Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom says his new and improved file storage site could not have been made without the "fresh start" he got after New Zealand and United States authorities raided his Auckland home and shut down Megaupload.
Mega opened for business today, exactly a year after Dotcom’s arrest on copyright piracy and racketeering charges. He tweeted this morning that the site had achieved 250,000 registrations and the servers were overloading but still functional.
At a launch party tonight, fake police abseiled from the walls of his $30 million Coatesville mansion and a helicopter with ‘‘FBI’’ painted on it flew overhead in a mock re-creation of a dramatic police raid on the estate last year.
"When you use Mega you say no to those who want to spy on you. And you say yes to internet freedom and your right to privacy," Dotcom said, speaking from a large stage at the party.
While some people had nothing to hide, most people wanted to keep their data secret from governments and corporations, he said.
In a media briefing this afternoon, Dotcom said his new site, which encrypts users files "on the fly" as they are uploaded to its cloud storage network, would not have been developed if he had not been arrested.
"It wouldn't have even been possible to do this. No one else who is currently in business in the file storage arena can just update their site and be like us, you have to start from scratch
"From that perspective this fresh start for Mega is a good thing."
Dotcom said it was his goal to list the company on the New Zealand stock exchange.
While Dotcom’s arrest meant Megaupload was shutdown and many of his assets frozen, it has not precluded him from renewing work on products which push the boundaries of file-sharing and content ownership rights.
He said he was worried the closure of Megaupload might scare people off his newest venture but the amount of traffic to the site had surpassed his expectations.
He was keen to stay in New Zealand if extradition proceedings lodged by the United States government did not succeed, but said that would depend on whether the New Zealand government was willing to leave him in peace.
"My biggest fear is if we succeed [in fighting extradition] will there be an end - will that be enough [for them] to say, 'OK we made a mistake, leave this guy alone' or will the people in government and the senior people in law enforcement take this defeat and be bitter about it and try and find something else [on me]."
He also said the single fibre cable carrying internet traffic in and out of New Zealand was choking business development in the country and he wanted to work with the backers of failed company Pacific Fibre to break the Southern Cross cable's monopoly.
"At the moment there's a giant wall shielding New Zealand saying, 'Go away, internet businesses don't come here, we don't have cheap connectivity we don't have good connectivity and we are raiding IT companies', and that's of course bad for New Zealand."
Dotcom and others accused in the Megaupload piracy case are preparing to fight an extradition hearing, scheduled for later this year.
- Auckland Now