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Old Aug 8, 2013, 06:35 PM   #1
SJism23
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Lavabit Email Shuts down

The creator behind Lavabit, the secure, encrypted email provided used by Edward Snowden, has shut his service down. Here's an open letter he posted on lavabit.com:

Quote:
My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: 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.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC
Seems like the govt. wants backdoor access to Snowden's emails. What do you guys think about the situation?

P.S. If you feel compelled, you can donate to Lavabit's legal fund.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 01:14 AM   #2
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Hate to say it - but with the way things are looking it wouldn't shock me to see the govt crack down on encrypting in the coming years, similar to some "other" countries the US demonizes.

I have a feeling it'll get to the point if you have some 4096-bit encrypted file and the govt thinks it contains something - the mere fact it is so highly encrypted will be used as evidence against you.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 01:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by thekingofnerds View Post
Hate to say it - but with the way things are looking it wouldn't shock me to see the govt crack down on encrypting in the coming years, similar to some "other" countries the US demonizes.

I have a feeling it'll get to the point if you have some 4096-bit encrypted file and the govt thinks it contains something - the mere fact it is so highly encrypted will be used as evidence against you.
But they have to prove that it is something highly valuable in that encrypted email, which they wouldn't really be able to do without that password to decrypt. And here is precedent for not being compelled to give up that password.

This all smacks of the PGP fiasco from 20 years ago that Philip Zimmerman went through. This makes programs like PGP and GnuPG all that much more important as far as privacy goes.. but more than that, there's that adage that 'those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it'... well, here we are again.

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Old Aug 9, 2013, 01:59 AM   #4
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I wonder if this is one of the "NSA letters" I've heard rumors about. Apparently they have sent cease and desist letters to some companies saying that disclosure of the letter - even to one's lawyer - is illegal and constitutes a national security threat.

This is entirely out of control, but I don't see it changing unless we have some massive reordering of how our government and national security process works.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 06:06 AM   #5
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SilentCircle shut down their encrypted email service now as well.

I think it's dawning on providers that they can't really protect your data after all.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by niuniu View Post
SilentCircle shut down their encrypted email service now as well.

I think it's dawning on providers that they can't really protect your data after all.
I have been following this story with considerable interest; not, I must say, the finest hour of the current administration.

It also seems that the perceived lack of privacy, or protection of your data, in encrypted email services may be hurting some US businesses as users abroad (i.e. Europe and elsewhere) seek other services which do not have links to the US.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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Steve Gibson, security expert, just tweeted,
Quote:
We can no longer safely delegate our security because our delegates may be compelled to secretly violate our trust.
If people want secure communications, they need to encrypt their emails, locally, on their own machines and then send them out. Of course, the recipient also needs to be set up with encryption in order to read the email or open a file.

Its all quite simple with the free and open source GPGtools. It's what I use to encrypt and digitally sign my emails.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 08:48 PM   #8
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This is just the first step. Next up: encryption becomes illegal for personal data, period.

We're living in a police state, and it's getting worse every day.

$&@$ all of you politicians. Shame on you, Obama, Liar in Chief.

-t
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
This is just the first step. Next up: encryption becomes illegal for personal data, period.

-t
This was already tried in the 1990's in a way.

Wikipedia:
Quote:
Shortly after its release, PGP encryption found its way outside the United States, and in February 1993 Zimmermann became the formal target of a criminal investigation by the US Government for "munitions export without a license". Cryptosystems using keys larger than 40 bits were then considered munitions within the definition of the US export regulations; PGP has never used keys smaller than 128 bits so it qualified at that time. Penalties for violation, if found guilty, were substantial. After several years, the investigation of Zimmermann was closed without filing criminal charges against him or anyone else.

Zimmermann challenged these regulations in an imaginative way. He published the entire source code of PGP in a hardback book,[13] via MIT Press, which was distributed and sold widely. Anybody wishing to build their own copy of PGP could buy the $60 book, cut off the covers, separate the pages, and scan them using an OCR program, creating a set of source code text files. One could then build the application using the freely available GNU Compiler Collection. PGP would thus be available anywhere in the world. The claimed principle was simple: export of munitions—guns, bombs, planes, and software—was (and remains) restricted; but the export of books is protected by the First Amendment. The question was never tested in court with respect to PGP. In cases addressing other encryption software, however, two federal appeals courts have established the rule that cryptographic software source code is speech protected by the First Amendment (the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Bernstein case and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Junger case).

