Secure email service shuts; warns against hosting data in US

US-based encrypted email service Lavabit has shut up shop in the wake of the PRISM scandal, with its founder warning against trusting data to any company with physical ties to the US.

Texas-based Lavabit was founded in 2004 as a secure email service using encryption to keep information private. The firm recently hit headlines when it was revealed that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was using the service to communicate with press, lawyers and activists.

But without explanation on Thursday, Ladar Levison, owner and operator of Lavabit, shuttered the site indefinitely and hinted that he was under a gagging order from the US government.

“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,” he said.

Levison has started a fund to fight his gag in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstate his company.

In the meantime, he left a message saying: “I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

In the wake of PRISM such sentiment has become commonplace but since Lavabit’s closure, chatter has erupted on forums for similar services such as Cryptocloud speculating on the future of such secure services.

More stories like this are available on Business Cloud News.

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