Lavabit, Email Service Reportedly Used by Snowden, Shuts Down

by
Abby Zimet

Offering the elusive explanation that he wanted to avoid "being complicit in crimes against the American people," Lavabit founder Ladar Levison has suspended operations, evidently the first time a service provider has publicly closed down rather than cooperate with court-ordered government surveillance. In a statement on his site, Levison notes, "I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot....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." He also suggests he is preparing a legal fight, offers a link to a legal defense fund - "Defending the Constitution is expensive!" - and ends with a warning. More on the implications for other possible NSA targets here.

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"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."

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