US export regulations regarding cryptography remain in force, but were liberalized substantially throughout the late 1990s. Since 2000, compliance with the regulations is also much easier. PGP encryption no longer meets the definition of a non-exportable weapon, and can be exported internationally except to seven specific countries and a list of named groups and individuals[14] (with whom substantially all US trade is prohibited under various US export controls).
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 03:30 AM   #10
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There is a huge market here for an email provider in a 'non-complicit' territory to provide a popular email service out of the NSA's reach. Maybe Kim DotCom could bankroll it.

Finger's crossed something springs up out of all this mess.
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 01:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandboxGeneral View Post
This was already tried in the 1990's in a way.
With the Patriot Act as a backing, they'll be successful this time around.

-t
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 02:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
With the Patriot Act as a backing, they'll be successful this time around.

-t
Wrong. They won't. The Patriot Act is not going to trump to validations of the 1st Amendment, no matter how much you try to make this out to be Obama's fault. If anything, shouldn't you be blaming the 2000-2004 Congress and President Bush for passing this in the first place?

Oh wait.. I forget.. Everything is Obama's fault nowadays. :roll eyes:

BL.
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 03:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bradl View Post
Wrong. They won't. The Patriot Act is not going to trump to validations of the 1st Amendment, no matter how much you try to make this out to be Obama's fault. If anything, shouldn't you be blaming the 2000-2004 Congress and President Bush for passing this in the first place?
WTF ?

Show me where I ever said it's not Bush's fault at all, and ONLY Obama's fault.
Both parties are completely complicit in this.

If anything, one could say that Bush was at least more honest about it than Obama. At least Bush didn't promise more transparency.

-t
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 04:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
WTF ?

Show me where I ever said it's not Bush's fault at all, and ONLY Obama's fault.
Both parties are completely complicit in this.

If anything, one could say that Bush was at least more honest about it than Obama. At least Bush didn't promise more transparency.

-t
You didn't have to. Your post above says quite enough:


Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
This is just the first step. Next up: encryption becomes illegal for personal data, period.

We're living in a police state, and it's getting worse every day.

$&@$ all of you politicians. Shame on you, Obama, Liar in Chief.

-t
It also shows the type of person you are if you'd rather the government be dishonest about the surveillance they are doing and trying to cover it up. Oh wait.. Watergate and Iran-Contra must not have been good enough.

In short, you need to blame ALL of government, not just basing your anger towards Obama. But you certainly didn't do that, especially with the above referenced.

Mods, I see this going PRSI from this point. Feel free to move it, should you need.

BL.
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 08:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradl View Post
You didn't have to. Your post above says quite enough:
Good enough for you to make a bunch of ASSumptions ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradl View Post
In short, you need to blame ALL of government, not just basing your anger towards Obama. But you certainly didn't do that, especially with the above referenced.
I DO blame all government (whatever that means), but Obama is POTUS, he has the power to change stuff, but he isn't. Therefore, I blame him MORE than past presidents that have no more power to change stuff (whether they wanted or not.)

I also blame the Republicans for being such a weak sauce opposition and basically complicit in all this crap.

I blame the supreme court for becoming a bunch of activist judges that lost sight of the constitution.

And I blame the citizen of the USSA for letting their country go to waste, and not standing up to stop all this.

Yes, blame for where we as a country have come to goes all around.

-t
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 04:21 AM   #16
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation article, Lavabit Encrypted Email Service Shuts Down, Can’t Say Why, makes some interesting observations regarding the closing of Lavabit. Brief quote from the article follows:

Quote:
It’s rare to see an email provider choose to go out of business rather than compromise its values. It must have been a hard decision for Ladar Levison, but he remained true to his promise to put privacy before profits. It was also hard on the users, some of whom lost access to email not available elsewhere.

Lavabit's ominous note and the lack of information about this case is especially concerning for users of large communication service providers like Facebook and Google that may well have been subject to similar pressure, and we hope they will continue to fight for the user in the face of government demands, even if not recognized for years. Already, Lavabit's note has led to Silent Circle dropping its email service, saying "We see the writing [on] the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now. We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now."

