The Lavabit email service has shut down. Its website has been replaced by a letter from its founder, Ladar Levinson, that reads as if written by a captive in a hostage situation because he is enjoined from revealing what is going on. The letter explains that he faced “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.”
The following scenario has been speculated: that Lavabit challenged a court order to intercept Ed Snowden’s passwords; that the order was upheld in a secret court proceeding; and that Lavabit chose to shut down rather than comply with the order.
Subsequently, Silent Circle shut down to avoid the Lavabit situation, according to its respected founder Phil Zimmerman.
Snowden finds Lavabit’s actions “inspiring,” and Greenwald includes Snowden’s 200 word comment.
Foreign countries like Germany join Lavabit in recommending people avoid using US based communications companies if they hope to maintain their privacy. Even the New York Times and US lawmakers are upset by the NSA’s overreach. With severe financial consequences, even the telecom giants may be getting restless, evidenced by a recent secret meeting with Obama.
Snowden’s bravery figures to continue to inspire entities like Lavabit and foreign populations and governments to stand against the US government’s secret actions.