U.S. Government Forces Snowden's Encrypted Email Service to Shut Down

August 25, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who blew the whistle on crimes committed by the U.S. government, communicated privately with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists using Lavabit, an encrypted email service.

The U.S. government pressured Lavabit, which is based in Texas, to close down. A court order was sent to Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, to turn over all users' private email data. In response, Levison did the right thing and refused.

In an open letter addressed to "My Fellow Users," Levison said, "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."

To the U.S. government, which is trying to extradite Snowden from Russia so they can prosecute and punish him for exposing the whole criminal way the NSA is spying on billions of people all around the world—it is a crime for people to try and keep their communications private over the Internet.

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