Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Mega-man: The fast, fabulous, fraudulent life of Megaupload's Kim Dotcom"

From Ars Technica:
Since the shutdown of Megaupload, stories have erupted about the life and exploits of the company's founder, a self-styled "Dr. Evil" of file sharing. Kim Dotcom's opulent digs, high-end cars, fondness for models and other Bond-villain-esque behaviors have been splashed across websites and have confused evening newscasts for the last week.

The man once known as Kim Schmitz (and as Kimble, and as Kim Tim Jim Vestor, and finally as Kim Dotcom), now awaiting extradition from New Zealand to face charges of conspiracy, money laundering and copyright crimes in the US, has enveloped his actual life in a cloud of hype and bluster that echo the worst of the dot-com bubble from which he took his new surname. In 2001, the Telegraph called Schmitz "a PR man's nightmare and a journalist's dream."

Schmitz wrote recently that all that's behind him a now; a family man, he's even happy to meet the neighbors for coffee. But when New Zealand police arrived at his mansion outside Auckland last week with helicopters, they cut their way through various locks and then into the home's safe room, where Dotcom was reportedly standing close to a sawed-off shotgun, and they took him into custody. The worldwide raids, in which hundreds of servers were also seized in the US and in which 100 officers raided homes and offices in Hong Kong, have just added another layer to the legend Dotcom has been building since he was a teenager: god of hackers, Midas-touch Internet investor, Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer champion.

Dotcom has gone out of his way since the early 1990s to put himself at the center of media attention. He's certainly got it now. But who, really, is this guy?

The rise of Kimble...