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Communications Encryption Government Privacy United States

Encrypted Email Provider Lavabit Shuts Down, Blames US Gov't 771

Posted by timothy
from the land-of-the-free dept.
clorkster writes to note the following explanation posted to the front page of encrypted email provider Lavabit: "'I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten 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.' No doubt this has much to do with Snowden's use of the provider."
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Encrypted Email Provider Lavabit Shuts Down, Blames US Gov't

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:23PM (#44513453)

    I once lived there. I've been a tourist there a couple of times. I don't think I'll ever set mu foot there again. Good luck.

  • Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:24PM (#44513469)

    I applaud him for taking a stance against the snooping. Unfortune that he had to shut the service down though. Maybe he can move it offshore.

  • Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a whoabot (706122) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:25PM (#44513477)

    So when Obama boycotts a meeting with the Russians due to concerns over "human rights", you may now know that this is a lie.

  • Re: OK. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:25PM (#44513481)

    No, it's been this. Now it's just getting worse and getting more public exposure.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thaylin (555395) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:27PM (#44513507)
    It would probably be worst. Remember who actually enacted these laws.
  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:32PM (#44513565)

    You think Romney or Hillary Clinton or any of the Bushes would have done anything different? Only candidates that would would try to put an end to the corruption and abuse of power in the American system these days would be Ron or Rand Paul. They will never get elected because all the powers that be fear and hate them. If, by some fluke, they did get elected by the actual American voters, inspite of the negative media bombardment aimed at them, they would be assassinated in months.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:32PM (#44513571)

    It would probably be worst. Remember who actually enacted these laws.

    And remember who ran under the platform with one of the key points being that he would repeal them.

  • First Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:35PM (#44513591) Homepage

    In my mind, disallowing people from criticizing government actions and government policy is a serious violation of the First Amendment. It is exactly what the First Amendment was written to prevent. I hope someone will challenge this issue in court.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:35PM (#44513593) Journal

    I am surprised the government let him shut down. That action alone probably violated the gag order.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:35PM (#44513595)
    I do not think that, but I do think that the House and Senate are even more to blame. They wrote the laws and passed them, complete with a raft of deal-sweeteners attached, knowing that no sane POTUS would veto something that "protects us from teh terrorists".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:35PM (#44513601)

    very sad. once we hold you in great esteem USA, but now we doubt if it is a good idea to go there for a mere vacation.

  • Legally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:36PM (#44513605) Journal

    The operator of Lavabit CAN legally discuss what is happening. He cannot *safely* do so, because our government does not obey the law, and will punish him for exercising his first amendment rights.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:36PM (#44513607) Homepage

    Clearly the operator of Lavabit received a national security letter or warrant which he objected to.

    Now since Lavabit is based on normal mail protocols, the operator has the ability to see all the data when it comes in, and obviously with a warrant or NSL, the provider can be compelled to provide the information to the feds. But I suspect that the request was not just something mild ("This sleazebag's mail account") but something broader, given the reaction was to close down the service completely.

    In any case, this is also a great reminder of why the cloud, especially US cloud providers, can't be trusted. Companies who care about security are going to have to abandon the cloud and go back to insourcing their infrastructure.

  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:37PM (#44513621)
    Actually, Obama is tired of Russia and China showing up the US about human rights :-p
  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:39PM (#44513651) Homepage Journal

    Why isn't the entire Republican party standing up for this provider, telling government to get out of the way of business? He built that! Now, if he's been a multi-trillion dollar bank, the government would leave him alone, hell, he'd be telling the government what to do.

    This is just another example of "might makes right, we're a bully, and we're going to push the world around, usa #1 F-yeah!"

    We are living in a police state; there's no doubt about that at this point.

  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:42PM (#44513687)

    Read the stuff coming out of Russia on gay rights. Russia is not showing the US up on human rights; they have simply taken an opportunity to embarrass us on our own human rights failures, not because they disapprove of skulduggery, but because they disapprove of us. This is like a crack dealer turning in the mayor for smoking crack (hey, I live in DC, it's the first metaphor that came to mind).

