The NSA PRISM scandal and the global increase in online surveillance has increased the demand for more private means of communications.
The traceless search engine DuckDuckGo has witnessed a massive boost in visitors, and this week the new encrypted messaging service from Peter Sunde raised $100,000 via crowd-funding in just one day.
Kim Dotcom’s Mega, which brands itself as “The Privacy Company,” is also expanding its offering in the encryption niche. Currently the site allows users to store their files fully encrypted, but the company will soon expand its services with several private communication tools.
Mega is working with a team of developers to launch a private messaging platform and an encrypted email service. Kim Dotcom informs TorrentFreak that the web-based messenger is scheduled to be released this summer and other communication services will follow soon after.
“We expect to have messaging within Mega in four to six weeks, and within apps in two to three months A full-scale encrypted email service is expected to be released in six to nine months,” Dotcom told us.
“That’s the roadmap. There is always a chance for delays depending on the challenges we encounter,” he adds.
Mega’s CEO Vikram Kumar confirmed that the new tools are in the works. In a blog post he mentions that there’s a new crypto-war going on, which is certainly not limited to the recent NSA revelations.
“Global concerns over governments collecting, storing, and analyzing all Internet traffic is growing. New laws are sprouting everywhere like the UK’s proposed ‘Snooper’s Charter,’ metadata retention for law enforcement agencies in Australia, and an update to lawful interception in New Zealand,” Kumar notes.
The authorities are not fond of encryption, although they have a good track record of cracking it, but Kumar stresses this is nothing new. In 1997 the FBI voiced concerns that encryption allowed “drug lords, spies, terrorists, and even violent gangs” to hide their illegal activities.
“Exactly the same concerns still drive the continuing war on crypto. Only, this time, the vocabulary has been updated to include words like national security, cyber espionage, and paedophiles,” Kumar writes.
While some of the concerns may be warranted, that doesn’t mean that ordinary people should allow Governments to sift through their private communications. This is the main reason why Mega will roll out their new services soon.
According to Mega’s CEO, governments will have to accept that people will stand up for their privacy, as is their right.
“One thing is certain: the end result will be the same as the previous battles- an uneasy truce in which governments will accept that they have limited ability to control crypto being used by people and businesses.”
“That will be a victory for the public good and the Internet’s indispensable role in our daily lives. Until the next crypto battle erupts,” Kumar concludes.