And Bitcoin is of course the go to currency for those that find themselves on the wrong side of politically hot topics. For Kim Dotcom, that hot topic is file sharing and piracy.
Kim’s successful file hosting site, Megaupload.com was dramatically shut down in January 2012 with the seizure of his domain name and a raid on his New Zealand home. Kim has since launched a re-vamped version of his service at Mega.co.nz .
While Mega’s policy includes the takedown of illicit content they do not use proactive filtering. In addition, the use of fingerprinting technology for automated copyright removal is not possible due to Mega’s extensive use of cryptography.
This situation puts Mega on the wrong side of PayPal policies which require access to the back-end of file-hosting websites for the purposes of keeping an eye on customer’s files.
Without surprize, anti-piracy groups immediately went after the new site by launching a campaign to cut off payment processing. As a result many of the sites re-sellers removed PayPal as one of their payment options. The solution…Bitcoin.
What is surprizing here is that it took two months for Mega to begin accepting Bitcoin. As Bitcoin Magazine explains, those on the wrong side of politics are subject to financial censorship.
“The Megaupload case followed on from a few months of increasingly aggressive posturing and sharp words from US law enforcement towards internet services, in particular file sharing services that allow people to share files amongst each other. Seeking to make an example out of one of the biggest, they started a large scale operation to take down Megaupload.”
“Using the threat of violence to coerce companies, the British police created their own laws. The SOPA legislation did not go their way, so they resulted to immoral tactics of repression.”
“Government agencies typically create laws through a three pronged attack of creating new legislation, setting court case precedents and putting pressure through regulatory agencies and their state department. A favourite tool of states to repress services is through applied pressure to their payment services. This was the tactic used on Megaupload, Wikileaks and other services.”
“Payment services are monopolised in the hands of a few companies. When these companies fail to service someone, it is an effective form of censorship. This censorship becomes particularly odious when it comes to political services like Megaupload or Wikileaks.”
“From ACTA which is decided behind closed European chambers, the UK’s DEA which was pushed through undemocratically at alarming speed before elections, evil La Hadopi and the failed SOPA/PIPA in the US, there is nowhere to run. The nepotists are determined to push through these legislation. At all costs. This is not about piracy- it never was and will not do a thing. It is about control.”
No matter your opinions on piracy and copyrights, it clear that for those caught on the wrong side of politics, Bitcoin is the go to solution.
Interesting side note: Mega calls itself “the privacy company” and Kim hinted, via Twitter, that the site is considering offering email, chat, voice, video, and mobile services.