  • Bull-Fucking-Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:42PM (#44513689) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Congress does not have the authority to violate the Constitution. They can "pass" all the bullshit "laws" they want, but the fact remains that there is not a soul in the federal government who has the power to supersede our Constitutional Liberties. The only, ONLY legitimate way to alter the content of said document would be via a Constitutional Amendment approved by 2/3 of all state legislatures, or by the formation of a Constitutional Congress. Neither of these events have occurred, therefore your right to tell us that the NSA is trying to force you to turn over your encryption keys stands firm. Fuck you Stasi dogfuckers ('cuz I know you're skimming this).

    FYI, by making such a statement, and doing as they tell you, you're only helping them perpetuate the myth that they can do this kind of shit and get away with it.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jerpyro (926071) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:43PM (#44513697)

    I think we all lost the 2012 elections.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:43PM (#44513705)

    Yes I've heard that people in the US are not aware of what's happening in the rest of the world.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frobnicator (565869) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:44PM (#44513715) Journal

    Maybe he can move it offshore.

    It is probably too late. The demand has already been issued.

    He cannot destroy anything, it has already been demanded by the feds and destroying it after it is requested will land him in jail.

    He cannot legally take it out of the country due to ITAR.

    The best he can do if he (as the business) attempt to fight it is to surrender the servers to a court-certified secure escrow company; they will make duplicates of every disk and hold both the originals and copies in limbo. If the government takes a copy while it is still in secure escrow then they run afoul of the courts, not like that worries most of them as there are many ways around it like writing a generic statement that it is urgent for undisclosed national security purposes.

    Just a hunch, but I'm guessing the soul searching was if he should take everything to an incineration company and burn it to white ash, potentially facing prison terms for doing so. Unless that happens, everything on the machine is still vulnerable to the $5 wrench attack.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:46PM (#44513745)

    That's a shame, and I say that as a proud American. We came up with the modern national park (Yosemite was the first); we have a great deal of ecological and geographic diversity, and some lovely people. We have some fantastic cultural things. It's a shame that our government is working overtime to make our beautiful country such an unwelcoming place to everyone else.

    Sorry; hopefully we'll come to our senses soon enough.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:46PM (#44513749)
    Unfortunately we don't know if it was legal snooping with a warrant, or illegal without. We do know that Ladar's rights have been seriously infringed in not being allowed to talk about the situation, so people are very right to be outraged.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:47PM (#44513757)

    Clearly the operator of Lavabit received a national security letter or warrant which he objected to.

    I would imagine (though don't know) that a warrant wasn't the issue. I don't know too many people who have an issue with respecting a warrant since that is, after all, due process. Law enforcement must go to a judge and convince the judge to issue the warrant based on the facts. The issue that most people have is the lack of a warrant in the vast majority of situations right now. I imagine that some gentlemen came knocking on Lavabit's doors, asked him to hand over the info, he asked to see their warrant and they said something to the effect of "we don't need a warrant!"

    Warrant-backed searches are entirely acceptable and part of the process of law enforcement. Warrantless searches are a problem in just about every conceivable way.

    (I assume I don't need to say that I have absolutely no clue of the specifics of this case and thus everything I'm posting is guesswork but, based on what's known, that guesswork is about as valid as anyone else's post...)

  • Re:Legally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:48PM (#44513773) Journal

    The Constitution is the law, and it has not been rewritten. The government can obey the Constitution, it can rewrite the Constitution, or it can completely ignore the Constitution and the rule of law. It has chosen the last option.

    We are ruled by criminals. Not just in the winking "crooks & liars" way, but geniune thugs no different than any other strongman government.

  • Re:Context (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:49PM (#44513789)
    Correct. It was bizarre that Snowden ran to countries that are much worse on civil rights, but just want to make the U.S. look bad. The "America, Fuck No!" crowd is just as bad as the "America, Fuck Yeah!" crowd that told us we were traitors for opposing the Iraq war.
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:50PM (#44513801)

    it is not a myth, the government is getting away with ignoring the constitution and committing crimes including seizing propery, incarcerating people without warrant, hurting people, etc.

