Kim Dotcom, an Internet pioneer arrested in New Zealand more than a year ago for using his online file storage service Megaupload to encourage copyright infringement, announced on Tuesday that he plans to start an encrypted email service.
The service doesn’t have a title yet, but like successful services Dotcom has launched in the past, it will likely incorporate the Mega brand name.
"We're going to extend this to secure email which is fully encrypted so that you won't have to worry that a government or Internet service provider will be looking at your email," Dotcom told The Guardian on Tuesday.
The announcement comes slightly more than a month after Dotcom launched a new file-sharing site simply called "Mega" to replace his shuttered Megaupload. At the time, he told the English-language TV station Russia Times that "within the next five years," he wanted to "encrypt half of the Internet" to "reestablish a balance between a person -- an individual -- and the state." Dotcom's arrest in 2012, which happened after the New Zealand government illegally spied on him, seems to have turned the Mega-mogul into a newly-minted encryption advocate.
But many in the online security community are skeptical about Dotcom’s newest proposed service. DigitalSpy noted that his announcement contained neither encryption information nor a release date for potential clients. IT professionals, many of whom were unimpressed with Dotcom’s previous efforts at encryption, have begun speculating on probable security flaws of an encrypted email service.
Further complicating things for Dotcom is that there are already plenty of encrypted email services around. Services like Hushmail and Vaultlet already automatically encrypted email, while others like Burn Note destroy emails after they’ve been read. Dotcom may be able to sell his email service on his name. But the new service, whenever it launches, will be entering an arena where old services already have footholds.