If there’s one you guy can trust to not give the government access to your emails, it’s Kim Dotcom. The self-made internet millionaire is already not a fan of the American government, after it shut down his file-sharing service, MegaUpload, and seized the servers to build a copyright infringement court case against him.
Since then, he’s started Mega, a simple online file-sharing tool that’s sort of like MegaUpload crossed with Dropbox. And now, he plans to have Mega email, too – days after secure email services Lavabit and Silent Circle closed shop, facing obstacles in the wake of the PRISM saga.
Just like Mega’s file uploads, the email service will offer encrypted communications. And as with the former, the privacy keys aren’t stored on the Mega servers. Basically, if somebody else has to seize the server and read the disks, they won’t get anything but encrypted files. By design, then, Mega email would be unable to comply with any government requests for access to user data.
One of the challenges of offering mail that’s completely encrypted, though, is that it becomes difficult for the webmail interface to offer search functions and the like. After all, if the server itself cannot decode the data in emails, it can’t read them to index them for searching.
The company’s CEO, Vikram Kumar, says, “[It’s] not quite impossible, but very, very hard.”