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Networking The Internet

Kim Dotcom's Next Venture: Free Broadband To New Zealand 279

Posted by timothy
from the take-a-left-at-hawaii dept.
First time accepted submitter damagedbits writes "So it turns out that Me.ga is only part of Kim Dotcom's resolution for 2013. Even though he's still facing extradition to the U.S. for alleged piracy, Dotcom has plans to resurrect Pacific Fibre's failed project to construct a fiber optic cable across the Pacific to the U.S. The new line will bring free high-speed broadband to New Zealanders and double the nation's Internet bandwidth, setting Dotcom back about $400m." Some of that funding is based on optimism: "Dotcom plans on getting the majority of his funds by suing Hollywood studios and the US government for their 'unlawful and political destruction of [Megaupload].'"
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Kim Dotcom's Next Venture: Free Broadband To New Zealand

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  • by CRC'99 (96526) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:31AM (#41877815) Homepage

    ... It really seems to be a Robin Hood type thing....

    The 'rich' taking the 'richer' to the cleaners to provide broadband to the masses for free...

    Lately I can't seem to fault this guy....

    • by Tom (822) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:04AM (#41877979) Homepage Journal

      Lately I can't seem to fault this guy....

      His PR manager is doing a great job, isn't he? It's almost as if rich people could pay for a good image. As if there were companies available who troll social media sites, leave comments on newpaper and blog pages and generally improve your public perception. Oh, wait...

      • by robot5x (1035276) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:20AM (#41878047)
        he's definitely doing it right though - simultaneously stick two fingers up at the Americans, and promise the Kiwis an improvement on their piss-poor internet.

        I think he's a dick, but this is a great show.
        • by TheLink (130905)
          Can't fix the latency problem though. NZ isn't exactly close to many other significant countries.

          So NZ has got to be significantly cheaper to offset the fact that response times are going to be higher. Should be even more noticeable if you use https.
          • They can't totally fix it but AIUI nz currently relies on links to australia for it's internet connection and the pacific fiber plan was for a direct link to the US which would presumably shave a bit of the latency.

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          he's definitely doing it right though - simultaneously stick two fingers up at the Americans, and promise the Kiwis an improvement on their piss-poor internet

          A promise that isn't actually a promise but rather merely a plan, and one that he is very unlikely to be able to keep even if he wanted to.

      • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:21AM (#41878055) Homepage

        Counter-example: Rupert Murdoch is rich too, and even own media companies.

      • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday November 05, 2012 @04:08AM (#41878189)
        Not really. I am a NZ'er and I can tell you that the issue in NZ is no one like him at all. Despite the fact that it was an illegal raid or whatever he still just doesn't get any support from the general public. Basically we all know he is a total ass from other fairly public appearances that he has made.
        • by tbird81 (946205) on Monday November 05, 2012 @04:30AM (#41878251)

          That's not true at all. He has a hell of a lot of support amongst the computer-literate and young.

          We all hate that the major parties sold us down the shitter over the S92a bullshit. Everyone knew from the start the raid was over-the-top (fucking helicopters, that must be a first in a NZ arrest!), and are not surprised that the GCSB didn't know their arse from their elbow.

          The guy has done nothing wrong in our country. He enabled some people to upload things to a website - that's not a crime. And just because some people uploaded copyrighted things (based on unfair enormously long, and bribed-to-get-that-way copyright terms) to his website, does not make him a money launderer!

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by tehcyder (746570)

            He has a hell of a lot of support amongst the computer-literate and young.

            Which proves that being computer-literate and young doesn't prevent you from being gullible.

            The guy is just another self-entitled arsehole who thinks that he has a right to make money off other people's work. If you have a philosophical objection to copyright, fine, argue about it as much as you like, boycott the organisations that impose it and press for a change in the law.

            But while you're making money off the copyright laws by circumventing them with something like megaupload you're just a con art

            • by Rakshasa-sensei (533725) on Monday November 05, 2012 @06:28AM (#41878743) Homepage

              Well, the issue is that by all accounts he was operating within the law, so who's the gullible ones here?

