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My company, Lavabit, provided email services to 410,000 people, and thrived by offering features specifically designed to protect the privacy and security of its customers. I had no choice but to consent to the installation of their device, which would have provided the government with access to all of the messages, for all of my customers, as they travelled to and from other providers on the Internet.
August 8th, 2013
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.
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC
I think we all know that this is happening and that there is nothing
we can do about it, but thanks for bringing it up. Maybe someone will tell
me what I want to hear...that I am wrong and, besides just not trying to
communicate further, there is something that we can do.
originally posted by: pl3bscheese
Yea well we've known this for years. Anyone approaching a significant size gets the talk and gets all the mail sniffed.
Solution is easy. Set up your own mail server. I had a thread a while back on mail-in-a-box. It's dummy proof mail server.
It's also worth considering that it might not be how many but WHO
is using the service, if governments are watching certain individuals they'll
be able to see those individuals traffic but not know the contents of that
traffic due to encryption methods.
These days posting an actual letter is probably the most secure form of
communication though or talking to someone face to face inside a cave
or dense forest where the spy satellites cannot watch you
originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck
And "Net Neutrality" just made it easier.
This isn't a surprise. It's probably why the government wanted it classified as a "utility" in the first place.
It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets for years: the identity of the person the government was investigating in 2013 when it served the secure email firm Lavabit with a court order demanding help spying on a particular customer.
Ladar Levison, owner of the now defunct email service, has been forbidden since then, under threat of contempt and possibly jail time, from identifying who the government was investigating. In court documents from the case unsealed in late 2013, all information that could identify the customer was redacted.