Kim Dotcom’s Mega has launched a public beta of its MegaChat end-to-end encrypted audio and video chat service, which it claims will offer a more secure alternative to Skype.
The in-browser service forms part of the wider Mega web app (now on a new .nz domain), which also offers encrypted file storage and sharing. The technical details are currently hard to come by – I can only guess that it’sWebRTC-based, as it doesn’t require a plugin.
According to scoundrelpreneur/wannabe-politicianDotcom, vanilla audio and video chat is just the start:
Mega has previously had poor ratings from security experts for its cloud storage encryption, but the New Zealand–based operation is offering a security bountyfor anyone who finds flaws in its new services. That’s not the same as opening up the code for audit, of course – one reason to be somewhat skeptical about Dotcom’s claims.
Skype is certainly not a good choice for the security-minded: it’s not peer-to-peer anymore, and the Snowden documents suggested that the NSA has had access to Skype communications since 2011. Microsoft has denied giving intelligence agencies “blanket access” to its services.
We are releasing #MegaChat beta step by step. Starting with video calling today. Text chat & video conferencing will follow soon.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 22, 2015
Security aside, in-browser video calls are set to become ubiquitous with the proliferation of WebRTC-based tools (Skype itself is heading in this direction, though its browser-based beta currently requires a plugin). Mozilla’s Firefox browser now even comes with a built-in Skype rival called Firefox Hello, which allows for Skype-style accounts and ad-hoc anonymous chats, too. Source
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