Kim Dotcom's back with a new 50GB free storage service: Mega

Kim Dotcom's back with a new 50GB free storage service: Mega

Summary: Kim Dotcom's Megaupload site remains locked up in a legal battle, but the irrepressible Dotcom is back with a 50GB free storage, cloud-based service.

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The legal battle rages on over Kim Dotcom's Megaupload site, which was closed down in January 2012 on claims that it was part of "international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works." But, that hasn't stopped the irrepressible Dotcom from opening a new storage service, Mega, which offers users 50GBs of free storage.

Well, in theory it does. While the service has been launched, it's been utterly swamped with requests. As I write this, at 4 PM Eastern Standard Time, Down for everyone or just for me is reporting that his new site is down. Dotcom, who launched his new service with a combination party and raid re-enactment complete with "FBI" helicopters and military-uniformed dancing girls with mini-skirts, explained his new site's problems was due to overwhelming demand. 

kimdot

On Twitter, Dotcom wrote, "250,000 user registrations. Server capacity on maximum load. Should get better when initial frenzy is over". He followed this message with another stating: "If you are currently experiencing slow access to #Mega its because of the unbelievable demand. We are working on more capacity."

While the U.S. Department of Justice may be stewing about Dotcom's defiant return to the Internet, users, eager for huge amounts of free storage, are streaming to the site. Still, while 50GBs is far more than that offered by most online storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive, it's only a quarter of what the now banned Megaupload site offered. At least one other service. MediaFire also offers 50GBs of free storage.

Besides offering storage, Mega also includes file encryption for all files stored on the service. This encryption isn't done on the server. Instead, Mega uses symmetric key encryption in the browser. Every file has its own key generated on your PC, from within your Web browser session, using your Mega password.

You'll want to make darn sure you don't lose that password because Mega doesn't keep a copy of it. Indeed, the whole points of Mega's file encryption system is that Mega can say, without lying, they have no idea if you're illegally sharing music or movies. All their servers have is encrypted files. What's in them? Only you, and whomever you share the password with, knows.

That said, Mega's also claims that their service saves room on its over-burdened servers by keeping a single copy of identical files How do they do that if they don't know their users' password? Good question. We don't know the answer. The basic system of keeping only unique copies of multiple files Is far from new. Streamload introduced it in 1998 and Apple uses it today with iTunes Match as does Amazon with its Cloud Player service.

In practice, you can still share files on Mega. You can do this in two ways. First, you can just share both your your file's URL and its password to a friend or co-worker. Or, shades of the old Megaupload, you can create a URL with the password embedded within it.

So is this a good deal or not? While I think that Kim Dotcom will eventually win free of the criminal charges from his first file storage/sharing service due to numerous irregularities in the Megaupload investigation, I'm also sure that his new service will be constantly watched. When Megaupload was seized, there is no doubt that untold number of pirated files were removed from the net. Simultaneously, though, users lost terabytes of legitimate files and there seems to be no way they'll ever get these files back.

Let's face it. Whenever you put a file on a cloud service, no matter whether it's owned by a giant like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft or a relative unknown such as MediaFire or Ubuntu One, there's always a chance that your files will disappear because of some technical or legal problem. In the case of Mega, though, the odds will be higher that your files may vaporize because of legal trouble.

Here's what I plan on doing. I will use Mega, but I'm not going to put anything on it that I can't afford to lose. I'd think you'd be wise if you did the same.

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Topics: Storage, Amazon, Apple, Cloud, Google, Networking, Piracy, New Zealand

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Talkback

16 comments
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  • Tempting

    50 GB for free feels quite tempting to store some backups. Wonder if New Zealand allows stronger cryptation than what is legal the US.
    Oden79
    • wha

      There is no restriction on how strong encryption can be in the US. That would be unconstitutional - encryption is free speech. Export/import is a different matter.
      wendellgee2
      • no restriction on import export

        Import/Export restrictions making products in the US weak are no longer true. When is the last time you downloaded Netscape for US (weak) vs Netscape International (strong)?
        Anyhow, the law was changed in 2000. Import/Export restriction in regard to cryptography only apply to suspect countries, as do other product restrictions.
        Pea Wormsworth
  • Tempting

    50 GB for free feels quite tempting to store some backups. Wonder if New Zealand allows stronger cryptation than what is legal in the US.
    Oden79
  • No worries

    right now the site doesn't work for shit ... no threat to copyrighted material
    iRick5
    • Is this even real?

      I have STILL not received a confirmation email, 24 hours later. I HAVE, however, received a ton of spam that clearly is because I gave this douche my email address.