              Unlike Youtube where copyright infringement was rampant and encouraged by the leaders, MegaUpload always has seemed to follow the DMCA faithfully. Until google gets a helicopter raid you can stick that gullible thing up your ignorant ass.

              • by Rogerborg (306625)

                Suuuure he was operating within "the law". And all those wise guys who owned speakeasies during prohibition? They were just shocked - shocked!, I tells ya - to learn that the barkeeps had been serving alcohol without their knowledge or consent.

                Perhaps the laws need a-changing, but until they are a-changed, the eye rolling protestations of innocence are pretty risible to any objective observer.

                • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:20AM (#41879937)

                  Suuuure he was operating within "the law". And all those wise guys who owned speakeasies during prohibition? They were just shocked - shocked!, I tells ya - to learn that the barkeeps had been serving alcohol without their knowledge or consent.

                  Well.. that's the thing. As far as anyone can tell (and unless you can show otherwise), he WAS operating within the law (or, if you prefer, "the law").

                  Following your silly analogy, if, during prohibition, there was a specific law that said that your establishment was working within the law as long as you would kick-off any drunk people from your establishment whenever told by the authorities (i.e. the equivalent of the DMCA law, bur for alcohol) and the owner faithfully followed that law, then, by definition, he was operating _within the law_.

                  Your analogy totally breaks down, actually, once one sees that, unlike what happens in speakeasies, in the particular case, it's not the owner of the establishment that's supplying the illegal goods (unless you have proof otherwise, besides your witty but shallow remarks).

                  But, yes, keep ignoring all that (and YouTube, while you're at it). Let's just pretend copyright infringement never happens anywhere online and, whenever it does, it's obviously due to Dotcom's fault and he's obviously profiting from it. You know... as if Dotcom's "support" is required for piracy to continue thriving.

        • I get the impression that may be the reason behind the broadband thing. If he brings free broadband to NZ he is going to gain a lot of public and political support there which will be beneficial to him when the big media companies come after him again.
        • In Germany he was rejected 15 years ago by the CCC. I guess the nazi troll is just a frontend impersonator. The fraudster who gets the "fame" and goes to jail.
        • by Haoie (1277294)

          Uh, no. I'd rather have him for Prime Minister than whatever clown we've got in office now.

      • by cultiv8 (1660093)
        lol, wishing I had mods.
      • Rich people can pay for a good public image...

        Perhaps you should have told that to Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer and the likes. Richer then rich but their public image is down the drain with all the other turds.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      The 'rich' taking the 'richer' to the cleaners to provide broadband to the masses for free...

      The "richer" in this plan are the American masses, also known as taxpayers.

  • by zixxt (1547061) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:32AM (#41877827)

    When i first read about him a few years ago he came across has a big douche, but now he has grown on me. I find myself cheering him on.

    • by subreality (157447) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:41AM (#41877863)

      He's still a complete douche, right down to the bottom of his trolling little heart. I'm not exactly a supporter, but I am enjoying the show.

      • by witherstaff (713820) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:59AM (#41878163) Homepage

        but I am enjoying the show.

        It's all you people enjoying the free shows that got him in trouble in the first place!

      • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:22AM (#41878931) Journal

        He's still a complete douche, right down to the bottom of his trolling little heart.

        I am shocked that this cheap piece of character assassination got modded +4

        If you want to criticize someone, please provide some arguments. Until then, the man did nothing bad. In fact, of the moderately rich people, he is one of the few that arrived to his riches with honest work. You disagree? Fine, provide some fucking arguments instead of just ad hominem insults.

    • by brit74 (831798)
      I think he's just trying to build up good press. He's still a big douche.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom (822)

      Your first instincts were right. He's just rich enough now to have PR and marketing guys helping him with his image.

      He's an egomaniac career criminal who by pure accident was shot this side of the street and now we think he's one of ours. He isn't. He is the exact kind of people we do not want on our side.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        He's an egomaniac career criminal who by pure accident was shot this side of the street and now we think he's one of ours. He isn't. He is the exact kind of people we do not want on our side.