Moving forward, we need more transparency so the public can know and understand what led to a ten-year-old business closing its doors and a new start-up abandoning a business opportunity. Hopefully Congress will get concerned, especially when there are American jobs at stake.

Lavabit’s post indicates that there was a gag order, and that there is an ongoing appeal before the Fourth Circuit. We call on the government and the courts to unseal enough of the docket to allow, at a minimum, the public to know the legal authority asserted, both for the gag and the substance, and give Lavabit the breathing room to participate in the vibrant and critical public debates on the extent of email privacy in an age of warrantless bulk surveillance by the NSA.
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 05:04 AM   #17
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There is a huge market here for an email provider in a 'non-complicit' territory to provide a popular email service out of the NSA's reach. Maybe Kim DotCom could bankroll it.
Assuming your talking Kim "Kimble" Schmitz ?? That guy has a long history of ratting out other to save his own neck. Back in the days of "copy parties" for Amiga-game floppies he even worked with a rather notorious&criminal lawyer to extort large sums from unexpecting teenagers lured in by images of cute girls.

You might also wonder why HE from got away Megaupload without major bruises.

In short, if I had to trust my data to a 'non-complicit' Kim I'd rather use the short guy with the funny hairstyle !!
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 05:18 AM   #18
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Assuming your talking Kim "Kimble" Schmitz ?? That guy has a long history of ratting out other to save his own neck. Back in the days of "copy parties" for Amiga-game floppies he even worked with a rather notorious&criminal lawyer to extort large sums from unexpecting teenagers lured in by images of cute girls.

You might also wonder why HE from got away Megaupload without major bruises.

In short, if I had to trust my data to a 'non-complicit' Kim I'd rather use the short guy with the funny hairstyle !!
Need more detail on him ratting people out to the authorities. If he has a long history of it like you claim - it's odd I can't find it by searching.
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 06:35 AM   #19
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Need more detail on him ratting people out to the authorities. If he has a long history of it like you claim - it's odd I can't find it by searching.

Well most of it happened before the internet really started, and he's very smart when it comes to avoid prosecution.

On top of that his past misdoings were done just within the German Amiga/C64 "underground" communities of the late 80s/early 90s so very few people know the exact details.

His english and german wikipedia entries should give you some pointers (and rest assured he is the kind of guy who would fight to the teeth to have those changed if they contained any incorrect data).

So yes, I would still rather trust my data to Kim Jong Un
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 06:44 AM   #20
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Well most of it happened before the internet really started, and he's very smart when it comes to avoid prosecution.

On top of that his past misdoings were done just within the German Amiga/C64 "underground" communities of the late 80s/early 90s so very few people know the exact details.

His english and german wikipedia entries should give you some pointers (and rest assured he is the kind of guy who would fight to the teeth to have those changed if they contained any incorrect data).

So yes, I would still rather trust my data to Kim Jong Un
Sorry I'm looking for specific situations where he ratted people out
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 06:48 AM   #21
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Sorry I'm looking for specific situations where he ratted people out
In that case, knock yourself out:
https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/365716466441519105


Just don't say you haven't been warned.
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 06:55 AM   #22
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In that case, knock yourself out:
https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/365716466441519105


Just don't say you haven't been warned.
Oh! Excellent!

Say what you like about him, he's a maverick with balls.
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 06:57 AM   #23
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Oh! Excellent!

Say what you like about him, he's a maverick with balls.
And the biggest one is floating above his neck !!
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 07:17 AM   #24
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I have been following this story with considerable interest; not, I must say, the finest hour of the current administration.
I agree. Sadly it's the uneducated masses that blindly empower the person at the top to do as he pleases consequence free. They also empower him to take time off for leisure, instead of doing the right thing. The trail of wreckage left behind will take decades to be revealed.
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 09:25 AM   #25
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There is a huge market here for an email provider in a 'non-complicit' territory to provide a popular email service out of the NSA's reach. Maybe Kim DotCom could bankroll it.

Finger's crossed something springs up out of all this mess.
The feds don't like being bucked. This type of action will lead to the owner's housed getting raided by SWAT for dubious reasons and a string of DOJ, DHS, NSA, and IRS investigations.

Federal judges would be up your ass with subpoenas and warrants served by federal marshals in full tactical gear.

You'd be asking for pain like you can't imagine by getting into this business.
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