Kim Dotcom’s not feeling any love for his own private Internet

Eccentric entrepreneur Kim Dotcom claims to be building a “new private internet” safe from the prying eyes of surveillance communities, but experts say it’s a “preposterous pipe dream.”

MegaNet, expected to launch in 2016, is an encrypted — and allegedly wholly private — peer supported internet. When asked last month to prove whether his network was more than just an idea the mogul told Fairfax Media that it may be just his words now but that “the security community will appraise it and validate this service”.

Unfortunately, the security community has now spoken and they’re extremely sceptical.

“It’s a pipe dream to think that you can fight the national security agencies at their own game,” says Stephen Wilson, managing director of the Lockstep Group.

Remember, this is the brilliant idea where Dotcom is going to use all our smart phones to store encrypted chunks of data for other people.   

The security & encryption expert said security professionals tend to “turn off” as soon as they hear new cryptography & algorithms are involved.

“The claims are fanciful,” he said. “The consumer platforms being proposed are not fit for the intended purpose. And sweeping claims of perfection never stand up to scrutiny.

Mega Net models its file storage system off Blockchain, Bitcoin’s method of recording transactions. With every MegaNet user storing some capacity of the network’s file system on their device, Wilson says it can make them vulnerable to search and seizure by law enforcement.

“There are ways in theory for messages to be split up amongst memory stores, and I can think of ways Dot Com might be doing it,” Wilson said. “But I doubt any mug user could convince authorities, based on the MegaNet brochureware, that there can’t be anything on their phone of interest. Why would law enforcement believe that? So yes, national security agencies would have a case to search the phone.”

Kim Dotcom is basically trying to refine his original MegaUpload ideas by making it harder for authorities to see what he’s up to.   After MegaUpload there was Mega, a supposedly secure environment where nobody but the owner knew what was in your storage space.  Whaleoil believes it holds evidence that throws doubt on this.

Of course, Kim is no longer part of Mega, and now his step-wise refinement of the MegaUpload idea has come to MegaNet – essentially MegaUpload v3.0.  An environment sold to you as “private and secure”, but likely isn’t, and which he will use to drive advertising and more clever reward systems for those that make the platform more attractive.

Kim Dotcom did not respond to a request for comment regarding the analysts’ claims.

Of course not.  I suspect he’s packing up and ready to hop on that boat soon.


– Claire Connelly, The Age

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