When the government came knocking because Edward Snowden used Lavabit's encrypted email service, it did the sensible thing and, uh, shut itself down. Other similar services have followed suit — and now Kim Dotcom plans to capture the market tat's being left wide open.
According to RT, the man behind Mega plans to start running a "highly-secure email service to run on a non-US-based server". In a blog post, Mega's Chief Executive Vikram Kumar explained the thinking behind the new initiative:
"These [recent closures] are acts of 'Privacy Seppuku' — honorably and publicly shutting down ("suicide") rather than being forced to comply with laws and courts intent on violating people's privacy."
So, apparently Mega is working on an email system with an "exceptional level of encryption," a project which is "exciting" but "very hard." He explains:
"The biggest tech hurdle is providing email functionality that people expect, such as searching emails, that are trivial to provide if emails are stored in plain text (or available in plain text) on the server side. If all the server can see is encrypted text, as is the case with true end-to-end encryption, then all the functionality has to be built client side... On this and other fronts, Mega is doing some hugely cutting-edge stuff. There is probably no one in the world who takes the Mega approach of making true crypto work for the masses, our core proposition."
For his part, Dotcom insists that Mega never holds any decryption keys so customer email can never be read, even if someone wants it to be. Looks like secure email might not be dead just yet. [RT]