        No one is proclaiming that he's one of us
        But in the recent years the only times I see some justice served is when two large corporations (or other wealthy entities) get into a fight for their own reasons.
        I will still cheer for the one who landed on my side in any particular battle, even if that happened by pure accident.

      • He's pulled the kind of shit that people love to hate on varies wall street baddies for, just on a somewhat smaller scale. In 2001 he bought a bunch of stock for a bankrupt company, and said he'd invest 50 million Euro in it. the stock jumped, and he cashed out making a profit, leaving others to hold the bag.

        In 2003 he set up a set of shell companies and pretended to have "an artificial intelligence-driven hedge fund delivering an annual return of at least 25%." It was all bullshit of course and the Hong Ko

    • The only reason he is "likable" now is that he's changed from ripping off "innocent" people to ripping off people and organizations who, at least in our eyes, "deserve" it. Insider trading? Ohhh, he ripped off the fat cats of wall street, great guy. Copyright infringment? Ohhh, he ripped off the MAFIAA, even greater guy.

      Two wrongs don't make a right, though. And before someone accuses me of sour grapes, I don't mind people who get rich by hard work or having a good idea. I admire those people, and they do s

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Copyright infringement isn't wrong just because you say it is. It's a matter of opinion. Some of us don't think that copyright makes the world a better place — some of us believe it holds back progress and should be if not eliminated entirely then at least severely curtailed.

        Stop babbling about "wrongs" when what you're really on about is broken laws. As laws are not based on morality, but based on appeal to the lawmakers, the two are rarely congruent.

        • "Some of us don't think that copyright makes the world a better place"

          Usually by people who have never created any original content that falls under copyright. The entitlement group think permeating the web today will lead only to mediocrity and a reduction in the amount of original and innovative works being released.

  • by klingers48 (968406) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:32AM (#41877831)
    I'd say that regardless of your stance on intellectual property, if you dig below the surface then you can see there was some very grubby, nepotistic and borderline criminal politics at work in the obliteration of Megaupload and the persecution Dotcom. Not to mention all the collateral damage to busineses using Megaupload for legitimate backups (even if we do acknowledge that a huge chunk of that data was probably pirated...).

    I'm doubtful of how successful any court action will be directly against the US government, but if he's willing to funnel it back into the kind of altruistic endeavour he's proposing, I say power to him. I'm sure that LOTR-notwithstanding, It's more than Hollywood's ever done for New Zealand's economy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)

      I'd say that regardless of your stance on intellectual property, if you dig below the surface then you can see there was some very grubby, nepotistic and borderline criminal politics at work

      borderline? It was outright criminal...

      in the obliteration of Megaupload and the persecution Dotcom.

      ...oh, you're just toting the party line.

      Here's a deal: I'll agree with you if you get your head out of your ass and agree that the e-mails obtained during the prosecution also show very clearly that Kim and his gang actually were intentionally breaking the law on a large scale with the sole motivation of money, money, money.

      Or does that not fit the self-made image of the glorious freedom fighter? Sorry, dude. The real heroes don't live in mansions.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:17AM (#41878041)

        You're right, but still, if I had to choose, I'd choose an evil douche like him with his evil company over an organized evil body like MAFIAA with its lapdog, the US government, any time, anywhere without so much of a blink of an eye.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday November 05, 2012 @04:20AM (#41878223) Journal

        in the obliteration of Megaupload and the persecution Dotcom.

        Kim and his gang actually were intentionally breaking the law on a large scale with the sole motivation of money, money, money.

        I'm confused.
        Is it not possible that both things were happening at the same time?

        Sorry, dude. The real heroes don't live in mansions.

        Agreed. No true Scotsman would live in a mansion.

      • by tbird81 (946205)

        Oh no! It's a 3-digit UID Slashdotter who hates money! Fucking typical.

        Money ain't evil, it paid for your computer.

        Dotcom did nothing wrong, except piss off Hollywood.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Oh no! It's a 3-digit UID Slashdotter who hates money! Fucking typical.

          Money ain't evil, it paid for your computer.