  • by harvestsun (2948641) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:51PM (#44513819)
    "Lavabit - an encrypted email service which is used by pedophiles and terrorist networks - was shut down after refusing to give the government access to important data that could have lead to arrests."
  • by Dorianny (1847922) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:54PM (#44513865) Journal
    Like most people I do have a problem with secret warrants issued by a secret court all authorized by a law that if not in violation of the letter of the constitution, is most definitely in violation of its spirit.
  • by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:55PM (#44513879) Homepage Journal
    Everyne else? I think we need to work on welcoming our own citizens first.
  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChromaticDragon (1034458) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:57PM (#44513893)

    Bizarre?

    Regardless of your opinion an Snowden or any related matters, his actions do not seem bizarre as long as you properly weight his motives. I don't think he was trying to force a comparison between the US and other countries.

    I would suggest his primary concern was to avoid extradition - you know... as in what most people are hoping for when they seek asylum for any odd reason. Given the far reach of the US in today's world, his choices were/are rather limited.

  • Re:Applause (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:57PM (#44513897)

    Unfortunately we don't know if it was legal snooping with a warrant

    Even if they had a warrant, that would not make it legal. In order for a warrant to be valid, they need things such as probable cause, and it needs to be specific. Some of the FISA court warrants, for instance, were simply ridiculous.

    This might even be another case of the government trying to get access to everyone's information by having the company install backdoors and such, which would affect innocents as well as 'criminals.'

  • by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:58PM (#44513923)
    Because the current degenerate incarnation of the Republican party is NOT the party of Eisenhower. Nixon's racist Southern Strategy and Reagan's courting of religious extremists have driven out anyone who believes in individual rights and has an IQ over room temperature. They now make insane claims like that their religious liberty has been taken away if they can't oppress gays. They don't even know what freedom is.

    We desperately need sane opposition to the Democrats, and the Republicans just don't qualify anymore.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:02PM (#44513967) Homepage

    Lavabit is supposed to be a zero knowledge mail provider.

    If you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. It is perfectly possible to make a email system where the provider knows very little, but you need to change the basic email protocols to do that. Even PGP isn't sufficient, since it doesn't protect key portions of the mail (To:, From:, Subject:, message length, etc) from observation.

    If you receive normal email through SMTP, the provider must be able to read the email as it arrives. Similarly, if you offer a web interface to access, the provider must be able to read your email when you access it through the web interface, because the provider can always provide JavaScript that leaks any keys involved back to the server.

  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:02PM (#44513973)
    Not so bizarre. He ran to countries big enough to tell the US to fuck off. Putin is absolutely overjoyed at being able to stick it to the US in a way that is basically meaningless but just makes them look bad.
  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:03PM (#44513981)

    Rand and Ron Paul would not be assassinated. What would happen to them would be far worse.... for us! They would quietly settle into the same patterns that Bush and Obama did. They are politicians, nothing more. They would make grand statements, something large (but not too large) and mostly symbolic would happen ("We're finally closing Gitmo! ....... and shipping all prisoners to a Saudi Torture chamber."), and then when the initial fervor died down, and after a few key meetings, they would realize the "necessity" of surveillance on everyone in America and abroad.

    Put simply: we're kind of fucked.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:09PM (#44514051) Journal

    What good is outrage when it's not converted in to action, starting with voting for non-aligned candidates? On every election day all this 'outrage' will magically disappear. In fact, statistically speaking it never was bigger than a speck of dust. All the voters turn into zombies, doing what the TV tells them to do. This is a dead issue and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:10PM (#44514061) Journal
    All of which is fundamentally illegal. THe longer we allow these activities under the FALSE color of law, the longer we will suffer the consequences.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:10PM (#44514069)

    Yeah he could give you warning, and then wait for the drone-express or gitmo. Why would you be smart enough to use encrypted email, and dumb enough not to have a backup of your email archive?

