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Mega launch: Kim Dotcom's new file storage project kicks off

Published time: January 19, 2013 17:55
Edited time: January 20, 2013 06:33
Kim Dotcom gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Auckland January 19, 2013.(Reuters / Nigel Marple)

Kim Dotcom gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Auckland January 19, 2013.(Reuters / Nigel Marple)

Kim Dotcom, founder of the file-storage website Megaupload outlawed by the US, has launched his new project, Mega. It comes exactly one year after the US authorities shut down Megaupload and Dotcom's New Zealand mansion was raided.

Over 250,000 users have registered with Mega in the first two hours after the service’s launch pushing the servers to their limit with the influx of traffic.

New Mega offers its users 50GB of storage for free and paid service plans with limits up to 4TB and more bandwidth.

What makes Mega different is that unlike Megaupload or any other popular cloud storage systems, the new solution encrypts users’ files with a key that Mega will never have access to. This also means that the law enforcements won’t be able to access personal files stored in the cloud in case they decide to raid Dotcom’s endeavor once again.

Dotcom initially announced plans to launch a new project back in October 2012.

Back then he promised that Mega will be different from his previous file-storage website MegaUpload that at the zenith of its popularity attracted 50 million users a day, but was eventually closed by US authorities.

The launch of Mega on January 20th comes exactly one year to the day after Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, was arrested when his New Zealand estate was raided by local authorities working in cooperation with the US government. On the same day the FBI shut down his highly successful MegaUpload project. 

The United States says Dotcom criminally benefitted from a vast copyright infringement operation by running Megaupload.com and is pressing New Zealand to extradite him.

The FBI claims that Dotcom caused over $500 million worth of damages to the entertainment industry and personally profited to the tune of $175 million from distributing copyrighted material.

The US wants Dotcom extradited on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering. Dotcom refutes the allegations, saying that Megaupload only offered online storage, not file-sharing.

Despite an agreement between Dotcom’s defense and prosecutors that the evidence was to remain in New Zealand, the US obtained copies of it. Later New Zealand's High Court ruled that the police raid on Kim Dotcom’s house was unlawful along with the seizure of hard drives that were later cloned and illegally taken from New Zealand to the US by the FBI.

Prosecutors have since been trying to have Dotcom extradited to the United States, but have encountered numerous legal hurdles in the New Zealand legal system.

Dotcom has won a series of legal victories against US prosecutors relating to the case, and the hearing on his extradition to the US has been delayed. New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann ruled to postpone the hearing until March 2013 as the defense team failed to obtain US judicial reviews of the search warrants under which Dotcom’s residence was raided, and has yet to get access to the evidence used by the prosecution. It was also concluded that the raid on Dotcom’s mansion and the seizure of hard drives was illegal, as the warrants issued were general and did not describe the stipulated offenses.

A screenshot of the main page www.mega.co.nz
A screenshot of the main page www.mega.co.nz

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