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Sunday, January 20, 2013
THINK BIG: Kim Dotcom at the launch of his cloud-based file storage site Mega.co.nz.

CODES AND KEYS

Dotcom says Mega is a different beast to Megaupload, as the new site enables users to control exactly which users can access uploaded files, in contrast with its predecessor, which allowed users to search files, some of which contained copyrighted content allegedly used without permission.

A sophisticated encryption system will allow users to encode their files before they upload them onto the site's servers, which Dotcom said were located in New Zealand and overseas. He declined to specify where.

Each file will then be issued a unique, sophisticated decryption key which only the file holder will control, allowing them to share the file as they choose.

As a result, the site's operators would have no access to the files, which they say would strip them from any possible liability for knowingly enabling users to distribute copyright-infringing content, which Washington says is illegal.

"Even if we wanted to, we can't go into your file and snoop and see what you have in there," the burly Dotcom said.

Dotcom - a German national who also goes by the name Kim Schmitz - and his colleagues face years in prison if they are convicted, although the case is expected to drag on for years.

Known as much for his previous cyber crime-related arrests as his penchant for fast cars and yacht parties, Dotcom promised an extravagant launch for Mega as builders put the finishing to a festival-sized concert stage in the mansion's grounds.

Two helicopters circled overhead as workers erected a massive white replica of Mega's capitalised, block-lettered logo on the hills flanking the approach to the mansion. Dotcom was coy about what guests could expect from the event.

Expecting huge interest in its first month of operation, he said Mega's launch will be a far cry from when Megaupload went live in 2005.

Then, he and his colleagues were glued to their computer screens in a tiny office, cheering each time the counter showing the number of hits on the site ticked up towards 10.

"I would be surprised if we had less than 1 million users," Dotcom said.

He built it. They came. Then the government took it away, and so he built it again. And they came yet again.

Today, an hour after he flipped the switch from no to go on Mega.co.nz, precisely one year after Megaupload was scuttled by the government, Kim Dotcom announced that his new service has totted up 100,000 registered users in its first hour as a live product.

He openly wondered if the feat made Mega the “[f]astest growing startup in Internet history?” TNW isn’t sure about that, but hitting six figure usership in double digit minutes is damn impressive regardless.

On the eve of the launch, chatter was loud that Mega would be launched under a .co domain, and not a .co.nz TLD, over fear of the New Zealand government taking punitive action. Thus far that fear appears to have been either mistimed, or groundless given that Mega is up and cruising along.

Given the stunning demise of Megaupload, which led to the freezing of endless quantities of both pirate and legitimate data, the launch of Mega is construable as a challenge of sorts: take it down again, Kim dares you. Kim himself has called the new service “100% Safe & Unstoppable.” Another challenge.

And there is one more one more, from Kim to the MPAA. He released the following image, saying “Look at this @MPAA. Lets talk!:”

2013 01 19 10h58 50 Mega hits 100,000 registered users in one hour as Kim Dotcom teases MPAA with MegaMovie screenshot

We’ll see what happens, but the site is proving to be tremendously popular. A prior tweet from its founder noted that it had gone from “0 to 10 Gigabit bandwidth utilization within 10 minutes.” It’s likely using more now. When the dust settles, Mega will likely have a seven-figure usership by the time it celebrates the conclusion of its first day.

Top Image Credit: Niklas Freidwall

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