Lavabit, Edward Snowden’s secure email provider, shuts down rather than collaborate with US spying

by 1389 on August 8, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), NSA, privacy, security, tyranny, U.S. Constitution

From lavabit.com:

Lavabit logo

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.

Wired News: Edward Snowden’s Email Provider Shuts Down Amid Secret Court Battle

By Kevin Poulsen
[…]
Based in Texas, Lavabit attracted attention last month when NSA leaker Edward Snowden used an email account with the service to invite human rights workers and lawyers to a press conference in the Moscow airport where he was then confined. A PGP crypto key apparently registered by Snowden with a Lavabit address suggests he’s favored the service since January 2010 — well before he became the most important whistleblower in a generation.
[…]
Court records show that, in June, Lavabit complied with a routine search warrant targeting a child pornography suspect in a federal case in Maryland. That suggests that Levison isn’t a privacy absolutist. Whatever compelled him to shut down now must have been exceptional.
[…]

Obviously, it isn’t terrorists or other genuine evildoers that the NSA or other US spy agencies are looking for. They are desperate to get the goods on American citizens, or more correctly subjects, who oppose the Obama administration.

Guardian (UK): Email service Lavabit abruptly shut down citing government interference

By Spencer Ackermann
[…]
Several technology companies that participate in the National Security Agency’s surveillance dragnets have filed legal requests to lift the secrecy restrictions that prevent them from explaining to their customers precisely what it is that they provide to the powerful intelligence service – either wittingly or due to a court order. Yahoo has sued for the disclosure of some of those court orders.

The presiding judge of the secret court that issues such orders, known as the Fisa court, has indicated to the Justice Department that he expects declassification in the Yahoo case. The department agreed last week to a review that will last into September about the issues surrounding the release of that information.

There are few internet and telecommunications companies known to have refused compliance with the NSA for its bulk surveillance efforts, which the NSA and the Obama administration assert are vital to protect Americans. One of them is Qwest Communications, whose former CEO Joseph Nacchio – convicted of insider trading – alleged that the government rejected it for lucrative contracts after Qwest became a rare holdout for post-9/11 surveillance.

“Without the companies’ participation,” former NSA codebreaker William Binney recently told the Guardian, “it would reduce the collection capability of the NSA significantly.”
[…]

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PTG

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