  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:10PM (#44514073)

    I would think that opposition to gay rights actually decreases the birth rate, since gay people in countries where they are welcomed into society and who want children have lots of avenues to have them -- surrogacy, sperm donation, "hey, let's fuck even though I'm not into your gender just so one of gets pregnant" arrangements, etc. This is unlikely to happen in Russia now.

    Also, the people often cited as "undesirables" -- Africans, Muslims, whatever -- all tend to have homophobia and misogyny in common. One would think that if one wanted to keep Muslims away (not saying, of course, that this is a good thing!), it seems like allowing open homosexuality and public displays of sexuality would be a good way to make a country less appealing to puritans.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:12PM (#44514095) Journal

    We didn't 'lose' it. We gave it up freely of our own volition.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:13PM (#44514105)

    You have got to be shitting me. Ron and Rand Paul are may not be beholden to the status quo, but they are not the libertarians they claim to be. They are theocrats and racists who want to tear down equality and justice in America.

    Gary Johnson is a better Libertarian that either Pauls, and he is a god damn supporter of the modern slavery movement (for profit prison industrial work farms).

  • by markjhood2003 (779923) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:16PM (#44514151)
    Thanks for highlighting that link. I just contributed. It's time for slashdotters to put their money where their mouths are.
  • Re:Context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RandomFactor (22447) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:16PM (#44514153)

    It was bizarre that Snowden ran to countries that are much worse on civil rights, but just want to make the U.S. look bad.

    Snowden ran to countries that wouldn't put him in jail. I suspect their civil rights records were a much lower weighted factor.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:21PM (#44514215) Journal

    They will never get elected because all the powers that be fear and hate them.

    They will never get elected because, with the possible exception of this issue, most of their positions are considered lunatic fringe. It has nothing to do with fear or hate and everything to do with them simply being unacceptable candidates.

    Show me someone whose social and corporate positions are reasonably to Obama's, but with a more reasoned position on domestic spying, the TSA, etc. and I'll show you a candidate I'd vote for. Instead, you're showing me someone whose social positions seem to be reasonably close to Walt Disney's, and whose corporate positions are reasonably close to John D. Rockefeller's.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:25PM (#44514271) Homepage

    It's because the only rights that the Republican party cares about are (a) the right to property, specifically when it relates to rich people not being taxed; and (b) the right to bear arms. Caring about other rights makes you a dirty communist hippie traitor.

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:27PM (#44514303)

    The answer is to turn the tables on them, "flip the script", as it were.

    Set up rotating surveillance teams at NSA, DHS, CIA, TSA, and FISA facilities. If one person/group is caught recording video, etc have another person/team standing by to take their place when theyâ(TM)re ordered to move on. Create and build up lists of personnel and dossiers on those seen coming & going.

    Track them to where they live. Note who they associate with and who their family members are and gather intelligence on them as well. Record addresses, vehicle make/model/year and license plate number(s), etc. Correlate against public information and databases, DMV/court records, property records, tax and political contribution records, etc etc.

    Create a website to host and share this data publicly, and host it somewhere like Ecuador or Hong Kong that will tell the US government to go pound sand.

    Put THEM and their activities, travel, and associations in the spotlight for a change. Cockroaches and similar vermin hate bright light.

    It seems that the US government has chosen to fight terrorism not by addressing the root causes and the people actually at fault, but by simply becoming the biggest terrorists of them all and driving out the competition.

    The US government is far and away a much larger threat, by orders of magnitude, to the citizens of the US (and the rest of the world as well) than all the terrorist groups, foreign & domestic, combined.

    Strat

  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:28PM (#44514325)
    I think it would be wise to consider that perhaps the reason you had no warning was that Lavabit's operators also had no warning. (That is, no warning of the specific event which caused them to make the decision to shut down. Obviously they knew something was afoot, as we can see by the posted message from them.)

    The operators of Lavabit have gone waaaaaay out on a limb for you today. They're risking ten years of work, their livelihood, their finances, and their freedom. I think -- even though this obviously inconveniences you and others -- you might want to give them a little slack. I think it's obvious on inspection that they're doing this on principle, and THAT is worthy of respect -- doubly so when many of their peers have chosen otherwise, as is now becoming more clear every day.
  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:28PM (#44514327)

    Only candidates that would would try to put an end to the corruption and abuse of power in the American system these days would be Ron or Rand Paul.