          Dotcom did nothing wrong, except piss off Hollywood.

          There is a difference, you utter twat, between differentiating criminal from non-criminal economic activities, and hating money.

          You are perilously close to parroting the extreme right wing/libertarian lie that any business is good by definition, because all that matters is economics.

    • by mattr (78516)

      Um, Avatar was made in NZ (Weta Digital)

    • re: the kind of altruistic endeavour he's proposing:

      Hmmm, altruism? What if g**gle suddenly decided to subsidize free telephones for all: smart phones for the kiddies, non-smart phones for the non-smarties, all they asked was to be able to track and keep and use all of the data they could gather from you (net access, telco PEN trace stuff, hell google could even keep every uttered voice and word and sneeze with their HW, GPS and location info along with timing info of when you are where). Now a lot of p

      • I wouldn't call Dotcom's plan altruistic, on that I agree with you, but his plan is clearly much less "evil" than the scenario you proposed. The plan is simple: he wants more bandwidth for his new Mega-solution, and he wants to bitch-slap back the U.S. government and all the related parties while doing so. Handing out free bandwidth to all the Joe Blows of NZ is just a means of increasing the profitability of his new venture via indirect marketing effect while also improving his own, personal reputation in

    • He knows he isn't going to do it, because to bring the action against the US he'd have to do it in US court. He tries that, well he'll get arrested. Bullshit or no, the US government wants to go after him and if he's on US soil, that's quite easy. Even if the lose they can make the process drawn out and a huge pain in the ass for him. So there's no way he'd come to the US.

      That aside, suing government is problematic. Look up sovereign immunity. In the US, as with many countries, it is still law. So more or l

    • "collateral damage to busineses using Megaupload for legitimate backups" ha ha, you mean the nazi movie traders lost their archives.
  • by GrpA (691294) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:37AM (#41877855)

    Next up, Kim Dotcoms create the New Zealand based MEGAparty, waiting for the day that people vote him Prime Minister of New Zealand - with his election platform based on Free MEGAbroadband for all, for FREE!

    But it's ten-times better for those who register their vote for him with the MEGApartyManager...

    GrpA

  • by Tom (822) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:53AM (#41877923) Homepage Journal

    Oh, please. He's an attention whore and trying to stay in the news. /. willfully plays along. Will it be reported if I make a New Year's resolution, too?

    There's probably half a billion people with half a billion business ideas on the planet right now. Why is Kim Criminals' being reported? Oh yes, because he broke a couple laws that we don't like.
    How about you support the real heroes today? The ones like the EFF, or in Europe EDRI, who are fighting this fight where it can actually be won - the legal and politics level - and have been doing so for years?

    • Re:please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rakshasa-sensei (533725) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:07AM (#41877995) Homepage

      Real heros?

      How about a guy that got raided by Delta-force with assault rifles and helicopters, a billion dollar business destroyed with no due process, and illegal spying that is pretty close to getting a prime minister redhanded in illegalities?

      What has gone down would be enough to produce a pretty damn good movie and you're questioning if he's been through enough to qualify for some support? Are you perhaps a sore dick mad at the world cause someone else has done cool stuff and you never got out of your mom's basement.

      • The billion dollar business you refer to was based on dealing in stolen information, but somehow you neglected to mention that. He was previously convicted in Germany for insider trading and embezzlement, and in hong kong for illegal share dealing. He then bought his citizenship in New Zealand. Classy.

        Kim.com is a huckster who moves from country to country as he exhausts their supply of goodwill o r is convicted of fraud, and you've fallen for his cheap demagogy. Congratulations.

      • by Legion303 (97901)

        None of those things makes him a hero, but all of them make his government look like weak lapdogs eager to grab their ankles for US interests.

    • Maybe because, frankly, they're advancing pretty much none whatsoever? The only time the big music/movie industry was forced to back down was with SOPA, and that had pretty little to do with anyone of those and much more with the public outrage. And even that wasn't a real victory anyway, only a postpone at best. In the meantime, we're all enjoying the more and more stringent copyright laws and extensions of trademarks/copyright time periods (with no end in sight).

