Kim Dotcom is a busy man. He's been preparing for his impending extradition trial, playing gamers for charity, announcing a new name for his music service and starting his own political party. Now, on top of all that, he's also got plans for an encrypted email service.
The announcement was made by Vikram Kumar, the current CEO of Dotcom's MEGA, while speaking with Zdnet. He said that due to the reputation of MEGA as a protected, encrypted service and in the wake of the closure of other “secure” email platforms like Lavabit (and Hushmail's willingness to work with US authorities), MEGA users had asked it to provide a protected email function. Kumar said that MEGA was happy to oblige, but that it was still a work in progress.
“The biggest tech hurdle is providing email functionality that people expect, such as searching emails, that are trivial to provide if emails are stored in plain text (or available in plain text) on the server side,” he said.
The problem with end-to-end encryption, is that the intermediate mailing service can't read any of the emails' contents, therefore it can't index them by any factor, can't search through them or provide any sort of functionality for the user. Instead, that all needs to happen in the mail client itself, which is harder to achieve.
However, Kumar believes MEGA can do it and goes so far as to say that the service will break new ground in encrypted communication.
“[It's] exciting stuff, but very hard, so I think it will take months more to crack it,” he said. “But Mega will never launch anything that undermines its end-to-end encryption core security proposition and doesn't work for the mythical grandmother.”
Since launching earlier this year, MEGA has done extremely well, generating traffic that rivals some of the biggest file locker websites in the world. Of course though, it has a while to go before it eclipses its predecessor, Megaupload, which at its height was serving some 12 billion files to its 100 million strong user base. Dotcom even claimed in the famed, Mega song, that Megaupload was responsible for four per cent of all internet traffic.
KitGuru Says: What do you guys think of a new encrypted email service? None of them seem to pan out, but Dotcom has a vested interest in making it work, since he seems firmly committed to the idea of personal privacy.