    Or Gary Johnson, or John Huntsman, or Jill Stein, or several other people who didn't manage to make it onto prime-time national debates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:28PM (#44514329)

    We do know that the actions of the government in this case are illegal, because Lavabit's ability to respond to this search has been silenced by the coercive power of the government.

    Any judicial programs which are exempted from public oversight are unconstitutional by nature.

    After all, if the means used were legal, reasonable, and would be supported by civil society, there would be no reason to hide them from the public. Right?

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pspahn (1175617) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:31PM (#44514369)

    ...and he is a god damn supporter of the modern slavery movement (for profit prison industrial work farms).

    He also vetoed more bills as a governor of New Mexico than any other governor, from any other state, in history (if my memory serves me correctly).

    Yes, he's a politician like any other, but this single fact alone puts him a bit above the rest. The bureaucratic weight that is crushing this country is generated by endless legislation. We are managing a 21st century nation with 200 year old methods. It's time to modernize and clean house.

    Much like cleaning out a garage, we'll have to make a large organized mess in the yard if we intend to get it clean.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:31PM (#44514375) Homepage

    The thing is, this is exactly the sort of thing free speech is supposed to be for. He's forced to violate his conscience or shut his business down and he cannot even expose the situation to sunlight. perhaps he can tell someone in the next cell about it using prisoner's raps.

    No speech could be more political than talking about exactly what your government is doing to you and what excuses it gives.

  • Re:Context (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:32PM (#44514377) Homepage

    So yeah, basically you just tried to justify homophobia with racism.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:33PM (#44514387) Homepage

    Even with all of that, the restraint of free speech makes the order illegal.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:02PM (#44514741)

    This, I think, leads us to an hypothesis about what happened. Let's say he got a secret FISA order for a customer's (guess who) email. He replies and says
    sorry I cannot decrypt this without the passphrase. So the spooks say, "install a logger on your service for the next time he logs in, and that's
    an order." The nasty bit about FISA orders is you can't talk about them. He can't refuse the order, but they can't stop him from terminating the
    service, and thereby making the order moot. A beautiful gesture.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:07PM (#44514793)

    Are you kidding? He was reelected in 2012, after four years of acting like a GW Bush clone.

    We forgot really fucking quickly.

  • Apropo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:10PM (#44514827)

    "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency. [youtube.com]"
    -- President Barrack Obama, January 21, 2009

  • Re: IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:18PM (#44514923)

    I think we all lost the last four Presidential elections.

  • Re:Legally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PRMan (959735) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:25PM (#44515029)
    The difference is whether he wants to take it to the Supreme Court from outside or inside a prison cell.
  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:25PM (#44515033) Homepage

    Most anyone using the service as anything but a status symbol probably appreciates if it goes poof rather than being handed over.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:30PM (#44515083) Journal

    He who lives his life by taking famous quotations and applying them to different situations without context, makes trivial points.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:41PM (#44515221)

    All the fatalism by Slashdot posters is completely ridiculous. Liberty requires "eternal vigilance", which necessitates optimism. You can't throw your hands up. You must complain and then methodically, untiringly work for change.

    The free speech rights we enjoy these days were unheard of 100 years ago. The First Amendment was a dead letter until the 1940s-1950s. Parents were arrested if their kids refused to say the pledge of allegiance. Passing out union labor flyers in public parks was illegal.

    The same Founding Fathers who passed the First Amendment also passed the Alien & Sedition Act. The Founding Fathers did not literally intend for us to have the freedoms we enjoy now. They're novel and extravagant. We had to develop as a society for over a hundred years _after_ the Bill of Rights was passed in order to institute them.

    Same thing with 4th Amendment rights. The police routinely violated search & seizure law well into the 1960s. It was the Warren Court that gave us the protections we enjoy now. Again, these are far more than the Founding Fathers ever expected or intended. Why? For one thing government was much smaller; they were more concerned about providing small governments flexibility than in reigning in a huge government.

