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Kim Dotcom Launches Encrypted VOIP Service MegaChat

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Kim Dotcom, well-known online entrepreneur and the founder of file storage services MegaUpload and MEGA, has announced the launch of a fully encrypted VOIP service “MegaChat”. The revolutionary service promises to keep online chats and video calls 100% safe from eavesdropping, snooping as well as all types of government surveillance by making use of end-to-end encryption technology. Dotcom even dubbed the service as “Skype Killer” while announcing the launch of the service through his Twitter account.

Thanks to the revelations made by Edward Snowden during the last one and a half years, we are now aware that our emails, documents, private messages and VOIP calls can be easily accessed by the government agencies as and when they desire. It is also now explicitly clear that US based corporations like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have no option but to hand over personal data and communications of the users to the government whenever they are directed to do so by the US courts.

Even more disturbing is the fact that many U.S. companies have built secret backdoors within their products to facilitate spying of user data and online activities. For instance, Snowden revealed how Skype, one of the most popular VOIP programs in the world, contained a backdoor that allowed the NSA to snoop upon the chats and calls made through the software. It is this security vulnerability that Dotcom is attempting to address through his MegaChat VOIP service.

As per the details revealed by Dotcom, MegaChat doesn’t need any specialized software and is designed to run on most modern browsers. Although not strictly required, users can install plugins for the service on Firefox and Chrome browsers to save loading time and make their chat sessions even more secure. The service, which is now available as a beta version, currently supports video calling but Dotcom has promised to introduce more features, including video conferencing and text chat, pretty soon. And since the service is based in New Zealand, it doesn’t have to abide by the laws of the United States.

The MegaChat service can be accessed through the MEGA storage service (mega.nz). To use the service, users simply need to join MEGA, complete their profile, add few contacts and then click on a button to initiate the call. The service is designed to be extremely user friendly and there are no complicated options present that may confuse less tech savvy users.

Although Dotcom has promised high end security for MegaChat, there is currently no way to substantiate his claims. The savvy entrepreneur had promised end-to-end encryption for his file storage service MEGA as well but a lot of tech experts have revealed that the service is not as secure as it is advertised. To dispel the security concerns, Dotcom has announced a cash reward for people who can discover security flaws in his new service. So while it remains to be seen whether MegaChat can really provide a totally secure VOIP experience, it nevertheless provides an interesting option to those who are worried about the security of their messages and chat sessions.

April 3, 2015

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