New Encrypted Email Services Coming From Kim Dotcom's Mega And Newzbin

from the unintended-effects dept

A month ago, we wrote about Kim Dotcom’s plans to form his own political party in New Zealand. But that’s not the only way that Dotcom is going on the attack against the system. Here’s Vikram Kumar, the Chief Executive of Dotcom’s “privacy company” Mega, on another bold move:

Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar told ZDNet that the company was being asked to deliver secure email and voice services. In the wake of the closures [of other email services like Lavabit], he expanded on his plans.

Kumar said work is in progress, building off the end-to-end encryption and contacts functionality already working for documents in Mega.

That’s not going to be easy, as both Lavabit and Silent Circle know too well. Despite that challenge, Mega isn’t the only company hoping to meet it. Another, rather surprisingly perhaps, is Newzbin, best known as a UK Usenet aggregator. TorrentFreak explains:

according to the site’s former lawyer, Newzbin intends to make a comeback with new services designed to defeat NSA spying.

“We are horrified by the recently disclosed antics of the NSA in indiscriminately spying on all Internet users,” David Harris told TorrentFreak.

“We cut our teeth protecting our users from the surveillance of corrupt US corporations like the Hollywood movie studios. We now plan to bring a range of privacy services to help protect the public from governments. Our first product is a secure email service which is about to enter closed early beta testing.”

What’s interesting here is the common thread with Dotcom. Both he and Newzbin’s David Harris ran services that tried to resist unwanted scrutiny. That puts both of them in a good position when it comes to establishing secure email services — at least, insofar that is possible given the limitations imposed by email’s architecture. It looks like the US government’s uncritical support for the copyright industry’s frenzied pursuit of file-sharing sites could ultimately lead to the creation of new online services that thwart its law agencies in the far more important area of national security.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and on Google+

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: mega, newzbin

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “New Encrypted Email Services Coming From Kim Dotcom's Mega And Newzbin”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
out_of_the_blue says:

Definition of "pirate": on the attack against the system,

of laws that have been made by productive people to protect their investsments of time in labor to create goods. Dotcom is using the millions he got illegally by grifting off those products to try and build another means of piracy and support for theft, that’s all.

Speaking of “pirates”, here’s one in San Francisco:

FBI seizes ?Silk Road? black market domain, arrests founder

in Breaking News 52 mins ago

Authorities have arrested a man in San Francisco, California accused of operating an underground website that allowed users to purchase guns and drugs from around the world using encrypted, digital currency.

Ross William Ulbricht, also known as ?Dread Pirate Roberts,? was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the Silk Road online marketplace, according to court papers published this week.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why is it?

That people who have earned a bad rep… are leading the way to liberty and freedom?

The U.S. has effectively labeled its own founding fathers as pedophiles and terrorists.

The Russian leader is sounding positively more American than the American President concerning Syria…

What is the world coming too?

Anonymous Coward says:

We can always hope silverscarcat. I find it very odd that such a warped personality remains other than by being paid to remain.

Lots of people are beginning to see the US and it’s government as the real one to look out for. Ever since the Snowden revelations have opened the eyes of the public, the ones taking damage to reputation haven’t been the pirates but rather those connected with government. By implication, all the entertainment industries that were so eager to use the US muscle to get what they wanted accomplished have not come out unscathed in this. They too are painted by the brush of the company they seek and keep.

When those deemed to be criminals by insinuation become the champions of freedom by action, the public connects the dots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Years-old warning

“It looks like the US government’s uncritical support for the copyright industry’s frenzied pursuit of file-sharing sites could ultimately lead to the creation of new online services that thwart its law agencies in the far more important area of national security.”

This warning was uttered years ago, and, as usual, nobody listens to Cassandra.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘It looks like the US government’s uncritical support for the copyright industry’s frenzied pursuit of file-sharing sites could ultimately lead to the creation of new online services that thwart its law agencies in the far more important area of national security.’

this sort of thing isn’t unusual. the sad thing is that because of the greed of the NSA and other security services in the USA and elsewhere (here’s looking at you, UK!), they have well and truly shot themselves in the feet. if they hadn’t have been so greedy and so intent on allowing their services to be used for what really amounts to ‘private matters’ ie, spying for the entertainments industries, just because an ex-senator has rolled into the top job in the MPAA and has called in favours from friends who are still senators, with the aim of trying to bring to court someone they dont like, someone they had to treat as if he was a crime syndicate boss, someone who was outside USA jurisdiction, someone who lived in a country that was lied to and coerced into carrying out illegal acts themselves so as to help in the case, attacking people in the early hours of the morning, including a heavily pregnant woman, they have stirred up a hornet’s nest of new software and security systems. these will not be as easy to break. these will not give in to threats, (like those in Canada, that have to build in back doors for law enforcement or not be allowed to compete for a share in a market) or intimidation. they are now going to be so much worse off than if they had played the game they had been told they could, rather than rewrite the dictionary and the law so as to suit what it wanted to do. sometimes life comes back and bites real hard on the butt and you end up with a whole lot less than you were entitled to in the beginning. what an absolute pisser!!

Anonymous Coward says:

I don't think they have a chance in hell

Citation (since I know someone will demand it): more email experience than all but a handful of people on this planet

The problem is not so much what they’re planning on doing, but what they’re not. Endpoint security is so pitifully weak that it’s appallingly easy for an adversary to compromise the service but working from the edges in. Moreover, unless they engineer out worst practices (which it doesn’t appear is even on their radar) then the service will be brittle enough that direct attacks stand a plausible chance of succeeding.

Oh, it’s possible to create a reasonably secure email system — but doing so requires making some very hard choices that many (most?) users won’t accept. So yes, you can build it, but nobody will come (to borrow a line). And if you make compromise after compromise to attract users, well, then you simply plant the seeds of your own doom.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I envisage that in the not too distant future that there might be one place that is fully available that the US Govt (and others) other than by an act of aggression will NOT be able to interfere with and where treaties are not available.

Where? Don’t laugh… Space.

The Lagrange points instantly come to mind.. Or even better a standard Heliocentric Orbit with a few backups at different places. (or even orbits around Mars/Venus)

With the physical size of datastorage becoming less and less and the actual virtual capacity becoming more and more the ability to send a email server into space is becoming more and more economically viable, also they could be one usage email centers.. Once read instantly deleted. Or deleted if not read after a certain amount of time. And attachments if allowed minimal sizing (under 500mb would be best to start and would mitigate the ‘pirating’ of movies)

The only way the US Govt or other LEO’s could access it is basically on the ground. OR blow the things up (which might not sit well with 95% of the populace) and since they would be one time encryption structures a standard ONE ITS ALL encryption keys would NOT WORK! [think one time pads for a bit of historical usage]

Just a rambling thought

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...