GOOD NEWS FOR EDWARD SNOWDEN, and anyone else that used the Lavabit encrypted email service: it is coming back.
Lavabit shut down because the US government gave it no other option and the chap behind it was forced to throw in the towel. It was a tough time for the privacy aware outfit, and its users, but that was 2013.
Owner and operator Ladar Levinson later claimed that he felt as though he was stuck in a Kafkaesque nightmare, the legal kind, not the turning into a bug kind. "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," he said.
"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".
The next year, Levinson told the Guardian newspaper that the US made it impossible to for Lavabit to carry on providing a truly private service.
"I had no choice but to consent to the installation of their device, which would hand the US government access to all of the messages - to and from all of my customers - as they travelled between their email accounts other providers on the Internet," he said.
"But that wasn't enough. The federal agents then claimed that their court order required me to surrender my company's private encryption keys, and I balked. What they said they needed were customer passwords - which were sent securely - so that they could access the plain-text versions of messages from customers using my company's encrypted storage feature."
There are still some things that he cannot talk about, but there are others that he can. This includes the relaunch of Lavabit which relaunched with some grim irony on Inauguration Day.
"Today is Inauguration Day in the United States, the day we enact one of our most sacred democratic traditions, the peaceful transition of power. Regardless of one's political disposition, today we acknowledge our shared values of Freedom, Justice, and Liberty as secured by our Constitution. This is the reason why I've chosen today to relaunch Lavabit.
Much has changed since my decision, but unfortunately much has not in our post-Snowden world. Email continues to be the heart of our cyber-identities, but as evidenced by recent jaw-dropping headlines it remains insecure, unreliable, and easily readable by an attacker."
Former users can access their old accounts, apparently. They should attempt this while in the "Trustful" mode that is offered. Interested punters, with no prior relations with the service, can apply for an account now. µ
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