      So frankly, I don't see those real heroes
    • Yes, what /. clearly lacks is stories about the EFF.

    • by tbird81 (946205)

      The ones like the EFF, or in Europe EDRI

      Heroes don't really exist. They're a concept - it's someone who inspires you. But that person may not inspire others.

      So while people may have heroes, there are no actually heroes. It's not a type of person, but an opinion about a person.

  • he's got my vote. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:55AM (#41877931)

    Put me on the jury and i'll award him billions.

    What the US and NZ goverment did to him was wrong, illegal, and COMPLETE BULLSHIT!
    You can't be the good guys pulling shit like that over some fucking media... not something serious... movies and music... what. the... fuck!

    So i'll root for the 'criminal' here. Because all in all he's far less of a scumbag than any of the politicians or law enforcement agents involved in this clusterfuck megaupload case.

    See america... this is how far we have fallen.. i'd rather support a "criminal" than law enforcement thugs or politicians.
    USA! We are the worlds biggest hypocrites! Respect is earned and the USA deserves damm little anymore.
    And if i had my way i'd see ALL of the politicians and pigs involved in this case thrown in jail for a decade.

    • by tehcyder (746570) on Monday November 05, 2012 @05:46AM (#41878579) Journal

      Put me on the jury and i'll award him billions.

      You have to be over 18 and of sound mind to serve on a jury where I come from.

    • "USA! We are the worlds biggest hypocrites!"

      If you really believe that all it belies is your extreme ignorance of the world at large. Hypocrisy is common in humans and thus in their governments and the US is not even near the worst. Spend less time bitching, more time enlightening yourself.

    • by FlynnMP3 (33498)

      And if i had my way i'd see ALL of the politicians and pigs involved in this case thrown in jail for a decade.

      Eh...jail is too good for them. Besides, with the number of corrupt people involved in this whole mess, you'd have to anex at least 10 federal prisons just to hold them all. Then there is the matter of the new corrupt people that would fill the void and the cycle would continue.

  • Interesting, but beating a government at their own game by suing their interests simply isn't going to work. It takes arrogance to think you can beat another man's game when the other man gets to define the rules.

    1. 1. Sue Hollywood for two HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS for the "unlawful and political destruction" of Megaupload
    2. 2. Use funds to buy 6,500-mile-long "undersea cable"
    3. 3. Use the "undersea cable" to give the people of New Zealand free "high-speed internet," and your new, secure, New Zealand-based "Me.ga" a fat pipe for the transfer of Hollywood's pirated movies
    4. 4. Use the "high-speed internet" to become a national hero who will never be extradited to the U.S.
    5. 5. Use the profits from "Me.ga" to pick up where
    • The value of MegaUpload has been estimated to up to a billion dollars, not two hundred million. You need to take into account future earning potential.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The value of MegaUpload has been estimated to up to a billion dollars, not two hundred million. You need to take into account future earning potential.

        If you base a business on breaking the law, it has zero future earning potential, as Kim Dotfuck is now finding out.

        He'll have to go back to dodgy share dealing instead of bamboozling a few geeks who are impressed that he's got richer from (breaking) the copyright laws they so disapprove of than almost any actual content creator.

        • by pantaril (1624521)

          If you base a business on breaking the law, it has zero future earning potential, as Kim Dotfuck is now finding out.

          It's sad, that providing service for sharing information is considered criminal by some.
          Let's hope his me.ga follow up will be successful and will finaly provide simple and safe way to share your data with anyone on the internet without the fear of overzealous automatic guard robots taking it down like on youtube.

      • You mean, like, back in the 2000s with the whole dot.com market?

        That's actually what's wrong with the "estimated worth" of a company. A company should be worth what it is worth, not what some crystal ball fortune tellers think it will be worth at some point.

  • I believe that a lawsuit against Hollywood and the US government is hopeless. They both own too many judges. However, I hope that some investigation into the matter would bring more light on the US government's and Hollywood's roles in the matter. This whole thing looks like Hollywood just convinced the US government to destroy the Dubious Dotcom, by using whatever Dubious Means possible. It's like Hollywood ordered a drone strike in New Zealand, and the US military leadership had no say in the matter.