    All the "checks & balances" and separation of powers theory was directed toward the federal government, which was never meant to regulate day-to-day life. And many Founding Fathers stated that things like the Bill of Rights were not even necessarily to be enforced by the courts, but were simply proclamations to be obeyed by the legislature, lest they be voted out office. The whole notion of judicial review was never discussed much because it never entered into their thinking or expectations.

    So, seriously people. Work for change. Donate money to the ACLU, EFF, etc. We have a loooonngggggg road ahead of us. Things could get much, much worse. But they can also get much, much better. The freedoms we enjoy now are unprecedented in even American history. They're at jeopardy, for sure, but that's no excuse for giving up.

  • by solanum (80810) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:47PM (#44515283)

    I don't want to appear to be joining any anti-US bandwagon or proffering an opinion on any perceived rights and wrongs, but the irony of your post is quite amazing. The origin of much anti-US feeling is that people see the US as interfering in their region, whereas you are complaining that those who have anti-US feeling should do without US involvement in their region...

  • Re:OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snadrus (930168) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @05:50PM (#44515311) Homepage Journal

    The cloud movement could have been the next great economic success (mostly in the US), but instead the entire economic opportunity is being shut-down by the very government that it would most benefit.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @06:12PM (#44515503) Journal

    That was my immediate conclusion upon reading how the service worked. (Thanks, Google cache.) I mean, it's possible that it was something else, but that's by far the most obvious method of attack. The second method of attack would involve forcing him to turn over his SSL keys, which would have exactly the same effect, but more broadly (because everybody's passwords would get caught up in the honeypot). Either way, it's probably safe to say that in one way or another, the order demanded access to the password stream on the way in.

    That said, it's also possible that they demanded metadata logs of sent and received messages (from, to, sending hostname and IP, etc.) going forward, which would also be something that could be made moot by shutting the service down.

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @06:24PM (#44515605)
    And ISP owners and victims of terror attacks are being told the equivalent of "You didn't see nothin', did'ja?" With threat of imprisonment. That's closer to GDR/USSR.
  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @06:31PM (#44515667)
    As a United Statsian I can say that I once held us in esteem too. Now American exceptionalism, hyper-partisan politics, and Orwellian jingoism are the new norm. My wife and I have been seriously considering moving to another country while the getting is good. Any suggestions for an application developer and an environmental engineer?
  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @06:34PM (#44515701) Homepage

    Would you have preferred to find out 6 months from now that carnivore had a copy of all of your email?

    If you're facing a secret court order to log everything from this point forward, your only ethical option is to make sure there's nothing to log.

  • by Red Jesus (962106) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:16PM (#44516485)

    I've been modded up, which is fantastic, but to be honest I was hoping to provoke discussion.

    What I was thinking when I wrote the above post (and was more sober) was that this issue is affecting regular people. I'm a real person! I live in an apartment in midtown Atlanta! I have a trilobite collection and I like to take long walks. I'm preparing dinner for some friends tomorrow evening. I'm a savvy Internet user, like the rest of you, who reflexively discounts conspiracy theories. But my email provider was just taken down because it provided too much privacy.

    Godwin's Law prevents me from typing many of my thoughts right now. I know from experience that everyone's weary from constant political combat. I was even in Washington D.C. (well, Richmond; the DC subways weren't working that day) for the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity, which emphasized the importance of getting along with your neighbors, even if they disagreed with your politics. And besides, I didn't do anything about the Snowden revelation, even though I consciously understood it was a Bad Thing.

    But here I am today with no email because (we assume) the Federal government presented Ladar Levison with an ultimatum: either break his own security and tell nobody, or stop providing the service altogether. (Fortunately Levison did what I paid him to do: he stood up for my privacy and let Lavabit go down.) But we can't be sure that this is what transpired because of Levison has been under a gag order for six weeks. This is a terrifying concept.

