Email Service Snowden Reportedly Used Shuts Down To 'Defend The Constitution' And Avoid Aiding An Investigation

Journalists and activists received an email invitation from Edward Snowden for a briefing in Moscow last month. The email was sent from the account, [email protected],
an invitee tells Forbes.

Now that email provider, Lavabit, is being shut down. The reason: its founder, Ladar Levison, says the government wants his company’s help in an investigation and he doesn’t feel comfortable cooperating. Instead, he’s choosing to “defend the constitution.”

Levison is under gag order, so he can’t say what, specifically, the government is investigating. Presumably it’s investigating Snowden.

Here’s the message Levison has put up on Lavabit’s site:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 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.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favourable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.


Ladar Levison

Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defence Fund here.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.