Edward Snowden’s email provider shuts down amid secret court battle
Reading between the lines, it’s reasonable to assume that Levison fought either a national security letter seeking information about the client – which by default comes with a gag order – or a search warrant, or full-fledged listening.
Court records show that in June, Lavabit complied with a routine search warrant for a child pornography suspect in a federal case in Maryland. This suggests that Levison is not a privacy absolutist. What prompted him to close now must have been exceptional.
A voicemail message to Lavabit was not returned today.
Update 19:45: Lavabit has 350,000 users who are not Edward Snowden, and some are decidedly unhappy with Levison’s decision, judging by a flood of angry comments posted on Lavabit’s Facebook page this afternoon.
“Too bad I paid a few years in advance to continue the good work which now turns out to be completed without any warning,” wrote one user. “I relied on this service which is basic for my private and professional online communication and I don’t know how to migrate emails and retrieve sent emails that never reached me in the last 18 hours.”
“I have my Steam account and EVERYTHING on Lavabit,” another wrote. “Please get the servers up and running so that we can migrate our services. “
“How am I supposed to migrate? »A third user has been added. “Some services require confirmation sent to the old email address in order to change. I can’t believe it. I just switched to Lavabit only a few weeks ago to get away from Hotmail snooping my shit.”
A minority of commentators were more favorable. “Holy shit, you cry over your Steam accounts,” one wrote. “Just change your email address to something else. Lavabit had to either turn around for the government, compromising our privacy, or shut down the service. Be glad Ladar shut it down instead of turning around. . “