Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz, founder of shuttered file-sharing service Megaupload and its encrypted cloud-storage successor Mega, has announced plans to launch a browser-based video and voice chat service in competition to Microsoft's Skype.
Schmitz is a somewhat larger-than-life character, and has frequently maintained that charges brought by the US claiming copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering were false and unfair. The charges related to Megaupload, a file-sharing site which offered financial incentives for those supplying files and which generated considerable income for Schmitz via advertising even while the majority of content served through the site was in infringement of copyright. More recently, Schmitz offered lifetime premium membership to his Mega cloud storage service to the group claiming responsibility for a Christmas DDoS attack on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network
if they agreed to cease, claiming that he just wanted 'to play Destiny on Xbox Live
Now, Schmitz has indicated that Mega is to get a chat component which will offer strong security and will be out of reach of the US government - the latter hardly a surprise, given his legal wrangling with the nation. 'Mega will soon release a fully encrypted and browser based video call & chat service including high-speed file transfers,
' Schmitz wrote on social networking site Twitter
of his plans.
Schmitz has positioned the new service, dubbed MegaChat, as a direct replacement to the Microsoft-owned Skype service, operating directly within a web browser and offering improved security and privacy. 'No US based online service provider can be trusted with your data,
' he claimed. 'Skype has no choice. They must provide the US Government with backdoors.
Invitations to a closed beta are to be sent out to Mega users in the coming weeks, Schmitz has said, while a public beta is expected to open some time in the first quarter of 2015.