Kim Dotcom launches Privacy Company that is anything but private

This weekend journalists were tripping over themselves to be first in line to breathlessly announce Kim Dotcom's launch of his new cloud storage site. The truncated name Mega, launched almost a year to the day his previous illegal file sharing site Megaupload was shut down, promised to be a different venture.

For one thing, instead of merely exploiting artists and musicians while making tons of cash selling ad space, like Megaupload used to, Mega introduced a tiered pricing. While 50 GB , are free they also offer rates for more space costing €9.99, €19.99 and €29.99 per month. Because why should he pay for all that storage when you can do it, right?

I wonder how many Megaupload users will start paying to use the Mega's service. Ha ha ha ha, no I don't.

Among the geeky bells and whistles included in Mega, (mobile access, IM'ing with other Mega users) there is one major difference between Megaupload and Mega: file encryption. Mega is known as "The Privacy Company." Beyond the obvious rebrand, the question people should be asking is, is this any more legal than Megaupload?

According to the Daily Dot, the answer is no.

While this won't change anything for those who would use the site to encourage broad piracy, people who just want to share pirated material with their friends are unlikely to be caught.

The other question to ask is this: is "The Privacy Company" all that private?

According to TorrentFreak of all places, no it isn't.
While Mega encrypts all files by default, and while the so-called new encryption tool keeps things under lock and key unless you share the extra private key with others to unlock it, Mega is retaining the right to keep all of your info. TorrentFreak published the privacy policy. Here's a selection:

We keep the following personal information:
- When a user signs up for particular services on our website they may need to give us the details required in our registration form and keep that information up to date;
- Communication logs, traffic data, site usage and other information related to us supplying the services (including for serving of advertising material on our site);
- Any personal information included in data uploaded to our system including but not limited to registration information.
-We keep records of IP addresses used to access our services.

So the next Julian Assange, or the guy hoping uploading millions of tracks to mega without getting caught, might want to think twice. After all, with that footprint, it's not hard for a government to track you down. It even says in the same privacy policy statement.

We reserve the right to assist any law enforcement agency with investigations, including and limited to by way of disclosure of information to them or their agents. We also reserve the right to comply with any legal processes, including but not limited to subpoenas, search warrents (sic) and court orders.

Kim Dotcom sounds like he's shifting away from being a freedom fighter, to a potential narc.

One last very interesting thing. At one point in the privacy policy TorrentFreak reports it read this:

We can use any information we have about you as a customer relating to your creditworthiness and give that information to any other person for credit assessment and debt collection purposes.

But then as soon as it was made public, it was deleted. TorrentFreak said "The creditworthiness mention has been deleted from the TOS. It was most likely a copy/paste gone wrong."

Most likely indeed.

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Dabitch's picture

I can't help but notice in his rebranding, he's channeling a famous dictator with his ladies in army jackets and red berets, namely Gaddafi and his women bodyguards. That's not tacky at all.

Shika's picture

This does sound as if Kim Dotcom has turned into a narc. "creditworthiness"? Kimble has always been an attention whore.

Dabitch's picture

I think it's also worth noting that Gawker/Gizmondo's "Hands On With Kim Dotcom’s New Mega: This Service Could Dismantle Copyright Forever" article shows a detail that may or may not legally protect MEGA, but certainly does make it harder for law enforcement to track down illegally shared warez.

The company does, however, stipulate in the privacy policy that they might cooperate with law enforcement. But big deal; what are they going to turn over? When Twitter and Facebook cooperate with the authorities, they have access to your data. All Mega has is an encrypted file, and that's its ultimate protection.

Basically Kim Dotcom is washing his hands while taking your money.

Shika's picture

ignorantia legis neminem excusat. Kim knows what will be uploaded isn't peoples own personal iPhoto collection. What if this turns into a very popular dropbox for a pedophile ring? Can he still wash his hands?

AnonymousBOB's picture

At Mashable Kim suggests that a movie should be funded by previously secured (and paid for) digital streaming rights. It sounds like he wants to be the next iTunes.

James Trickery's picture

More importantly, how do I go about to pirate this service? You see, I enjoy sticking it to the man, by sharing blockbuster movies and obscure indie bands entire back catalogs as you know those evil record companies don't pay them anyway. Besides, they're hippies and play for the love of music. I wish to keep my man-sticking-it-to track record intact, and can obviously not be paying Kimble/Kim for this service. I'll check the torrents now to see if there's any account keys leaked as a free for all to use.

kidsleepy's picture

You can always use the freebie version. It just means you can't be as big of a pirate as you are in your own mind. :D