On January 20, a year after Megaupload was raided in 2012, Kim Dotcom launched his new file-storage service Mega.
In a matter of days the site’s membership shot from zero to more than a million and in the months that followed the site continued to develop and expand its userbase.
Today the company announced that Mega had exited beta and CEO Vikram Kumar informs TorrentFreak that the service now has about five million users who together have uploaded 435 million files.
While Mega is sometimes described as a file-hosting site, its future plans are to be much more than that. “The immediate focus right now is to give Mega the equivalent function of Dropbox,” Kumar says.
Later this month the company plans to release its long-awaited sync client, which will allow users to keep files backed up across multiple devices. Around the same time the iOS app will also be ready for a public release.
Mega’s iOS app
Once Mega can rival Dropbox it will finalize the development of several encrypted communication tools. These are expected to be launched in a few months and include text, voice and video communication, all straight from the browser.
“The second focus is going to be on encrypted communications, which will build on cloud storage and collaboration,” Kumar tells TorrentFreak.
“There will be chat, voice and video, all in the browser without having to download a separate application or install plugins, it should just work,” he adds.
Mega’s encrypted chat/h5>
The third focus of the company is to combine the first two and create a solid encrypted storage platform that app developers can use to develop their own privacy-focused tools.
After all, Mega has branded itself the Privacy Company.
“For us privacy means that the user controls their data and files, and that it can’t be snooped on. Mega can only see encrypted bits of information. We never look at the file or the message, and if we can’t look at it we can never give it to anyone else to have a look at it either,” Kumar says.
When Mega launched in January there was some skepticism from copyright holders who feared that it would cause as much trouble as Megaupload, but according to the company’s CEO these worries have mostly waned away.
“435 million files have been uploaded to Mega in the first nine months and the amount of alleged copyright infringement notices is 0.05 percent. A very low number compared to other services,” Kumar says.
Mega is currently pushing 160 gigabits in bandwidth per second, which at the current growth rate is expected to rise to 500 gigabits per second in the first quarter of next year.
Finally, Mega’s CEO responded to our previous commentary that while Mega may be very secure, it is certainly not anonymous. The company stores users’ email addresses permanently and IP-address logs are retained for months, depending on the location of the server.
“We store IP-addresses with a time-stamp. The retention period tends to vary based on the legal requirements. For example, Germany requires six months of data storage, so the retention periods have to be in line with the countries we operate in,” Kumar says.
However, Mega’s CEO stresses that users can be as anonymous as they wish by using Tor or another anonymizing service, in combination with a throwaway email address.
“Mega is compatible with anonymizing techniques such as Tor. We don’t take any steps whatsoever to try to determine is a person is using Mega anonymously or not, that’s their choice,” he says.
It will be interesting to see how Mega’s new services are received in the coming months. With all the talk about intercepted communication and other forms of spying, the timing is certainly right. And with Kim Dotcom as expert witness, the company has an excellent poster child.