January 23, 2013, 3:02 PM —
He has a name like a cheesy cartoon superhero and a personality to match. Yet Kim Dotcom has Hollywood soiling its collective shorts over his latest adventure in file sharing, dubbed simply Mega.
In case you haven’t been following the news, Mega is Dotcom’s sequel to MegaUpload, the wildly popular digital locker service that got shut down last January by the Feds, which included a SWAT raid of Dotcom’s New Zealand megamansion worthy of a Schwarzenegger film.
Mega launched last Sunday, though “launch” is really inadequate to describe it. The service exploded off the launchpad but then sputtered and has been hovering in midair ever since, like a butterfly with a broken wing. Dotcom says so many people signed up so quickly that the service has not had a chance to find its footing. Maybe. I’ve been trying to use if for five days now, and it’s still extremely buggy and unreliable.
What’s noteworthy about Mega is that Dotcom has branded Mega a “privacy” service, thanks to its implementation of browser-based end-user encryption. If you sign up for Mega and upload files, they’re automatically scrambled using 2048-bit AES encryption, theoretically rendering them inaccessible to anyone who does not possess the key to decrypt them. You can get 50GB of storage for free (ads will come later), or store up to 4TB for $30 a month.
Sounds good, right? Well, maybe not. There a a ton of caveats. Here are the biggest ones.
* The encryption really only works if you use Chrome. Sure, you can sign up via Firefox or IE, but you won’t get the full benefit. And the accounts I've tried to set up in either browser just stop working shortly thereafter.
* There’s no way to recover or change your login data. Lose your password, lose your files. And in my tests, Mega routinely ‘lost’ the login info for the accounts I created in IE and Firefox.