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Kim Dotcom's Mega vows to create useable encrypted email for the masses

Following the recent corporate self-termination of the encrypted email systems, Lavabit (the same service used by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden) and Silent Circle, Kim Dotcom’s privacy-crusading Mega organization is vowing to step-up with a new encrypted email and voice services.

ZDNet interviewed Mega’s CEO Vikram Kumar who said that Mega was working on delivering secure email and voice services. However, rather than just offering encrypted emails, Kumar hinted that Mega would include functionality that most consumers have come to expect such as the ability to search through emails. This is “not quite impossible [for true end-to-end encryption services], but very, very hard. That’s why even Silent Circle didn’t go there,” Kumar said.

Mega’s website already had a section promising that the company will provide its signature browser-based “User Controlled Encryption” for “a wide range of applications” including emails, calls, chats, and video streams.

A history of troublemaking

Mega (short for Mega Encrypted Global Access) made its name providing “an awesome cloud-storage service that will help protect your privacy.” The organization promises secure and private cloud storage using browser-based encryption, though the service has faced some skepticism from security experts, much of which has since been acknowledged in the site’s FAQ section.

Mega provides a free 50GB of encrypted cloud storage to anyone, but also offers Pro accounts that range from €100/year (around $133) for 500GB of storage and 1TB of bandwidth to €300/year ($400) for 4TB of storage and 8TB of bandwidth.

Kim Dotcom keeping it cool

The company was originally born as me.ga, but was forced to switch to New Zealand based mega.co.nz after the Gabonese government seized the domain because it did not want its top-level domain used by people who “do not respect international laws and regulations.”

Mega is the latest collaboration for Megaupload-founder Dotcom. Megaupload was the popular Hong Kong-based file hosting service that was shuttered by the US Department of Justice early last year on allegations of rampant copyright infringement. Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) currently faces extradition to the United States from his current home in New Zealand on copyright infringement charges.

Dotcom has since become somewhat of a privacy icon and celeb in certain circles (over 300k followers on Twitter—not too shabby). Interesting enough, his new service may face some competition from a fellow icon of the unfiltered Web: Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde who is in the process of developing what he refers to a “totally secure” mobile-messaging app.

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