MegaChat and Mega-Controversy

Microsoft’s Skype service has some competition after controversial internet mogul Kim Dotcom launched MegaChat, an encrypted chatting service that looks set to offer everything from video chat and conferencing to text services.

MegaChat’s video-calling service has already been rolled out, and there are more features set to follow, according to entrepreneur and high-profile gaming champion Dotcom.

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The announcement and launch of the MegaChat service came at around the same time that Gilles de Kerchove, the counter-terrorism coordinator for the EU, said that he wanted all companies to have a legal obligation to pass on encryption keys in a bid to increase global safety.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has already caused much controversy and debate by calling for internet companies to let the government help the security services by giving them access to encrypted messages. His moves to breathe renewed life into the much-maligned Communications Data Bill, which had previously earned the title of the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’, have been met by criticism from civil liberties organisations and even Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister.

With customary disregard for controversy, however, Kim Dotcom announced that MegaChat’s beta version would start with video-calling and eventually offer video-conferencing and text chat. Dotcom even accompanied the launch on Twitter with the promise of a political party to follow. You can’t fault the man’s ambition – or ability to seemingly bounce back from what could have been seen as the brink of defeat.

Dotcom is currently facing extradition to the US over copyright-infringement claims after being arrested in New Zealand and having his Megaupload site seized in 2012. He claims he has spent around £6.4 million and been left ‘broke’ due to his legal battles.

Photos: TechCrunch