The communications encryptions firm ‘Silent Circle’ chose to shut down it’s e-mail service as one if its competitors ‘Lavabit’ recently shut down it’s core email service. Lavabit cited that he had been the subject of a U.S. government investigation and gag order. It appears the NSA came knocking and instead of fighting for our disappearing privacy rights, Lavabit decided to fold. Co-founder and CTO Jon Callas said in a blog post Friday that Silent Circle’s e-mail service had “always been something of a quandary for us.” This, in spite of the fact that one of Silent Circle’s other co-founder is Phil Zimmermann, inventor of the popular e-mail encryption software PGP. Electronic mail uses standard internet protocols that cannot have the same security guarantees that real-time communication has, Callas said. “Email as we know it with SMTP, POP3, and IMAP cannot be secure.”
“We’ve been thinking about this for some time, whether it was a good idea at all. Yesterday, another secure email provider, Lavabit, shut down their system lest they ‘be complicit in crimes against the American people.’ We see the writing on the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail.” Callas said Silent Circle had not received subpoenas, warrants or anything other similar request from any government. The company had been debating what to do about its email service for weeks, and up until Friday was ready to phase the service out so that it would continue for existing customers. “It is always better to be safe than sorry,” Callas said. What he meant was “…better whipped and submissive than free…”
Friends, this is truly sad. On a daily basis, I see our rights and liberties evaporating due to the efforts of our government and it’s agencies that LIE to us and SPY on us, all under the banner of Social Reform. This post show that a society that fears and distrusts it’s own leaders cannot thrive. Had enough yet?
UPDATE – 08/15/13 – Monterey-based Privato Security sped up the launch of its email service. “I think it is a golden opportunity for us,” CEO Neal Smith, 68, said Tuesday. Privato works by sending an email to a cloud server, an Internet-based storage system, where it stays — heavily encrypted — until the recipient downloads it, instantly deleting it from the server. Check it out.
UPDATE – 08/16/13 – NBC reports that senior US Attorney James Trump sent Lavabit founder Ladar Levison and his lawyer a veiled arrest threat when Levison shut down his private email service (used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden) rather than comply with a secret order to spy on his customers. More interesting reading on the subject here.
UPDATE – 08/23/13 – Ladar Levison, the owner of the now-shuttered encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden said that he will continue to defend online security free of government surveillance, hopefully with success in courts or a possible move of his company overseas.
UPDATE – 08/29/13 – Usage for Tor doubles in wake of secure email shutdowns.
UPDATE – 09/16/13 – Interesting reading on the subject.