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Kim Dotcom: The Controversial Internet Entrepreneur

Kim Dotcom: The Controversial Internet Entrepreneur

Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz or Kimble, is a German-Finnish internet entrepreneur who rose to fame and fortune in the early 2000s as the founder of Megaupload, one of the largest file-sharing websites in the world. He is also known for his lavish lifestyle, legal battles, political activism and involvement in the music and gaming industries. In this article, we will explore some of the key aspects of his life and career, as well as the controversies and challenges he has faced.

Early Life and Career

Kim Dotcom was born in Kiel, Germany, in 1974. He claims to have been a hacker since his childhood, and to have hacked into NASA, the Pentagon and Citibank, among others. He also says he sold stolen phone cards to fund his travels around the world. In 1994, he was arrested and convicted of computer fraud and data espionage, and received a two-year suspended sentence. He later moved to Hong Kong, where he founded an internet security company called Data Protect.

In 2001, he changed his name to Kim Dotcom and launched Megaupload, a website that allowed users to upload and download files of any size and type. The website soon became one of the most popular and profitable online services, attracting millions of users and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Dotcom also created other websites under the Mega brand, such as Megavideo, Megapix and Megabox.

Legal Troubles and Extradition Battle

However, Megaupload also attracted the attention of the authorities, who accused Dotcom and his associates of facilitating massive online piracy, racketeering, money laundering and other crimes. In January 2012, the US Department of Justice indicted Dotcom and his colleagues and requested their extradition from New Zealand, where Dotcom had moved in 2010 and obtained residency. The New Zealand police raided Dotcom’s mansion in Auckland and arrested him and three others. They also seized millions of dollars worth of assets, including cars, artworks, computers and servers.

Dotcom has been fighting the extradition request ever since, claiming that he is innocent and that Megaupload was a legitimate business that complied with the copyright laws and cooperated with the authorities. He has also accused the US government of being influenced by Hollywood lobbyists and violating his human rights. He has challenged the legality of the raid, the seizure of his assets, the spying on him by the New Zealand intelligence agency and the validity of the extradition treaty between New Zealand and the US.

The extradition case has been delayed several times due to various legal issues and appeals. The latest ruling by the New Zealand High Court in March 2020 upheld the previous decision that Dotcom is eligible for extradition, but also allowed him to appeal to the Supreme Court. The final outcome of the case is still uncertain.

 

Political Activism and Other Ventures

Despite his legal troubles, Dotcom has not been idle. He has been involved in various political and social causes, such as supporting WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, campaigning against internet censorship and surveillance, donating to charities and disaster relief efforts, and advocating for internet freedom and innovation.

He has also launched new ventures in different fields. In 2013, he founded Mega, a new file-sharing service that claims to offer more security and privacy than Megaupload. In 2014, he created the Internet Party, a political party that ran in the New Zealand general election with a platform of reforming the internet and digital policies. The party failed to win any seats in the parliament.

In 2015, he released his first album called Good Times, a collection of electronic dance music songs that he produced and performed with various artists. He also announced his plans to create a music streaming service called Baboom, which would allow artists to earn more revenue from their music than from other platforms. However, Baboom was never launched.

In 2017, he revealed his intention to create a new internet called Bitcache, which would use blockchain technology and Bitcoin to create a decentralized and encrypted network that would reward users for sharing content. He also said he would revive Megaupload as Megaupload 2.0, which would be integrated with Bitcache. However, these projects have not materialized either.

Conclusion

Kim Dotcom is undoubtedly one of the most influential and controversial figures in the history of the internet. He has been praised as a visionary entrepreneur, a champion of internet freedom and a generous philanthropist. He has also been criticized as a notorious hacker, a mastermind of online piracy and a fugitive from justice.

His fate is still hanging in the balance as he awaits the final decision on his extradition. Whatever the outcome, he has left a lasting mark on the internet and the world.

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