Two major encrypted email providers have shut down in recent days rather than cooperate with federal investigators, including the service used by NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The two services, Lavabit — the client Snowden used — and Silent Mail both posted notices on their websites explaining they will shut down their services shortly.
The owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, insinuated in his post Thursday that his site had become the target of a federal investigation and that he personally was subject to a gag order as a result, Forbes reports. Rather than becoming “complicit in crimes against the American people”, Levison had decided to shutter his nearly ten-year-old business and fight the investigation in court. Levison finished his post by bluntly warning anyone from storing data in the United States.
Silent Mail’s creators decided to end their encrpyted email service on Friday in conjunction with Levison, bluntly announcing that they had “preemptively discontinued the service to prevent spying.”
I am fairly certain that most have not encountered the strong arm use of Power over others. This is an example how the use of Power can be a deterrent to a legal activity. Note that this is not an abuse of Power. Abuse signifies a rational limit or a statutory limit was exceeded. This was simply the use of Power to make things difficult for the operator to continue performing a legal act. Money and the cost of a defense is often used to ‘influence’ others into a different course of action as it did in this instance.
“We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now,” wrote Jon Callas, co-founder and CTO of privacy-focused software called Silent Circle in a Friday blog post. “We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now.”
The company did not announce any plans to shut down any of their other encrypted applications, including video chat and document sharing programs.
Silent Mail goes dark on Monday.