With all the hoopla and fanfare surrounding the launch of internet mogul Kim Dotcom’s new venture - Mega – the important message is getting drowned out by the frenzied buzz of mouse clicks and the steady hum of file uploads. Sure, the new cloud storage service offered by Mega is at least ten times the size of its main rivals, which is more than enough reason to join, and the ability to share files is handy for, well, yes, that satisfying activity with the now oft-considered dirty word ‘file-sharing’. Governments the world over are ramming through anti file-sharing legislation in what seems akin to anti-masturbation policy – most politicians consider file-sharing a dirty activity practised by spotty teenagers, alone, in front of a computer at night, and something they should feel morbidly ashamed about. But despite your preference to partake or abstain in mutual cloud-based digital gratification, the feature that should be perking our interest the most is that Mega makes a really good effort to keep your stuff private.
Okay, the motives to make Mega a secure cloud storage locker are borne from the seizure of Dotcom’s hugely successful former website MagaUpload. Yes, people were using MegaUpload to share copyrighted films and music, and yes this is technically illegal. But for the US government to seize control of MegaUpload and to annihilate the right to privacy for every single one of the digital citizens that where members of this on-line community is going too far. It’s a smack in the face for free speech and it reeks of totalitarianism.
Privacy is a basic human right, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Despite this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to communicate privately and to use the internet privately. More and more companies are collecting data about your internet behaviour (Google is the worst offender, tracking you everywhere over the internet). Governments are investing billions of dollars into massive spy clouds to capture all your digital data and communications. By fearmongering, governments have convinced the electorate the right to privacy is outweighed by the threat of terrorism or the sin of file-sharing. If you don’t have anything to hide, they say, you shouldn’t mind us spying on you.
But privacy isn’t about hiding things, it’s about safety and shelter.
Privacy is about much broader values than just hiding things. It’s about the human need for refuge from the eye of the community and the importance of maintaining the balance of power between individuals and the state.
- Kim Dotcom.
You don’t have anything to hide when you take a piss but it doesn’t mean that companies and governments should be allowed to spy on you while you do it. Your toilet is a refuge.
By providing user controlled encryption (UCE), Mega differentiates itself from other cloud storage providers by letting account holders govern the encryption keys – it’s up to user’s to decide who to grant or deny access to their files. Because the encryption takes place in the web browser, there is no need for any risky software installs.
But shouldn’t all this be the norm? It seems odd to be talking about internet freedom and privacy as a revolution, but it really is.
#Mega is the PRIVACY company. Not the PIRACY company.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 1, 2013