New Zealand multi-millionaire Kim Dotcom has launched a new file-sharing website that promises greater privacy and defies U.S. prosecutors who have charged him wih online piracy for his old web site Megaupload.com.
Dotcom unveiled Mega.co.nz at his New Zealand mansion on Sunday night, the one year anniversary of his arrest on racketeering charges for Megaupload.com, which he started in 2005, reports the Associated Press.
Dotcom's launch party (video below) featured a comedic re-enactment of the police raid on his home a year earlier, when New Zealand police swooped down in helicopters and arrested him in a safe room where he was hiding.
Dotcom said half a million users registered for Mega in its first 14 hours.
U.S. authorities are trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where he is free on bail. Prosecutors say Dotcom made tens of millions of dollars while filmmakers and songwriters lost $500 million in copyright revenue.
Dotcom may be breaking his word to the court by launching his new site. He said in a Feb. 15, 2012 affidavit: "I can assure the Court that I have no intention and there is no risk of my reactivating the Megaupload.com website or establishing a similar Internet-based business during the period until the resolution of the extradition proceedings."
Mega, like MegaUpload.com, allows users to store and share large files. It offers 50 gigabytes of free storage, much more than Dropbox and Google Drive, and features a drag-and-drop upload tool.
The decryption keys for uploaded files are held by the users, not Mega, which means the company can't see what's in the files being shared. Mega calls itself a "the privacy company" and claims it can't be held liable for content that it cannot see.
Dotcom said of the new website: "If someone sends something illegal in an envelope through your postal service, you don't shut down the post office."