Essay: A Brief History of Kim Dotcom, the Internet’s Architect of Revolution

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the logo of the brand "Mega Upload".
A brief history of internet personality and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who is now talking about building a social network.

It’s been a while since we’ve all heard from Kim Dotcom (originally Kim Schmitz), the self-proclaimed digital enigma who founded Megaupload.

His personal website scrolls like a promotional 2003 action movie. Uncomfortable music videos showcasing Kim’s large collection “boys’ toys” in dance ballad tributes to his family serve as a window into his psyche; all before the more serious content is unveiled.

Kim Dotcom has journeyed through awkward years as a young hacker to become what the United States government determines as the biggest pirate the world has ever seen.

People convicted of violent offenses are treated with less contempt than Dotcom, as law enforcement maintain, unwaveringly, that he is liable to the U.S. entertainment industry for the loss of approximately $500 million in earnings.

Yet still, Dotcom’s prowess for innovation and world-changing technology steams forward. On top of everything else, he launched a political party in New Zealand (NZ) and a micro payment service using cryptocurrency.

As a cherry on top, he’s also become embroiled in the suspicious murder case of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer, Seth Rich.

In a strange blend of his beliefs, Dotcom has recently asked Julian Assange and Edward Snowden to help him in creating a new social network, one free from “deep state conspirators” and one distant from Facebook and Twitter.

The Strange Path of Kim Dotcom

The road of Dotcom and his eventual “rights crusade” begin a world away in grey to black hat hacker territory.

In 1994, the 20-year-old soon to be millionaire was charged and later convicted for 10 counts of data espionage and 11 counts of computer fraud, all of which were committed conveniently when he was underage.

He partly boasted about his escapades to the German media in 1992, advising that he was stealing phone cards and running them through his own premium toll lines in Hong Kong and the Caribbean—making himself a small fortune as a teenage hacker.

In the heart of the 2000 technology bubble, where nobody with a computer could do any wrong, Dotcom established a security company. The company gained traction after landing major contracts and Dotcom essentially became a penetration tester.

The law constantly hanging overhead, in 2001 and 2003 Dotcom was arrested in Bangkok on charges of insider trading related to the company LetsBuyIt.com.

These charges in 2001 culminated in the then named “Kim Schmitz” to plead guilty for embezzlement.

He relocated to Hong Kong, and in 2005, after two years and four newly registered Hong Kong companies, Dotcom and his growing conglomerate was transformed into the global phenomenon, Megaupload.

Advertising revenue made Dotcom a multi-millionaire on the back of users’ copyrighted content: content which was uploaded to his site.

As a general rule of thumb in the U.S., you don’t get in lobbyists’ way. You don’t get in the crosshairs of a politically charged law enforcement rampage.

Just look at Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road investigation. With the full force of U.S. law enforcement acting on behalf of powerful political pressure, Dotcom became ensnared in a situation where both sides accused each other of outright robbery of property.

According to the U.S., Dotcom stands accused of actively encouraging and paying users to upload and disseminate copyrighted content.

Dotcom’s home was raided as if he was a dangerous drug lord (remember that he was essentially a business and advertising tycoon), and Dotcom was placed under arrest.

He maintains his legal position and refuses requests by the U.S. that he travel there to face the charges. In the wake of the raid, he has sued the New Zealand government for $6.8 billion … How did this get so out of hand?

Dotcom Is a Genuine Revolutionary

Photo of social network homepage on a monitor screen.
It’s been a while since we’ve all heard from Kim Dotcom (originally Kim Schmitz), the self-proclaimed digital enigma who founded Megaupload.

Dotcom is fighting a battle of definition and interest.

He is a one-of-a-kind entrepreneur, standing as a pillar for what the copyright industry could become.

Dotcom arguably has the most knowledge on this issue, given he’s spent almost half of his life working on the bleeding edge of technology in an industry that refuses to look toward the future.

This revolution is taking place around Dotcom’s new file sharing venture called K.im, paired with his Bitcache micropayment system using cryptocurrency.

Dotcom’s Plans and His ‘Social Network’

Dotcom wants to see an online world of distribution that is fair and, most importantly, fast. There is no doubt he is a larger-than-life mastermind of the digital world.

He has arguably shaped how we consume and stream media. Megaupload served as what might be called the first incarnation of Netflix and other streaming services.

It’s just that it was all unregulated, unfettered and uninhibited.

He was unfortunately too loud, too lavish and too brazen. The U.S. picked their target and pinned seemingly all of the entertainment industry’s issues with distribution across the internet on him.

For all the craziness, it ultimately seems like Dotcom is genuine in his message of a free and open internet.

He has publicly decried the censorship of social networks like Facebook and Twitter while also demonizing the way in which interested parties subvert the neutrality and refuse to adapt to a fast and open internet. He plans to disrupt the vested interests.

Regardless of whether you believe this is a mere pipe dream or not, it’s undeniable that Dotcom has produced world-changing technology in the past.

What’s to say he can’t spearhead another? What’s to say that the next social network is truly free?

It’s a nice thought. Dark Web News hopes to speak with him soon.

Con

Con

Con's education background is law, where he's published on crypto-currency regulation. His opinion editorials range across the relationships between people and technology and the societal challenges it presents. His passion is for information security and the intertwining legal issues
Con
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