Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kim Dotcom: Hero or Villain?

To make a long story short, Kim Dotcom is an Internet entrepreneur glorified by some and vilified by others for his rather shady business endeavors involving file sharing.  Perhaps his most well-known endeavor until recently was the file-sharing site, Megaupload.  However, as you may remember, Megaupload was axed by the US Department of Justice in January of last year, while Dotcom faced (still pending) legal action.

Well Kim Dotcom isn’t one to let the law keep him down, because he’s back with the creatively named website, Mega, which bears more than a little resemblance to Megaupload.  But as Kim Dotcom told The Guardian, he has even higher hopes for Mega, and these go beyond keeping his fingers crossed that the government doesn’t come breaking down his door again.  Instead, Dotcom hopes to soon equip Mega users with secure, encrypted email accounts.  Dotcom reasons that soon “you won't have to worry that a government or Internet service provider will be looking at your email.”

To me, this can only imply that Dotcom may be gearing up to host even more legally questionable activities, using Mega as a shelter.  And, ultimately, I’m not sure what to make of it.  On one hand, I think Dotcom may play an important role in a culture in which Internet security and privacy are becoming more and more prevalent issues.  On the other hand, I think Dotcom may be pushing the boundaries a little too far, thus undermining the legitimacy of his cause as a whole.

What do you guys think?  Is Kim Dotcom taking the necessary steps to combat big brother?  Does his legally questionable activity undermine his credibility?  Is there any way to effectively advocate Internet privacy and security without getting your hands dirty?


  1. I think that although privacy is an issue in regards to the internet the way that Kim Dotcom is going about it is shady. I read about his new ideas and I do think that by having issues with legal aspects I would not want to take part in Mega. I think that because he is so focused on trying to get people to use his site, that he isn't taking into account legality and that in my opinion does undermine his credibility.

    Although I think encrypting email and other security measures sounds like a good idea, I think that most people just need to realize that they can't put everything online without it being accessible by others, and making sure passwords, etc are not easy to guess.

    I do think people can share files via sites like Dropbox, in the Cloud, or something I've heard of call Box. These are legal and oftentimes free. So I think if the content you're sharing is free and legal, then yes, it should be possible to advocate private sharing without getting your hands dirty.

  2. The only real problem I have with Dotcom doing what he is doing is that he seems to be doing it to stir the pot for media attention at this point, instead of just doing it. I mean, the guys essentially an Internet Blackbeard and instead of silently going about his business of sticking it to the man (which I'm totally for, by the way, especially when it comes to illegally downloading the music of musicians who sit on golden toilets), he chooses to be loud and proud about it, drawing attention to himself and away from his efforts.

  3. First of all, I don't agree with the FBI shutting down Megaupload. Yes, there were users who uploaded illicit material to the site (which, by the way, went against Megaupload's TOS), but there were many others who used the site legitimately. It's like killing a dog because it has a flea problem; there are better ways to deal with this problem.

    It also scares me that the US Government could shut down a website because they (or their corporate stockholders) don't like its content. It's a dangerous slippery slope to censorship from here.

    I'm all for data encryption. The government, or anyone for that matter, has no right to invade our privacy, digital or otherwise. However, I'm not willing cast Dotcom as a hero. After all, he is a businessman. I highly doubt that he would fighting big brother if he wasn't guaranteed a paycheck.

  4. The internet is the wild west and Dotcom is an interesting figure in the scenario. I too am against censorship, and I support data encryption. I do not want the government snooping through my e-mails, but I think privacy and the internet are contradictory terms. We should just accept the fact that our information on the internet in vulnerable to unwanted third parties. I also think that Ace and Travis bring up a good point about Dotcom's motives. I find it hard to completely jump on bard with Dotcom because his intentions often seem more egotistical than sincere.

  5. Privacy on the internet is a contradiction. The internet is a web of inter-connectivity. How can you expect to keep everything private? I believe we should have privacy, but I am realistic in believing that it won't happen on the internet. I'm simply going to withhold information that I don't want to be seen.

  6. I personally think this guy is looking for attention but I don't think the internet will go private. I just honestly don't see a way for it? Every thing online has a creator - wouldn't that creator be able to see everything that's being posted? Regardless, I don't see why people have to put all of their personal information online. If it's that big of a deal - figure out another way to share your information.