      As far as I can tell, 'Mega' doesn't even exist. But they did sell my email address.
      pishaw
  • Doesn't Work

    Too bad the GA release wasn't given a bit more attention to bandwidth performance. I've been trying to upload a single 2.0 MB file since the site went live and can't. When I do get logged in (on occasion), the file uploader most often stays in 'Pending' status. I finally have my file showing In Progress but.. it's been there for the last 4 hours.
    The site clearly wasn't ready to go public.
    jefkas
  • Clearly, your file are NOT ENCRYPTED

    If Mega REALLY encrypted your files such that Mega could deny knowledge of copyright infringement, the site would have NO way of combining duplicate files (because when you encrypt a file it's original content is 'scrambled' semi-randomly by the hashing algorithm).
    Kim is obviously lying, expect your 'backups' to get taken down again.
    JeffMcClintock
    • The files ARE ENCRYPTED

      From my understanding the files are encrypted using keys that are either not held by Mega or are only used temporarily during file enchange and then thrown away. In either case, Mega will not have the keys to view the content they host. In all likelyhood, the keys are held locally by the browser and decryption occurs locally through Java or javascript code.
      This could have and should have been done a long time ago by email servers like Gmail. There is no reason for Google and MSN to have access to view the contents of your email. At least not from a customer protection perspective. But allowing these 3rd parties to read your unencrypted email, they can easily match advertising to post on your email pages.
      I was hoping government would request these cloud services (like Gmail, MSN, etc) to secure and encrypt our data... but it turns out this company not working with the US government will do it for us. Good for you Mega and good luck.
      Pea Wormsworth
      • Has the US shot itself in the foot?

        An unintended consequence of America [corporate bully of the World] suddenly creating the need for encrypted file sharing is that it will make tracing terrorists harder for itself and other countries whose governments are less gung-ho and sactimoniously Puritanical in trying to shut down file sharing.
        If encryption had been in use for years as suggested, the security services would be better prepared or gradually have found a way to combat terrorist information traffic.
        We have yet to reach the stage where terror is more of a problem to honest users than targeted spam but I fear that will happen all too soon
        LordMalvern
        • You make an incorrect assumption

          You assume that the US Federal agencies cannot break the encryption codes. In many cases, that is incorrect. The feds aren't as stupid as people think.

          Second, it only takes a Court Order to monitor an account on a service such as this. Once the order is in place, the Feds will receive copies before encryption.

          This is one reason storing information with a third party is so dangerous in the US. While we have more protections than many nations, they are in fact very thin protections. Best part is that the third party is under no obligation to inform the targeted party that the Feds are monitoring.

          They, the Feds, are much better prepared than you think.
          Cynical99
  • This guy cares about nothing but the money

    Ask all of the people that have lost preciuos material using his service; material that is now locked up because of his illegal activity, and will likely never be returned. My opinion is that this Asshole cares little about any of this. He knew prior to the lock-up that this would happen and did nothing to warn his "clients". Now is doing the same thing all over again, even with the possiblility of a repeat. Anyone that places their material on this guys site is a fool. One look at this guy and I say "No thanks".
    jeffmikl
    • Pro Distribution?

      Well, he didnt know or he probably would have avoided arrest. Especially since the arrest was not legal, there is no reason for him to stick around or answer to it. His funds are being withheld today. So how do you assume he was prepared? Well, you have your opinion and a right to it.
      However, I like the service he is offering. There is no reason why all cloud services should not be encrypted. Also, there should be a mass storage solution for distribution of content that is outside the domain of standard distribution companies. These companies steal from their own artists and limit supply. Thank goodness this is happening and what an opporunity for small independent media creators and distributors.
      Pea Wormsworth
  • It's your Data !---don't cry if you did not back it up!

    On line storage is a wonderful backup option. It is also a very convenient way to share files.
    But anyone who is stupid enough to rely on a single cloud storage site to protect anything valuable is an idiot.
    You are responsible for your data!
    Put it in the cloud so you or others can access it universally, but DAMN! back it up on your own end and don't cry if a (free) third party loses something that was vital (that you didn't think was important enough to back up locally)

    I am looking forward to using the site if it gets off the ground, but not stupid enough to trust it with files I have not responsibly backed-up!
    cheftimothy
  • they seem to be checking file name/size to identify duplicates.

    Quote: Because the server can't see filenames, filename collisions have to be dealt with on the client side. With standard settings, if you upload a file that you already seem to have in your account (same target path/filename, same size, same last modification time), it is skipped, but nothing prevents you from keeping multiple files or folders with the same name in the same folder.
    ForeverSPb
  • Backup

    Only a fool puts their backup in the hands of a cloud storage with no local backup.
    If it is valuable and dangerous to lose, then keep it local and encrypted. Sorry but there is no other way.
    rgor@...