48 votes

Ominous warning from one of the few email providers who respected the Constitution

As you all are aware, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and just about all other email service providers allow warrantless collection of all your data. Privacy was one of the main reasons that I held an e-mail address at Lavabit. I paid for the service, even though a free option was available because Lavabit respected privacy and I wanted to do my part to support companies that respect the constitution of the United States. The service has always been reliable, until a couple of days ago when the mail servers became unavailable due to "server maintenance". Finally, today Lavabit suspended operations, and the home page (lavabit.com), posted this ominous messge:

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.

Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Folks, things are getting very bad. I am worried for the future of my children.

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Silent Circle is gone too.

Update: August 9, 2013


Hours later, Maryland-based Silent Circle followed Lavabit's lead by shutting down its own email service; the company's encrypted Silent Phone and Silent Text features are still available.

coming soon...

theres quite a few already around.

i use countermail.com. they're based in Switzerland

Build your own mail server

The problem is relying on others to do the heavy lifting. Build and maintain your own mail server. http://www.hmailserver.com/

hmailserver makes it extremely easy. Set up a free dynamic dns account and be on your way to being your own mail server. Secure the communication with PGP, and no government snoop of your data can take place.

I've been doing it that way for years. Even setup my own messaging client to keep in touch with family and friends knowing that the communication is private and I have disabled all logging on the server. So if for some reason they want to confiscate it, go ahead, no logs.

Good idea...but

I gave you the +1 because it is a good idea, but there are some problems, and questions that I have:

1) You are running windows, which means you have no control over your operating system. I am posting this from a machine running Debian, which has NO non-free software installed on it.

2) Most standard ISP's give you a dynamic IP address. If the IP address changes, that could mess up your email server.

3) Most ISP's block the mail server and web server ports, because they don't want you running a server without paying for a very expensive enterprise level connection.

Maybe you can explain how you overcame these issues?

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

-C. S. Lewis

DakotaKid's picture

Dontated to legal fund

I'm still using GMAIL...need to stop doing that.

I still use Gmail, yahoo,

I still use Gmail, yahoo, etc. When I need supreme privacy I go other routes

This is bad, very bad.

Secret laws, secret courts, the Bill of Rights has been flushed down the toilet.

I moved my email offshore last month

I now have an email server in the Netherlands owned by an Indian company with the domain registered in the Cocos Islands. However, I have since learned that the .cc domain is managed by an American company, grrrrr!. It costs ~$80/year but I am comfortable with it.

Who do you think is programming the NXA (X=S) applications?

Indian companies, on and offshore.

The "cloud" at work, eh? :)