New search engine for Dotcom's Mega site may be boon for pirates
Digital pirates scouring for content on Kim Dotcom's new Mega storage site now have a search engine at their disposal.
Unlike a typical search engine that "crawls" a site for information and creates a searchable index from that data, the Mega search engine, called Mega-Search.Me, depends on Mega users to post links to their content to Mega-Search. That's because Mega's architecture doesn't allow search engines to crawl its content.
The combination of Mega with the new search engine -- which Mega denies having any connection to -- could lead to the kind of activity that forced Mega's predecessor, Megaupload, to be shuttered by the U.S. Justice Department and FBI and Dotcom to spend some jail time in New Zealand.
In order to avoid a repeat of that scenario, Mega encrypts files stored in its cloud so that only the person uploading the files knows what's in them.
Mega's encryption scheme has been questioned by some security experts, but Mega's chief technology officer, Mathias Ortmann, has defended the security of the site. Ortmann says that the scenarios the experts cite could be launched against any Internet site, including those operated by banks.
Some criticisms, however, were embraced by Mega. For example, there is no mechanism for recovering encrypted files if a user's password is lost or forgotten. Mega says it will address that issue in the near future.
The randomness used to create master encryption keys was also questioned by critics. Although lots of randomness is already built into the system, Mega asserts, it will add a feature that allows users to manually add more randomness to key generation.
On its landing page, Mega-Search has a prominent button at the top of the screen that links to Mega's copyright infringement notice. That notice declares:
"You are strictly prohibited from using our services to infringe copyright. You may not upload, download, store, share, display, stream, distribute, e-mail, link to, transmit or otherwise make available any files, data, or content that infringes any copyright or other proprietary rights of any person or entity. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us."
It didn't take long for rights holders to take Mega at its word. Just 10 days after the file locker launched, it received 150 copyright infringement notices for about 250 files stored on the system.