Kim Dotcom, founder of the filesharing site Megaupload, which was shut down by US authorities, has revealed its replacement, Mega, which he says will protect file uploaders' identities.
The website will use encryption to prevent users from being identified and prosecuted under US anti-piracy laws. Dotcom is currently facing extradition from New Zealand to the US to face charges of criminal copyright infringement relating to the defunct Megaupload website.
German-born Dotcom, who changed his surname from Schmitz, will face an extradition hearing in March 2013, which will determine whether he'll be sent to the US for prosecution. That will come two months after the scheduled launch of Mega, on 20 January 2013 – and a year to the day since his arrest.
Dotcom has architected Mega to work so that users won't be at risk of identification and, therefore, a potential extradition to the US themselves.
"The new Mega will not be threatened by US prosecutors," he said. "The new Mega avoids any dealings with US hosters, US domains and US backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown."
According to Mega's holding page, data information will be encrypted and decrypted in users' browsers instead of the site itself.
"In the past, securely storing and transferring confidential information required the installation of dedicated software. The new Mega encrypts and decrypts your data transparently in your browser, on the fly. You hold the keys to what you store in the cloud, not us," it says.
The website also states that servers won't be hosted by providers based in the US to prevent US authorities from seizing them and shutting them down.
But Dotcom claims that Mega has already attracted the interest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Tweeting, "All FBI agents pressing reload hahaha..... We see their IP addresses. LOL!!!"
Megaupload was seized and shut down by the US Department of Justice on 19 January 2012. It accused Dotcom of perpetrating or facilitating some £175m worth of online piracy, racketeering and money laundering.
If successfully extradited to the US and convicted, Dotcom faces a 20-year prison sentence.