Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Mega O.K. For White Collars!

Mega Attracts White-Collar Professionals, Not Pirates

Mega’s CEO Vikram Kumar claims that Dotcom’s cloud storage service is appealing less to pirates and more to white-collar professionals: accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, architects. In other words, Mega’s users are people who are concerned that their confidential client data may get compromised, and therefore are willing to pay for online security and privacy.

Kim Dotcom started Mega in January, exactly a year after his previous company MegaUpload was closed by police, and recruited telecoms exec Kumar as CEO of the new company. Vikram Kumar was keen to emphasize Mega’s credentials as a law-abiding service. Its simplest explanation is that it is a secure and faster Dropbox. At the moment, it is a cloud storage company, but it is planning to turn into more of a cloud collaboration and communication company.

Mega, which accounts for 5 million customers at the moment, is currently attracting few copyright takedown notices from copyright owners. The service has about 2-3 million files uploaded every day, while getting only 100 takedown notices for alleged copyright violation. In comparison, YouTube receives 15 million takedown requests per month. As you can see, Mega isn’t being used for wide-scale copyright violation.

One of the main advantages of the service is its end-to-end encryption technology. Mega promises users that since their files are encrypted on their devices before being uploaded, the company can never see the decrypted versions – and nobody can, until the user provides their decryption key. Perhaps, this is the real reason the service receives so few takedown requests: rightsholders simply cannot see infringing files being shared on the service without the keys.

In response, Vikram Kumar suggested that if the main concern of the copyright owners is their music or video being shared, they are still be able to spot this violation, because it requires decryption keys to be shared publicly. In the meantime, Mega is going to crack down on external search engines claiming to index files stored on the service.

Finally, Mega’s CEO criticized copyright owners for their approach to copyright takedowns with other companies, saying that the automated nature of both sending takedown notices and acting on them leaves the process open to false positives. The examples are numerous.

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