Now that Kim Dotcom's new file storage venture, Mega has officially launched, I took the opportunity to check it out, and came away quietly impressed.
Mega is essentially a giant online file storage service that makes use of some heavy duty encryption that uses patterns in your typing keystrokes and mouse activity used to generate a random encryption key, making it very hard to break.
The upshot of all this jargon is that Mega's system administrators (and anyone else not in possession of the encryption key which only you should have) are pretty much unable to see what files are being stored.
This mightn't sound like a big deal, but trust me it makes all the difference. Whilst Mega's terms and conditions say that Mega may have to co-operate with law enforcement agencies should they demand access to data being stored on Mega, all the copyright cops will be able to access is a bunch of scrambled data, meaning they'll have no way of knowing if the data they have been given access to is an illicit copy of a Hollywood blockbuster or your kid's school project.
The significance of this cannot be overstated. Whilst other online services such as Google or DropBox can be forced to hand over data yet if the authorities want Kim Dotcom and Mega to hand over data all they'll get is an indecipherable mess of encrypted nonsense which from a legal perspective is likely to be pretty much useless to them.
Whilst it is almost too easy to label Mega as a haven for pirates wanting to store copyrighted materials, the very fact that Mega is operating in a massively redundant data centre with multiple backups for everything makes it ideal for backing up important and irreplaceable data such as all those digital photos you've got scattered around the house on CDs, memory cards, external hard drives and PCs.
If the unthinkable were to happen and your house was to burn down, be destroyed in a quake or by invaders from Mars, you can at least take a measure of comfort in knowing that your family photos, scanned copies of important documents etc. are all safely stored online via mega.
In use Mega will be immediately familiar to anyone who has transferred files using Windows Explorer or similar, thanks to the Mega file manager. With the file manager you can create folders, upload files, or, should you need to, you can also delete files you no longer want to store.
Uploading files is as easy as clicking the upload files button on the mega site and then choosing which file you want to upload . With a decent broadband connection, uploads proved to be pretty zippy and I transferred a pile of digital photos in under 30 minutes.
Mega offers 50GB of storage for free and then three separately priced storage options which are:
Euro 9.99 per month
Euro 19.95 per month
Euro 29.95 per month