YOUR EMAILS & PRIVACY ARE DISRUPTED – Ladar Levision and Lavabit


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In our latest episode for A TOTAL DISRUPTION, we sit down with Levison, founder of Lavabit – an encrypted email service that was created to keep emails completely private and protected. If you haven’t heard of Lavabit, or Levison then you’ve certainly heard of Lavabit’s most famous user – Edward Snowden. America’s notorious whistleblower used Lavabit to invite reporters to Moscow, which caught the attention of the Feds. Within six weeks, Levision, who’d been working on Lavabit for nearly a decade, shut the service down because the American Government wanted him to hand over the SSL key – essentially pulling the veil back on his 400k customer’s data.

We first met Ladar on his way to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge their decision that forced him to turn over the SSL key. Levison feels very strongly that the demand to turn over encryption keys exceeds the government’s authority under so-called “pen register” and “trap and trace” statutes.

UPDATE: Levison has lost his appeal. As Politico reports: “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said email provider Lavabit LLC and owner Ladar Levison failed to present to a district court their key arguments against the government’s tactics seeking encryption keys and information about one of the firm’s customers.”

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