Some entrepreneurs are betting that the PRISM scandal will stoke user interest in privacy-focused services. The Pirate Bay’s founder Peter Sunde closed its crowdfunding campaign three days after announcing Hemlis, an encrypted messaging app, because the project received 150% of its goal.
Now embattled MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom is embarking on a new project to get more privacy-focused apps in the hands of the public:
I’m planing a Venture Capital Fund for privacy startups. I’m looking for partners & fund managers. Please email: email@example.com
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) July 16, 2013
Dotcom appears to be in the very early stages of his project, but the involvement of a big name like Dotcom in the VC space could bring money to companies with more policy-focused or niche aims that wouldn’t normally gain mainstream funding.
Dotcom is a very vocal privacy advocate. In addition to his venture capital aims, he has been working to spy-proof his own website, Mega. Millions of the website’s users will soon gain access to spy-proof encrypted messaging through the website, which will allow users to send confidential messages and transfer secure files.
Dotcom told BGR that he planned to release messaging within the Mega online platform first, with mobile app accommodations to follow. The final plan, which is still six to nine months away, is a full-scale encrypted email service that prevents any third party from accessing meta data or keywords in any messages. Dotcom’s team, he says, is already working on the new suite.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) July 15, 2013
Dotcom remains in New Zealand, fighting extradition to the U.S. on charges of money laundering and copyright infringement stemming from his first website, MegaUpload. His quasi celebrity status sets him up to make some waves in the privacy app world — assuming he doesn’t get thrown in jail first.