Quite a while ago, Kim Dotcom told the world that he was going to create a safer version of Skype that was completely encrypted and hidden from prying eyes.
Today, he made the official announcement that the new service called MegaChat is now available in beta form. MegaChat aims to let users share files safely through an encrypted chat service, and it’s already turning a few heads.
Kim Dotcom wanted to build a chat system that was both safe and easy to use, which is why MegaChat works with any browser. You don’t need to use a special browser in order to use MegaChat, and plugins for Google’s Chrome and Firefox are available for “faster loading.” Kim Dotcom claims that no US-based chat service (so, Skype) can be trusted for safe file sharing, which is why MegaChat was created.
Users can share files with each other through MegaChat using encryption keys that have been previous shared amongst users. So, if you give your friend the right decryption key, they can access the file that you send through MegaChat.
The whole idea is to send files that can’t be hacked into by government officials, which DotCom claims happens all the time. He told press that services like Skype are susceptible to government hacking simply because companies have no choice but to comply. DotCom’s own service will not be the same, and nobody will be able to access sent files.
Off US Grounds
MegaChat is currently based in New Zealand, which DotCom claims is the safest place for the company right now. By not owning a company that’s based in the US, DotCom does not have to comply with any government requests. In addition to file sharing, DotCom has told press that chat, video, and email would all be added to the service in the next few months. Right now, the beta version only includes file sharing options.
In order to make sure that the service remains secure, DotCom is offering a “security bounty” to anyone that reports flaws to the company. Flaws that are reported, investigated, and found to be true will result in a reward for the person that originally reported the flaw. DotCom’s hope is that by providing a reward, people will report flaws, and the service will remain secure. There is currently some speculation as to whether or not MegaChat is as secure as DotCom would like everyone to believe, but it’s possible that the bounty offered will help with those concerns.
Is New Zealand Really Safe?
Some speculate that the US government can actually tap into any company based in New Zealand with the right governmental cooperation. It also stands to reason that anyone using such a service in another country (like the US) might have to play by different rules.
If this service does sound appealing to you, MegaChat is now in beta, and you can start using the file sharing services immediately if you can obtain beta permission. Otherwise, you will have to wait to use the service along with most other people that want to test it out. Keep in mind that if you do find a flaw, you can gain a reward.