Tag Archives: Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom: End government surveillance, encrypt everything

File-sharing megahero Kim Dotcom is giving massive amounts of interviews to accompany his recent launch of Mega.co.nz — the file sharing portal that’s had over a million signups in about a week.

During an interview with Russia Today, Dotcom explained his views on how to end the snooping surveillance state the U.S. government has slowly wrapped around every packet traversing the internet. He wants everyone to start encrypting their online communication:

RT :The new program, Mega, is fully encrypted, and you’re touting it as an encrypted program so that people will want to use it. Do you think this is even necessary, right now, that people need encryption on the Internet?

KD: I think it’s important for the Internet that there is more encryption. Because what I have learned since I got dragged into this case is a lot about privacy abuses, about the government spying on people. You know, the US government invests a lot of money in spy clouds: massive data centers with hundreds of thousands of hard drives storing data. And what they are storing is basically any communication that traverses through US networks. And what that means they are not spying on individuals based on a warrant anymore. They just spy on everybody, permanently, all the time. And what that means for you and for anybody is that if you are ever a target of any kind of investigation, or someone has a political agenda against you, or a prosecutor doesn’t like you, or the police wants to interpret something in a way to get you in trouble — they can use all that data, go through it with a comb and find things even though we think we have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong. They will find something that they can nail you with and that’s why it’s wrong to have these kinds of privacy abuses, and I decided to create a solution that overtime will encrypt more and more of the internet. So we start with files, we will then move to emails, and then move to Voice-Over-IP communication. And our API [Application Programming Interface] is available to any third-party developer to also create their own tools. And my goal is, within the next five years, I want to encrypt half of the Internet. Just reestablish a balance between a person — an individual — and the state. Because right now, we are living very close to this vision of George Orwell and I think it’s not the right way. It’s the wrong path that the government is on, thinking that they can spy on everybody.

Dotcom is so confident in his website that he has already issued a cash prize challenge, saying “Let’s see what you got.” Well Ars Technica went in and told us, “here’s the problem”:

A lot of the issues with Mega’s cryptographic implementation appear to be tied with the desire to make the service as “thin” as possible, requiring only a Javascript-capable browser (preferably Chrome, according to Mega). On one hand, this means there’s no client required, and the Web browser itself functions as the application platform—this simplifies the testing and deployment of new Mega features, since all Kim Dotcom’s guys have to do is update the site’s Javascript files. It also immediately buys total cross-platform compatibility, working on any computer in (just about) any browser.

On the other hand, the documentation and implementation have no small number of weaknesses and potential exploits. The RSA key pair generation process needs to be overhauled post-haste, and there needs to be some method of backing up and modifying a user’s encryption key.

The fact that encrypted data is not a total mystery to Mega is the most troubling issue.

Troubling indeed.

Thankfully we don’t need Dotcom’s Mega to do all the work of file encryption thinking for us. There are many options available out there, such as TrueCrypt. For browser encryption (without reminding yourself to change http to https or relying on site to do it automatically), Firefox and Chrome users can head on over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere project and begin encrypting all their traffic between browser and servers with a simple (and mostly transparent) plugin/add-on. PGP email encryption is nothing new to savvy geeks, even if they still have to send plain-text e-mail to their non-techie families.

Sadly, easy universal encryption has been slow in trickling down to the masses. And even worse: Even when it finally arrives, there remains the problem of a tyrannical government potentially forcing website owners to hand over unencrypted end-point data on users (for all we know, Dotcom’s servers could be raided again, providing a treasure trove of information to the snoops).

But don’t write off cyber privacy as an unwinnable battle just yet, Kim Dotcom may just be on to something, albeit on shaky grounds.

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Kim Dotcom’s new strategy: singing

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at Kim Dotcom’s latest musical public appeal in the ongoing extradition and copyright case against MegaUpload, but props for giving the C-G-Am-F chords a very polished run through in this video aimed at Occupiers, Anonymous and Barack Obama himself.

Fun sidenote: If you’re the president and you’ve somehow managed to alienate New Zealand officials enough that they won’t visit, you’re doing a terrible job.

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Kim Dotcom lays out ten “facts” about his case

From his twitter account, Kim Dotcom continues trying his legal battle in the court of public opinion by explaining the shams foisted upon him by the U.S. DOJ and their puppets in New Zealand:

Fact #1: All my assets are still frozen. I have no funds to pay lawyers & defend myself in the biggest copyright case in world history.

Fact #2: NZ courts ruled: Restraining order illegal. Search warrants illegal. But I still have no access to my files. Not even copies.

Fact #3: NZ court ruled: FBI removed my data from NZ illegally. But the FBI reviewed my hard drives anyway and didn’t send them back.

Fact #4: The DOJ argues in US court that I should not get a penny unfrozen for my defense cause I should be treated like a bank robber.

Fact #5: The DOJ argues in US court that I should not have the lawyers of my choosing because of a conflict of interest with rights holders.

Fact #6: There is no criminal statute for secondary copyright infringement in the US. The DOJ doesn’t care. Let’s just be creative.

Fact #7: Only 10% of our users and 15% of our revenue came from US users. Yet the DOJ argues in US court that all assets are tainted.

Fact #8: The DOJ told the Grand Jury that Megaupload employs 30 staff. In reality 220 jobs were lost because of the US actions.

Fact #9: The DOJ shut down several companies for alleged copyright infringement including N1 Limited – A fashion label making clothing.

Fact #10: The DOJ is charging us with Money Laundering and Racketeering cause Copyright Infringement isn’t enough for Extradition from NZ.

While it is very easily arguable that Megaupload and Megavideo were being used for copyright infringement at some level — something he’s acknowledged and had a response system in place to remove said infringing content — the DOJ’s response to the daily onslaught of Google/YouTube infringement claims in an entirely different manner can only explained as quid pro quo.

The unfortunate lesson: if you want to run a large internet company unmolested by Uncle Sam, you had better grease the right palms in DC.

UPDATE: According to a report last month from Stuff.co.nz, Dotcom is being denied access to evidence (except 40 pages of the prosecution’s “cherry-picked” items from over 22 million emails) as he fights the ongoing and financially exhaustive extradition battle, he has threatened to publish what little information has been released by the DOJ to his legal team to the public in a bid to win sympathy.

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U.S. failing to re-imprison or silence Kim Dotcom

On January 20th, Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz), the New Zealand Megaupload founder and internet superstar was bum-rushed by an two-year FBI investigation that culminated in an early-morning paramilitary raid and seizure on everything Dotcom owned and then some. In fact the “and then some” should have you worried, if you’re an online entrepreneur.

U.S. authorities managed to convince the New Zealand anti-terrorist squad that operating a file hosting website (or piracy enabler as the opposition would so crassly frame it) warranted “… armed officers arrived in helicopters and dropped into the Dotcom mansion courtyard.” Police turned off and seized servers, sending legitimate paying customers in a frenzy. Anyone who critically relied upon the Megaupload company has been up shit’s creek without a paddle since.

Now it seems Kim Dotcom is starting to get the upper hand in his defense and public relations nightmare — which will no doubt be lengthy and costly to pursue for both sides. He’s gained access to $74,000 to pay creditors, and is asking for an additional $220,000 to cover additional household, legal and business related expenses. I assume his success is trying to be used as an easy target of ridicule, but we can’t simply swallow the prosecution’s assertion that he’s some kind of thief who will disappear in the night because he’s successful. see more…

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