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Lavabit was an email provider that took a strong stance on privacy and security.

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    Also, this was supposedly the service that Edward Snowden used.

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      Glad the owner made the right decision. Lock ‘em out. :P

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      without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

      For non-US citizens, I agree. For US citizens, it may still be better to host your data inside the US depending on what it is.

      When your stuff is inside the US, it’s all subject to US law which (is supposed to) limit the ability to secretly wiretap or seize. Although the situation looks grim lately, I am hopeful that reform will come about soon to make this process more transparent to the point where US citizens can, at the least, expect that they won’t have their communications monitored without a warrant.

      When your stuff is outside the US and you have to access it from inside the US, your communications become subject to lawful, warrantless, and secret intercept even as a US citizen and I am doubtful that this type of monitoring will ever go away. It’s one of the legitimate reasons the NSA exists.

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        I didn’t know Silent Circle was in the e-mail space, but they’ve discontinued their e-mail service for similar reasons.

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          I recall it being iOS-only (seems all of their services start that way).

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          Well, this sucks. A notice would have been nice. I just paid 8$ a month ago for another year of service.

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            I imagine, given the circumstances, that Levison had to act pretty quickly to avoid giving the USG legal grounds to push him further.

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              Yeah, it sounds like he was out of options. I never knew how secure they truly were until now.

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                Well, there are those who talk about how committed they are to your privacy and security, and there are those who are actually committed to your privacy and security.

                Unfortunately, most everyone prefers profitability to taking care of their users. You can see this even in the little things, like choosing to make a profitable exit over keeping a service with users running.

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                  Well said. I didn’t think this would make the top post on Reddit,

                  http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1jz5lq/lavabit_the_email_service_used_by_snowden_shuts/

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                Couldn’t he say “Due to a legal matter the details of which I cannot disclose, I am seeking donations” and keep the service running? I think people would be smart enough to figure out what was happening, and then they could choose how to respond.

                The cynic in me notes that this is basically the martyr play. He’s getting a lot of support in general, but the customers directly affected by it seem less enthusiastic. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing an email provider. Maybe some people trust the NSA more than the GOOG, for instance. They’ve basically been co-opted into this fight now too. At the same time, I can appreciate that he doesn’t want to be complicit in the NSA’s schemes, even if he could provide sufficient warning.

                It’s a tough call, but I think I’d prefer to remain as the least worst email provider than to disappear. The minimum level of evil in the world just went up. Of course, I have the luxury of sleeping at night knowing I’ve never promised to even try protecting people’s secrets.

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                  I think he just made it obvious and forced the issue. Something like “Due to a legal matter the details of which I cannot disclose, I am seeking donations” could be construed as a personal issue, or perhaps something related to the service. I think this is as obvious as he could make it without violating a gag order. I also imagine he didn’t have a huge time window in which to make a decision.

                  This being the first case I’ve heard of where someone chose to shut down over submit to top-level pressures, it’s not as if he had a whole lot of prior examples to work from.

                  Also,

                  Couldn’t he say “Due to a legal matter the details of which I cannot disclose, I am seeking donations”

                  He is soliciting legal defense funds.