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How Lavabit the dust

Almost a year ago, Ladar Levison shut down his startup “Lavabit”, which provided secure and encrypted email services to almost half a million people, including some high profile users like NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. At the time, he wasn’t allowed to talk about what actually happened, only that a US court had ordered him to give the government access to all of its emails.

But now, finally, we get to hear Ladar Levison’s side of the story.

Here’s his conclusion:

If my experience serves any purpose, it is to illustrate what most already know: courts must not be allowed to consider matters of great importance under the shroud of secrecy, lest we find ourselves summarily deprived of meaningful due process. If we allow our government to continue operating in secret, it is only a matter of time before you or a loved one find yourself in a position like I did – standing in a secret courtroom, alone, and without any of the meaningful protections that were always supposed to be the people’s defense against an abuse of the state’s power.

And, of course, we have to read about this in a foreign newspaper.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Americans have been even killed using secret courts (without any defense).

    It is amazing how after 9/11, when very few (civil libertarians) were quoting Jefferson about those who sacrifice liberty over security were being dismissed, and most of us were thinking that it may take years (50+) for us to reach such horrible state of affair, but apparently it took less than 15 years for everything to become reality. And I hope people learn lessons from it.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  2. wen ren wrote:

    Repulsed by the catch-22 Levison describes — he is found in contempt in absentia, then cannot appeal because he did not object, however he _could_not_ object due to not being invited to be present when declared in contempt. Likewise disgusting is that Levison is not allowed time to find adequate legal rep., because legal rep is not a right in this circumstance. W.T.F.? PEOPLE. WAKE UP. We are in chains.

    bless you Mr. Levison for fighting this trespass.


    PS Dear iron knee can you truly make the statemeny “your email is _never_ published nor shared” in light of the current state of surveillance?

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  3. ThatGuy wrote:

    Wen Ren, IK can definitely make that statement because it’s never published on the site and the NSA stealing it can hardly be considered sharing!

    Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Maybe I should change it to “I will never knowingly publish or share your email”.

    Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  5. لعبه زوما , العاب زوما , زوما الجديده , تحميل لعبه زوما , لعبة زوما

    Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink