Lavabit was an encrypted webmail service founded in 2004 by Ladar Levison, it closed on August 8, 2013 after the US authorities ordered it to turn over its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) private keys to order government surveillance activities. The US Government was interested in spying on the Edward Snowden‘s emails.
Now a redaction error in court-ordered release of Lavabit case files confirmed that Edward Snowden was the target of the FBI that caused the termination of the secure email service.
We have now the certainty that Snowden was using the Lavabit email service and that FBI drove the company into closure because it refused to serve the US Government’s requests.
The US Government ordered to install a surveillance implant on the Lavabit servers and later to turn over Lavabit’s encryption keys allowing the Feds to access Snowden’s messages. The court order also revealed that the US Government ordered not to disclose the surveillance activity to third-party entities.
After a few weeks of legal dispute, Levison shuttered Lavabit refusing to become not become complicit in criminal surveillance operated by the US Government.
“After 38 days of legal fighting, a court appearance, subpoena, appeals and being found in contempt of court, Levison abruptly shuttered Lavabit citing government interference and stating that he would not become “complicit in crimes against the American people”.” reported the Guardian.
US authorities recently revealed the mysterious circumstances behind the Lavabit shut down by publishing a collection of case files that were not correctly redacted allowing to discover the target of the FBI activity, the email address Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com.
The document was integrally published by Cryptome, it is visible the Snowden’s email address was left unredacted.
The documents were publicly disclosed in the result of Levison’s battle against the US Government, he filed a motion in December that prompted the court to order the release of files related the Lavabit case.
The Lavabit founder plans to reveal what it really happened, but he is still under order not to reveal the facts … meantime the redaction error leaves no doubt about the real intent of the FBI in the Lavabit case.
(Security Affairs – Lavabit, Edward Snowden)