Friday, August 9, 2013

Ladar Levison : closed his company instead of handing over his users' data to US Government

Salute to this guy!
Reblogging from https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=529849123730760&id=432285083487165:

Meet the man who stood up to the U.S. Government and the NSA: Ladar Levison! Rather than give the government access to all the users' data (encrypted passwords, etc), he refused and shot down the servers and his company. Ten arduous years of work went down the tube. Like Edward Snowden, he put his well being on the back burner in order to stand up for our country, for Liberty and the Constitution. He dared to stand up to this rogue government. Here is the story:

When Edward Snowden emailed journalists and activists in July to invite them to a briefing at the Moscow airport during his long stay there, he used the email account "edsnowden@lavabit.com" according to one of the invitees. Texas-based Lavabit came into being in 2004 as an alternative to Google's Gmail, as an email provider that wouldn't scan users' email for keywords. Being identified as the provider of choice for the country's most famous NSA whistleblower led to a flurry of attention for Lavabit and its encrypted email services, from journalists, and also, apparently, from government investigators. Lavabit founder Ladar Levison announced Thursday that he's shutting down the company rather than cooperating with a government investigation (presumably into Snowden).

Lavabit's website now displays a message about the shutdown, available in full below, along with a request for help paying the legal bill to fight the government in court.


"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," writes Levison. "After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations."

Presumably, the government is seeking access to Edward Snowden's email, email metadata, passwords or encryption keys. And presumably, Levison doesn't want to grant that access.

"I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States," writes Levison, based on his experience. This message seems to be a loud and clear one. Washington, D.C.-based think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation predicts that U.S. cloud companies will lose from $21.5 to $35 billion over the next three years. They admit that it is a "rough guess" based on surveys about the chilling effects of the NSA leaks on cloud businesses.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/08/08/email-company-reportedly-used-by-edward-snowden-shuts-down-rather-than-hand-data-over-to-feds/

*****

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.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

https://lavabit.com/

*****

Edward Snowden's Email Provider Shuts Down Amid Secret Court Battle: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/08/lavabit-snowden/

Kudos to Lavabit owner and operator Ladar Levison for shutting down the company rather than become complicit in crimes against the American people: http://bit.ly/19RcxN8

The N.S.A. and Its Targets: Lavabit Shuts Down: http://nyr.kr/13KPBex

Founder of service reportedly used by Edward Snowden said he would not be complicit in 'crimes against the American people' http://bit.ly/197cNoa

*****

Ladar Levison Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KingLadar

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here: http://bit.ly/1bgJGzJ

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