The shutdown of two small e-mail providers on Thursday illustrates why it is so hard for Internet companies to challenge secret government surveillance: to protect their customers’ data from federal authorities, the two companies essentially committed suicide.Read the rest here.
Lavabit, a Texas-based service that was reportedly used by Edward J. Snowden, the leaker who had worked as a National Security Agency contractor, announced the suspension of its service Thursday afternoon. In a blog post, the company’s owner, Ladar Levison, suggested — though did not say explicitly — that he had received a secret search order, and was choosing to shut the service to avoid being “complicit in crimes against the American people.”
Within hours, a fast-growing Maryland-based start-up called Silent Circle also closed its e-mail service and destroyed its e-mail servers. The company said it saw the writing on the wall — while also making it plain that it had not yet received any court orders soliciting user data.
I tip my hat to you sirs. It is remotely possible that true patriotism is not dead in corporate America.