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Lavabit shuts down

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Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies

A Texas-based encrypted email service recently revealed to be used by Edward Snowden - Lavabit - announced yesterday it was shutting itself down in order to avoid complying with what it perceives as unjust secret US court orders to provide government access to its users' content. "After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations," the company's founder, Ladar Levinson, wrote in a statement to users posted on the front page of its website. He said the US directive forced on his company "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." He chose the latter.

Clearly the administration never anticipated that someone would shut down his whole company rather than comply. I see a bright future for Venezuelan cloud providers.

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Submitted by jawbone on

can get the information that wast here. Apparently they felt they would be next on the Feds' hunting list and took drastic measures rather than allow privacy of their patrons to be compromised. Not now. Not ever. They apologized for their customers not getting notice, but doing so would have alerted the Feds to what they were going to do. Protecting privacy was more important, the company owner felt, and privacy was part of their guarantee to customers. He saw from Lavabit what would happen if he delayed.

[Lavabit]Owner and founder Ladar Levison said on Thursday that he was shutting down the service rather than become “complicit in crimes against the American people.” He said that under laws passed by the U.S. Congress he could not share his experiences over the last six weeks, even though he had twice made the appropriate requests.

From TechDirt:

...Silent Circle, chose to announce its own plans to close down its secure email service hours later. Silent Circle isn't facing the same hidden court orders/government demands, but it recognized that it would likely come some day soon -- and thus it was better to shut down ahead of time, before the government forced it to make the same decision. I'm somewhat surprised that Silent Circle didn't at least give its customers a day or whatever to close out their email, but rather the company flat out destroyed its servers, noting:

"Gone. Can't get it back. Nobody can."

The company is still offering other secure tools that feature end-to-end encryption such that there's nothing they can hand over to the government.

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Submitted by Andre on

If I were a client of these two and lost my emails, I would say "Right On!" These two guys are also American Hero status, right up there with the Founding Fathers. And where are the internet big shots in this? Profits are mire important. Or as Snowden says::

"When Congress returns to session in September, let us take note of whether the internet industry's statements and lobbyists - which were invisible in the lead-up to the Conyers-Amash vote - emerge on the side of the Free Internet or the NSA and its Intelligence Committees in Congress."