    Some Hollywood and government folks are a wee bit too cozy together, for my comfort.

    • Yeah, but how can you get information about the communique(accent)s and diplomatic cables that passed back-and-forth involving the governmental entities now that the slash-and-burn tactics used on wikileaks has destroyed any of the good reputation / goodwill that a site like wikileaks had? Where can you get information about the rogue partnership that turns copyright infringement (a civil matter) into criminal matters that force extradition without valid criminal complaints (even if there ultimately could
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I believe that a lawsuit against Hollywood and the US government is hopeless. They both own too many judges. However, I hope that some investigation into the matter would bring more light on the US government's and Hollywood's roles in the matter. This whole thing looks like Hollywood just convinced the US government to destroy the Dubious Dotcom, by using whatever Dubious Means possible.

      It is important for you to understand that this will not improve anything. The US government has been dubious from the very beginning. We bombarded towns south of the border to force them to sell to United Fruit Company, for example, while at the same time we fought naval actions against piracy. On average Americans don't give one tenth of one fuck what's being done in their name, and most who do are happy we're bombing someone they feel deserves it because they consume only the state-sponsored media licens

  • by Chas (5144) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:47AM (#41878133) Homepage Journal

    Basically the studios have enough collective cash to put him in the poorhouse before he ever sees a dime from them.

  • Free? Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) on Monday November 05, 2012 @04:55AM (#41878345)

    I could buy a bus today and offer people free commuting to work, but that's not going to last much beyond the point where I have to refill the fuel tank for the first time...

    He is not so naive to think that he can just hook a fibre link up to an end-point in the CONUS and give everyone in NZ free data transfer.

    1. Maintenance costs of the fibre link.
    2. Transit costs to non-peering partners
    3. Transit costs to "rest of World", you may have heard of it
    4. End-mile connectivity for the NZ customers

    All these have immense ongoing costs. Not sure how Mr Dotcom's traditional advertise-and-nag funding model will help there.

    • Re:Free? Nonsense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hairyfish (1653411) on Monday November 05, 2012 @05:32AM (#41878505)

      He is not so naive to think...

      The guy might be of questionable intent, but he isn't stupid. Without having much knowledge of the subject matter, at a wild guess I'd say he plans to cover the costs by serving all me.ga data from NZ to the rest of the world, which effectively makes all peering arrangements hugely profitable since most traffic is outbound. In any case I'm sure he knows more about this than you or I, so there must be a workable business model there somewhere.

    • Re:Free? Nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

      by xtal (49134) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:47AM (#41879011)

      Transit costs are marginal.

      Once the fiber is in place, operational expenses on a link per bit are basically zero. You'd have to get it connected to a peering hub of course, but on the scale he's talking about, it's not a big deal.

      Bandwidth is (almost) free. Capital build is not. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • He has to go to the US first, and face the charges brought against him. Which is a gamble I don't think Dotcom will take.

  • Big promises, trying to get investors, then ... well, read his history.

    I wouldn't hold my breath to see it come true.

  • by nut (19435) on Monday November 05, 2012 @06:29AM (#41878747) Homepage

    The original Pacific Fibre project failed technically because of lack of funding, but just as much from international politicking [interest.co.nz]. International infrastructure (intrastructure?) attracts these sorts of issues it would seem. The US didn't want China funding it and really didn't want them providing technology.

    And of course theres's already speculation [tvnz.co.nz] the US would take the same attitude to Kim Dotcom's involvement given they are trying to prosecute him for teh internet crimez.

    A cynic might see this as a cynical PR move on his part. He offers The People of NZ goodies and the US government takes them away. He gets to look like the good guy again and it ultimately costs him nothing.

  • ...is this Dotcom guy and his homies reminding anyone of the crew from Stephenson's Cryptonomicon? 'Datahavens' and now his considering putting down cable. Does that mean he's gonna start looking for Japanese war gold soon?

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