Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lavabit owner eyes legal precedent to rid cloud-data companies of govt surveillance

The owner of the now-shuttered encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden told RT that he plans to fight for a strong precedent via the court system so that US internet providers can refuse to hand over customers’ personal info and communications.
Ladar Levison abruptly shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, on August 8 to avoid being forced to hand over customers’ personal information and communications.  
I’m going to keep standing on my soapbox and shouting as loudly as I can for as long as people will listen. My biggest fear when I shut down the service was that nobody would notice, nobody would care and my biggest hope was that when I shut down the service it would lead to some positive change. I’m going to continue fighting for a strong precedent via the court system and I’m going to continue to lobby Congress for change in the laws, he said. 
Levison was issued a secret federal court order that he is legally barred from detailing, though experts believe the order to be a sealed subpoena or national security letter which demands he cooperate with an investigation related to Snowden. 

Levison told RT he fears a bleak future for secure-data services like Lavabit should US government surveillance and strong-arming of American companies continue. 

It’s become clear to me over last couple of months that all of the major providers here in the US have provided our government with real-time access to private information of their user,” he said. “They don’t really have a choice about it and they don’t really have the ability to tell anybody about it. Fact is, if you trust your data to a company , even if they haven’t already been approached and been required to provide access, the simple fact is they could be in the future, unless that judicial precedent is set or Congress takes action.