Lavabit, Silent Circle close over governmental pressures

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Shutting down a service you have put significant amounts of development time into is rarely an easy decision to make, and it has been taken by the operator of Lavabit. The service’s main allure was the ability to send secure email, and now it is gone.

Owner Ladar Levison indicates that Lavabit’s shutdown may be tied to the government, while he refuses to be "complicit to crimes against American people". Ladar’s open letter to Lavabit’s users warns about trusting data to any company physically tied to the United States.

Legal constraints seem to have limited what Ladar can say, as he mentions the failings of the First Amendment. In the background, the Twitter account @lavabit has changed significantly from when it was created in 2009 too.

We can guess at the reasoning for Lavabit’s disappearance. At almost the same time, Silent Circle shut the Silent Email service. Again, its main point was secure email communication.

We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now.

Silent Circle’s CTO Jon Callas wrote in a blog post about the insecure nature of email protocols, and avoiding the same pressure Lavabit faced to close. CEO Michael Janke pointed to high-profile users of Silent Email likely forcing their closure.

You can almost guess at one of the high-profile users, with headlines across the world featuring his name. Though Silent Email may be closed, Silent Phone, Text and Eyes remain “secure as ever”.

Source: Engadget, Lavabit (thanks Spencer R for the tip!)

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18 Comments

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Spicoli said,
What an obvious PR stunt.

PR stunt? How'd you work that out?
It was revealed not that long ago that snowden was using lavabit to send the guardian newspaper information to be published.
This isn't a PR stunt.

Spicoli said,
What an obvious PR stunt.
PR Stunt for a now closed service? Please don't ever go in the PR business, you'll bankrupt the company you work for...

Spicoli said,
What an obvious PR stunt.

LOL!

He's asking for donations for a legal battle and just closed shop for 350 000 users with a mix of free and paid accounts. If you think it's just a PR stunt, I've already heard users pretty dazed, confused, upset over their now inaccessible accounts.

Its interesting how these people wage false wars for personal benefits then repeat the lie so many times that people actually start believing in it and then use those lies to invade privacy. Failure to comply turn you (the victim) into a criminal or a threat to national security!!

Obviously the Iraqis did not have the WMDs they said they did, while they murdered and dislocated millions. Is that the way to win the hearts and minds of anyone?

So what did Saddam Hussein use against the Kurds and Iranians (two wars prior to Iraqi Freedom)? Apparently, he used them all up - however, did we know that? How can you take someone at his word when he's PROVEN his word to be worth crap? (On the one hand, you don't trust the United States, while on the other, your own leaders' words are worth not merely less, but MUCH less.) Trust IS a two-way street, and I have never said otherwise - the issue is that no government trusts (really) any other government, as ALL are proven to speak with "forked tongue" - even the Vatican. When the world's oldest theocratic government is caught lying, that is usually a solid indication that trust is in the crapper.

Actually we found the ones he didn't use PGHammer. People just don't understand what a WMD is. Everyone seems to think it is a nuke and nothing else even though the term was specifically and originally made for categorizing chemical weapons. But hey, don't let history and facts get in their way of distorting what happened over there.

PGHammer said,
So what did Saddam Hussein use against the Kurds and Iranians (two wars prior to Iraqi Freedom)? Apparently, he used them all up - however, did we know that? How can you take someone at his word when he's PROVEN his word to be worth crap? (On the one hand, you don't trust the United States, while on the other, your own leaders' words are worth not merely less, but MUCH less.) Trust IS a two-way street, and I have never said otherwise - the issue is that no government trusts (really) any other government, as ALL are proven to speak with "forked tongue" - even the Vatican. When the world's oldest theocratic government is caught lying, that is usually a solid indication that trust is in the crapper.

Yes he used chemical weapons against the Iranian army and guess what? We had Mr. Rumsfield acting as a postman delivering,to Saddam Hussein satellite pictures showing the locations of those troops because it was beneficial to us....
As for trust, of course there is no trust among Countries but before the Iraq invasion there were UN inspectors, on the ground there, stating that WMDs had been destroyed but this time our government decided to ignore those reports because it was not beneficial to what, at the time, was our government geopolitical goals.

Fritzly said,

As for trust, of course there is no trust among Countries but before the Iraq invasion there were UN inspectors, on the ground there, stating that WMDs had been destroyed but this time our government decided to ignore those reports because it was not beneficial to what, at the time, was our government geopolitical goals.
So what you are saying is we shouldn't trust UN inspectors since while we were there, we found the "destroyed" WMDs? Apparently we can't trust anyone anymore. The UK must be lying when they told us last year that they are helping Iraq destroy the chemical residues from said WMDs. Interesting.

ILikeTobacco said,
So what you are saying is we shouldn't trust UN inspectors since while we were there, we found the "destroyed" WMDs? Apparently we can't trust anyone anymore. The UK must be lying when they told us last year that they are helping Iraq destroy the chemical residues from said WMDs. Interesting.

Which WMD were found? The so famous mobile laboratories Mr. Powell spoke about at the UN assembly? Or the uranium from Niger?

Google is your friend. If you don't know your basic facts, you really shouldn't be commenting about it. I clearly stated chemical WMDs and you are trying to talk about uranium.