Mega guy Kim Dotcom has given a two finger salute to the US authorities with the launch of his new file sharing site mega.co.nz. The guys who think Julian Assange is a terrorist who should be executed are gunning for Dotcom with similar fervour. They will no doubt be incensed by the move and will be unlikely to accept his “all care no responsibility” encrypted data argument.
Nor are the US authorities likely to accept Dotcom's attempt to divorce his new site from all US control by hosting everything in New Zealand. It didn't work for Assange and Wikileaks, and it won't work for Dotcom. They’re out to get him. What it all boils down is that when it comes to international commerce and the Internet, the US, which is basically run by multinational corporations, has almost total hegemony.
Witness what happened to Assange and Wikileaks, which wasn't hosted in the US, when it merely published some relatively benign classified embassy cables. The US authorities immediately shut down all sources of e-commerce funding to Wikileaks, cutting off revenue and effectively crippling the site, and Assange is now a political prisoner holed up in an embassy in the UK as a result of some absurd trumped up charges issued by authorities in Sweden.
As the events of one year ago demonstrated when his mansion was raided by a platoon of armed police, being in New Zealand affords Kim Dotcom not even the slightest measure of a buffer against the reach and influence of US authorities.
Those authorities forced both Sweden and Great Britain to do their bidding with Assange and they can do the same with New Zealand and Dotcom. His subsequent legal victories in New Zealand have made him a folk hero and given him some breathing space, but the long arm of US law is still out to get him. Extraordinary rendition, perhaps?
The defence that mega.co.nz cannot be held liable for the sharing of encrypted data if it doesn't hold the decryption keys simply won't be taken seriously. The same defence could be used for hosting a site that enables the distribution of child pornography or other illegal activity, and no doubt US authorities will highlight this fact.
Kim Dotcom, being no dummy, knows all of this. In all likelihood, the launch of mega.co.nz is as much an attempt to highlight the issues of Internet freedom and US control of global e-commerce as it is a legitimate new venture.
How long will it be before the next armed raid of Dotcom Mansion takes place and the mega crusader is once again led away in shackles like a common criminal?