Lavabit reopens, Snowden’s former email provider

Lavabit, the encrypted messaging service provider once used by Snowden, has announced that it will reopen after a three-year hiatus during which it developed new messaging technology.

Lavabit owner Ladar Levison teased the service January 1st, and did the official announcement yesterday, by choosing the day of the inauguration of President Donald Trump to formalize the return.

The service is not yet operational, but old users can reactivate their old accounts, while new users can pre-register a new one. Levison says the service will most likely be rolled out in full over the weekend.

Lavabit closed in 2013 to protect accounts receivable

Lavabit’s story begins in 2008, when the service was launched to provide easy encrypted emails to anyone who wanted more privacy for their online communications.

The service came to an abrupt end in August 2013, when Levison removed the site’s SSL key, making the service inaccessible to all users, but especially NSA agents.

Levison made the decision to shut down his own business so as not to have to give the SSL key to the NSA, who came knocking on the door with a court order, attempting to access Eduard Snowden’s email account.

Levison said the SSL key would have given access to any Lavabit account, not just Snowden’s, so he decided to delete it and keep his customers’ emails intact. When it closed, Lavabit had approximately 400,000 users.

Lavabit developers create new technology: DIME and Magma

In an announcement posted on Lavabit’s homepage yesterday, Levison reveals two new technologies that he and his employees have developed with funds raised through a Kickstarter campaign.

Lavabit’s new technology includes DIME and Magma. DIME stands for Dark Internet Mail Environment and is an automated, federated, end-to-end encryption standard designed to work with different service providers while minimizing metadata leaks.

Second, Magma is a revolutionary mail server designed to work with DIME. Levison says Magma is open source and will be available to anyone looking to run a more secure mail server.

“Anyone with a domain can deploy Magma or implement their own encrypted DIME-compatible server,” says Levison. “These are just the first steps of many as our implicit goals are to create graphical clients for Windows, Mac OS X / iOS, and Linux / Android and help others implement this new technology.”

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June J. Lopez

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