Feds Threaten To Arrest Email Provider for Refusing to Spy on Customers

Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
It's a brave new world, America.

Reason.com said:
Feds Threaten To Arrest Email Provider for Closing Rather Than Snooping on Customers
J.D. Tuccille | Aug. 18, 2013 11:19 am

Reason readers know that, recently, encrypted email provider Lavabit closed its doors rather than spy on its customers at the command of the United States government. Lavabit's action was almost immediately echoed by Silent Circle, which preemptively shuttered its encrypted email service and purged users' stored data without warning so that it couldn't be subject to a similar order.

Unfortunately, the government's position seems to be the same as that of the Mafia: If you're told to do business with the mob, you don't get to decide otherwise. Lavabit owner Ladar Levison reportedly faces arrest for his decision to shut down rather than cooperate.

From NBC News:
The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

"I could be arrested for this action," Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden.

Lavabit said he was barred by federal law from elaborating on the order or any of his communications with federal prosecutors. But a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that James Trump, a senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., sent an email to Levison's lawyer last Thursday – the day Lavabit was shuttered -- stating that Levison may have "violated the court order," a statement that was interpreted as a possible threat to charge Levison with contempt of court.
Among the people supporting Lavabit and its owner is Ron Paul. The former congressman and presidential candidate is championing Levison in statements to the press and on his new online news service. According to NBC News:
Among those now backing him is former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who told NBC News on Tuesday that Levison's legal battle "should be in the interests of everybody who cares about liberty."
Levison may need that support. He says he has been "threatened with arrest multiple times over the past six weeks." You can help him with his legal defense fund here.

If you're looking for secure email, Netherlands-based Startpage/Ixquick is in beta on StartMail, a paid encrypted service it expects to offer to the public soon. Kim Dotcom of Mega also plans an encrypted email service based outside the United States. Or you could avoid online services and install PGP on an email client such as Thunderbird.


Registered User
It's just the tip of the iceberg. God knows what else is going on that the general public doesn't know about. Seems like people are getting pissed off enough to push back.


τι θελεις
Pass the soma- I need to zone out from this place.


I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Among those now backing him is former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who told NBC News on Tuesday that Levison's legal battle "should be in the interests of everybody who cares about liberty."
If I was Ladar Levison I'd be pissed. It's hard for anyone to take your position seriously when you have the support of that nutjob.


Registered User
I actually installed that StartPage search engine on Chrome.

Startpage's position:
Privacy Policy

In short:
Startpage does NOT collect or share ANY personal information!
Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

The longer version:
Startpage is strongly committed to protecting the privacy of its user community.
This privacy policy details the - very limited and non-personal - information Startpage.com ("Startpage") may gather and our disclosure policy.

IP Addresses
The IP address that is associated with your search will NOT be recorded.

The only exception is for “abusive” (automated) queriers that rapidly submit many queries to Startpage in a very short time.

Data Collection
We don't collect any personal information on our visitors. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

When you use Startpage, we do not record your IP address, we do not record which browser you are using (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome etc.), we do not record your computer platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.), and we do not record your search words or phrases. In fact, the only information we do record is an aggregate total of how many searches are performed on our website each day (a measure of overall traffic), and those overall traffic numbers broken down by language, and statistics on a purely aggregate level.

This zero data collection policy protects your privacy, since your IP address, browser, and platform information can be combined with other data to uniquely identify your computer, your location, or you. It is also important not to record search terms, since they can convey personal information as well. (Think of someone entering their own name and/or social security number.)