NPR : News

Email Service Allegedly Used By Edward Snowden Is Shut Down

The email service allegedly used by "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden is no more.

The owner and operator of Lavabit, which encrypts communication between two people, shut down the site and left a cryptic message on its homepage.

"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," Ladar Levison wrote. "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."

How do we know this is the service Snowden used? As Quartz reports, a representative from Human Rights Watch posted Snowden's email address on Facebook. Also, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian journalist who has been in contact with Snowden, said so on Twitter earlier today.

As to what could be going on: Businesses are sometimes served with either Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders or a National Security Letter that usually comes with a gag order. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an explainer. Bill wrote about Google's request to the FISA court to lift the gag order; and back in March, we wrote about a constitutional challenge to National Security Letters.

Update at 4:52 p.m. ET. Lavabit Has Complied In The Past:

Wired reports that the the pro-privacy Texas company has complied with search warrants in the past:

"Court records show that, in June, Lavabit complied with a routine search warrant targeting a child pornography suspect in a federal case in Maryland. That suggests that Levison isn't a privacy absolutist. Whatever compelled him to shut down now must have been exceptional."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Glimmering Sheen Of A Wide World Seen From Inside A Bubble

The teen heroine of Nicola Yoon's debut novel, Everything, Everything, has a disorder that bars her from leaving her house. Still, her world is vast, filled with writings, drawings — and new love.
NPR

Correction: Italians And Celiac Disease

A correction to our story about gluten-free options in Italy, the land of pizza and pasta. Italian children are not routinely tested for celiac disease, as we incorrectly reported.
WAMU 88.5

America's Tolerance For Gun Violence

There are more gun-related deaths in America than in any other industrialized nation. We discuss what makes the U.S. different and why some hold out hope that change is possible.

NPR

China Arrests Nearly 200 Over 'Online Rumors'

The rumors ranged from a man leaping to his death in Beijing over stock losses to highly inflated death tolls in the Tianjin industrial blasts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.