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Kim Dotcom launches his secure 'Skype killer' MegaChat

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MegaChat public beta offers end-to-end encryption

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Kim Doctom’s file-sharing site Mega has launched the public beta of its video and audio chat service MegaChat. The browser-based app features end-to-end encryption on calls, which Dotcom says gives the service a clear advantage over competitors such as Skype and Google Hangouts.

While it's true that the Snowden leaks suggested that the NSA essentially has free rein over Skype, Dotcom’s sites don’t have the best track record on security either. As GigaOm points out, Mega’s previous claims to offer end-to-end encryption on file-sharing when the site launched in 2013 were met with skepticism from experts, who suggested that the site's real security aims were really about achieving plausible deniability when it came to the contents of users’ online lockers.

Mega's security claims have been met with skepticism in the past

MegaChat is only in public beta at the moment though, and its security prowess is bound to be tested over the coming months. In terms of usability though, it’s doing fine. Users simply log in via Mega.nz, create a free profile, add contacts, and then click to start a video call. In calls by The Verge everything worked as advertised — albeit with limited functionality and no tests of MegaChat's encryption claims. Dotcom, however, promises that text chat and video conferencing will be added "soon" to the service and that he's also offering a bounty for any security flaws found by independent researchers. The message is: don't hang up on MegaChat just yet.

MegaChat in action. (The Verge)