Kim Dotcom wants Mega servers in Australia



blog We’re pretty sure you’ve noticed by now that our sister country New Zealand plays host to one of the most controversial global Internet entrepreneurs. Kim Dotcom, the founder of now-defunct file sharing site Megaupload, likes to live life loud and proud, and he’s not ashamed to let everyone around him know about it. That same ethos has applied over the weekend as Dotcom has launched his newest venture, yet another file-sharing site named Mega. But what you may not know is that Dotcom also wants to expand his infrastructure across the ditch. The Financial Review reports this morning (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“We’re certainly interested in and will have a strategy for the Australian market,” he said. “We want to have one rack full of servers in Australia and be in the local markets close to our customers.”

I have to say, it would be interesting to find out what hosting company or datacentre operator would enthusiastically sign up to host Dotcom’s new Mega service, given the way that his last venture went down, with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscating much of Megaupload’s physical IT infrastructure and the court case still ongoing. When asked about hosting similarly controversial site Wikileaks several years ago, several local hosting companies were quite leery of the idea. Interesting times.

Image credit: Thierry Ehrmann, Creative Commons


  1. Wikileaks content isn’t quite the same as a file sharing site, Renai. The former can get you into a whole lot more trouble, relatively speaking. Treason and Sedition can carry a bit stiffer penalties.

    Having said that, good luck to Kim trying to host content here; Rights Holders are a bit more active in AU, and they do so like to skip the court system.

  2. I’m one who had traditionally rolled my eyes over any mention of Mr. Dotcom, but I have to say that I’m finding myself more and more interested in it and hoping that it succeeds.

    A very respectable German hosting company has already signed up and is the initial host for MEGA. Apparently over 20 lawyers have been working on MEGA’s business plan, including NZ’s biggest law firm, a QC, and specialist IP lawyers both in NZ and US. I am actually pretty confident that this new venture is going to be legally bulletproof (mostly because if it is illegal, so are Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive).

    Also, the fact that everything is encrypted means that a host can rightfully argue that it would have no way of knowing what content is infringing and what’s not. If anyone has an issue with anything hosted on MEGA, they have to go get a warrant for that individual file and then ask the owner to decrypt the file. MEGA and the underlying hosting company have basically taken themselves out of the picture with encryption.

  3. Also, the fact that everything is encrypted means that a host can rightfully argue that it would have no way of knowing what content is infringing and what’s not.

    This hasn’t stopped Rights Holders going after ISPs. Regardless of any encryption people might use, they seem to believe it’s an irrelevance.

    They are determined to retain control; I’m not confident there won’t be a lot of teeth-gnashing and attempts to kill the model. I hope it does succeed, if for no better reason that it introducing competition and to help make content more available..

    Really tired of the excuse that content can’t be made available, timely, for a reasonable fee.

    • Encryption is not irrelevant. They can claim whatever they want to claim, but practically speaking, their options will be very limited with encrypted content. Encryption would mean that they cannot, with a single warrant, take hold of all the data that’s stored in a host. Their warrants has to now be very specific, and if they want anything, they need to go to whoever uploaded the file cause that is the only person that would be able to decrypt it. It also means that the government won’t have access to everyone else’s data as a by product of a single warrant against an individual.

      It’s like MEGA has started a bank with a private safe, and by default, even it doesn’t have the keys to the safe. So if you want anything that’s stored in a particular safe, you have to go get a warrant and compel whoever stored it in the first place to go and open the safe.

  4. Never been a big supporter of crazy Kim (how could you be?) but who can turn down 50GB of free encrypted storage, 1GB file sizes (something that pisses me off about Box’s 50GB free is their 250MB file limit) and a slick new website with mobile apps for all platforms on the way?

    He and his team have made this into something quite unique, and it will be interesting to see how authorities react. I’m just making sure I don’t upload anything too special or that I don’t have archived elsewhere, given there’s always that feeling that the site could be shut down at any time (although from the sounds of it, that will now be a million times harder to do under thanks to heavy encryption, and plenty of mirrors worldwide).

    • No crazier than Clive Palmer or Richard Branson.

      Personally, I like the idea that there’s filthy rich people that know how to have some fun with the money they’ve made.

      • Yeah but Clive is a bit of a dick and so is Kim. Both self-centric arseholes. Branson is the only one of those three I have respect for. However both Kim and Clive Palmer are massively entertaining with their giant egos and crazy ideas (and I’ll happily utilise Kim’s services) so its still good to be able to have them around for entertainment :)

  5. I’m sure if they audited Amazon they’d find a whole lot more illegal content than was on megaupload.

    But hey, cant upset the “big players”, just like LAE’s let facebook run riot, too scared to do anything.

    Germany has shown many times before they wont be bullied by Washington, and are very fair in their court judgements, meaning no amount of lobbying/pressure/pay-offs by representatives of rights holders will change how they judge a case or write laws.

    • Some of the German courts are amongst the most pro-copyright in the world.

      Unusual situation where they (mostly) flip the US the bird, but then find grannies guilty of illegal downloading, despite not even owning a computer.

  6. Given the Australian Government’s reaction to anything the US Govt dislikes (wikileaks, alleged terrorists that have had no charges formally laid and no actual evidence brought against them) and the noises that have been agitated over the years about changing the laws here to criminalise alleged copyright infringement, I find it unlikely Mr Dotcom will find local regulators greeting him with open arms – more likely he will be forced to jump through numerous onerous and unique legal and regulatory hoops before he allowed a local Australian operation. It is likely that any prospective host will have unofficial pressure from Govt and law enforcement discourage their involvement, too.

    • As alluded to by others, what would be the difference between an Amazon, or Skydrive, or similar hosted within Australia and Kim Dotcom’s version thereof?

      His new setup actually seems a lot more wholesome than storage such as Sky drive in fact, given that it seems only the uploader has the encryption keys needed to unlock the data. Compare this with Sky Drive where MS have been accused of closing accounts after they found “illegal” data (see for example ). Im fairly sure google and apple etc mine the crap out of their storage as well; don’t take this as a singling out of the MS offering.

  7. I think the “given the way that his last venture went down” part may still be a little premature. I mean, the last business is certainly defunct now, but the court case last I saw doesn’t seem to be a one way affair. This is especially true now with the whole AS thing and various political poking of the DOJ.

    Apologies to those who find the linking of AS and Kim Dotcom’s names distasteful, I quite agree.

  8. This would be an excellent time to get established in Australia, while ISPs and rights-holders discuss how ISPs should police traffic. Might be a bit harder if people start encrypting their traffic, as MEGA does.

    Of course, given that we’re practically the 51st state there may be other impediments.

  9. Well looks like I spoke too soon.

    The encryption is, for the most part, just symmetric, which means it’s only as strong as your password.

    There appears to be scope for de-duplication, which means MEGA somehow is aware of the contents being uploaded and is not just encrypting them. This is most worrisome, and throws all my arguments about MEGA not knowing what is being stored in its safe, out.

    • Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I should have guessed that a.) all was not as it seemed at MEGA, and that b.) ArsTechnica would have pulled things apart and got to the inner workings of this already :) Great report and I agree this does change a lot. Kim’s big encryption pitch about ‘not even we know what you are uploading’ suddenly appears to be a giant lie.

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