegaUpload’s data, which it claims is more than $500,000 and growing, or protect Carpathia from civil claims, should it decide to delete the information. Carpathia has said that in most cases where a customer can no longer pay for service, the servers are wiped and used elsewhere. Should that happen in this case, potentially millions of former MegaUpload users around the world would lose data — though how much content was legally obtained is unclear.
Carpathia Hosting seem to be truly innocent victims here. Somehow I predict the US taxpayer will end up footing the bill for all of this and Carpathia Hosting can start learning the art of cost plus billing.
It is however the viewpoint of this article that the Megaupload indictment will likely be seen in the long run as having a more significant impact on Internet business models and innovation than the withdrawal of PIPA and SOPA — and this would be the case even if those bills had been enacted in some combined form.
That is because those bills, problematic as they were, created new forms of civil copyright enforcement — blocking of infringing foreign websites by both search engines and ISPs, and termination of third party payment and ad services for both foreign and domestic infringing websites. Such remedies might of course curtail a website’s income and even lead to its demise, as well as to executive and worker unemployment and investor monetary losses. But they would not threaten executives and investors with involuntary, decades-long incarceration in Club Fed.
This opinion piece makes some important points but it’s clearly biased in favour of megaupload.
There have always been two major concerns about cloud services in general, and cloud storage (Dropbox, Megaupload, SkyDrive, iCloud, and so on). The first is privacy: When you upload data to a third party, there’s always the risk that they can look at the contents of your files. Some cloud providers securely encrypt data, but many don’t. The second issue is data security and integrity: Does the third party keep a tight ship against hackers? What happens if a hard drive fails? What protections have the cloud provider put in place to mitigate against natural disasters, bankruptcy, or being shut down by the Feds?