Secure and free web-based email service provider Lavabit shut down today. What makes Lavabit different from countless other email providers who have shuttered over the years is that according to BoingBoing, Lavabit is the email service supposedly used by Edward Snowden. Which would explain the nebulous tone in the farewell letter posted on the company’s front page by owner Ladar Levison. It also explains why Lavabit was shut down by the US government, although that was mostly inferred from the letter which due to legal limitations does not expound on the official reasons for the shut down – one can imagine. It certainly explains the following punchline in Levison’s letter:
“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.“
We wholeheartedly agree.
*(updated to add this Huffington report and Drutter video)
“There are some very high-profile people on Silent Circle — and I mean very targeted people — as well as heads of state, human rights groups, reporters, special operations units from many countries. We wanted to be proactive because we knew USG [the U.S. government] would come after us due to the sheer amount of people who use us, let alone the highly targeted high-profile people.”
*Last updated 13 Aug 2013