The man who gave the US authorities the middle finger. Profile: Kim Dotcom

– By James Allen

Megaupload.com used to be the pinnacle of internet sharing and storage hosting. For those of you not in the know: megaupload allowed users to upload data (in the form of videos, pictures, mp3s, etc) and let other users download them for free. It sounds like an internet mecca, a golden peak of the World Wide Web, and indeed it was. This glorious site, which, just before closing, had 180m registered users (roughly one tenth of facebook’s user count) and at least 500m other monthly non-registered users, became a second home of the internet pirates. Along with megaupload, and its sister site, megavideo, users were sharing billions and billions of dollars’ worth of illegal content, pirated movies, bootleg mp3s and illegal images. It became the target of every major anti-pirating agency on US soil: The FBI, the department of justice, and the IPR (intellectual property rights) center. The website was seized, closed, and made an example of to others who considered founding a similar site. This was probably one of the most significant days of the internet since it’s very founding, a bloody battle (more of a slaughter) that left its (now famous) German-born creator, Kim Dotcom, looking for payback.

(see the seized website here, an eerie, yet fitting, gravestone for this slice of internet history)

Well, the day of reckoning is upon us. After a year of solid work, Kim Dotcom, on this very day, January 19th, 2013, will open a new site simply named “Mega”. A new, revamped, encrypted site, modelled on the original megaupload.

So how is he not expecting history to repeat itself? Surely he, of all people, has reasons to avoid this (I’m sure the military helicopters that swooped in to arrest him in his New Zealand villa left him slightly afraid of Big Brother), but he assures his loyal followers (myself numbered among them) that failure is not an option this time round. The site will use new encryption software that encrypts data that uploads WITHIN the browser, instead of on your computer as it did in megaupload. This new model has been made possible thanks to new HTML5 browsers, powerful enough to handle the code involved in such a project.

Kim has completed this project while held under house arrest in his extravagant Villa in New-Zealand.  When the final megaupload court case was closed, it left Kim with a large part of his vast wealth safely back in the pocket of Hollywood studios, angered with the loss of billions of dollars from Kim’s site, and still complaining that it was not adequate compensation. However, I assure you that this did not get in the way of this slightly odd man’s crazy lifestyle, that involves his own golf course, a superyacht named ‘Amnesia’, a selection of supercars (each with carefully selected license plates: “GOD”, “HACKER” and “MAFIA”), and of course, a stunning modern villa with huge grounds and a maze. While I sadly have not had the chance to meet the man himself, those who have say he is just a jolly German guy who has no bad intentions, and a heart of gold. Pictures taken by the Guardian with him posing around his house, cars and on his yacht reveal some hilariously ludicrous images of a man lost in the life of a Bond villain. Those images can be found here.

I started writing this article but a few hours ago, and Kim promised early this morning that the site would open any time now. Those of us who relish the opportunity to use a site like mega have our eyes carefully glued to the screen and our mouse pointers hovering over the refresh button. Join the wait and prepare for a new page of internet history to be written at http://mega.co.nz/

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