    Has anyone on Slashdot watched Babylon 5? It had a long story arc in which the Earth government gradually became more and more repressive. There was an episode in the middle of Season 3 called "Severed Dreams" in which the Interstellar News Network (ISN) was forcibly brought offline by the military. Right before they went off the air, an anchor came onscreen, apologized for interrupting, reported that some colonies had declared independence and that the president didn't want that information let out, and that many things had been going on for a year that ISN was not allowed to report. Some explosions damaged the building, ISN went offline, and a week later, it came back with a new (completely unfamiliar) news anchor who calmly explained that terrorists had faked the previous broadcast.

    That's how I feel about Lavabit right now. I've been watching the Snowden news for months. Then my email went down... And then suddenly I'm hit with this speech that for the last six weeks, Lavabit's founder has been fighting to protect my privacy while under a gag order, and twice has tried to get that order lifted. But he failed and now I have to go change my email address everywhere it's used. Wow! I never imagined that the drama on the news, where the United States tried to promise Russia that we wouldn't torture one of our own citizens were he extradited, would have a direct impact on my insignificant life! But it did. And apparently Lavabit has been fighting for the last six weeks, while I've been going to work, trying to talk pretty girls into dinner, and going jogging around the neighborhood. This is real! These issues aren't going away. I ignored them and I lost my email account. What will I lose next?

    Please, Slashdot. Please, please, please take this seriously. This isn't just another petty Internet squabble. This is serious business. I got caught in the crossfire early because I cared enough about my privacy to use Lavabit. Other people got caught in it earlier---Manning and Snowden because they had both moral courage and access to incriminating information, and probably many other people of Pakistani descent because that's just how things go. I got caught in it today. When will the rest of you get caught? GMail users are safe from shutdowns because even in 2009 we knew that Google didn't care about your privacy, but I wouldn't be surprised that the stakes will continue to increase as time wears on.

    Maybe I deserve to be alone in this mess because I left Manning, Snowden, and probably untold others in the lurch when they needed support. Yes, I probably do...

  • Re: IF ONLY ... !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garyebickford (222422) <`gar37bic' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:18PM (#44516503)

    "I'm perfectly happy with free elections, as long as I get to select the nominees!" - Boss Tweed, 1890s.

  • Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garyebickford (222422) <`gar37bic' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:19PM (#44516517)

    I have a hypothesis that it is impossible for anyone who would actually be a good President to get through the nomination process. This hypothesis has proved valid for a couple of decades now.

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:32PM (#44516607) Journal

    Where at least I know I'm free!

    ...I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
    -- Robert Heinlein

  • Re:Applause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:20PM (#44516893)

    "So far their targets really are terrorists and other nasty criminals"

    Sure. If you consider a whilsteblower like Snowden to be a nasty criminal, after Obama said previously that whistleblower's would be protected.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:32PM (#44516965) Journal

    All these do not have to come to pass if not for that "Human Rights Watch"

    They are the one who revealed Snowden's use of Lavabit when they intentionally posted Snowden's message along with his email addy, edsnowden@lavabit.com

    The "Human Righs Watch" are helping Uncle Sam more than helping Edward Snowden.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:44PM (#44517015)

    the UK??? are you serious?

    if anything, they are THE poster child for anti-freedom and snooping. they are known as the nanny state and for good reason.

    I used to travel to the UK quite regularly. I will probably never return, now. things are too creepy there and the country is melting down, bit by bit. they are a has-been.

    and the US is well on its way to the same fate.

    I feel sorry for both our countries. we used to be great (both of us) but now, we are nothing like what made us great ;(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:15PM (#44517145)

    As someone that can and has traced their ancestory back to before even the thought of Revolution was a gleam in someone's eye, all I can say is Good! ....

    Ho Lee Shit- you're not trolling, are you.

    So you're the blind guy who grabbed the elephant's tail and decided all elephants must be like ropes. You sound like you're scraping the top layer off of news stories and taking what you find as unassailable fact. Must be nice to not have to worry about those pesky nuances and all that wheels-within-wheels international relations shit... doesn't even exist for you, does it.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:33PM (#44517211) Journal

    You claimed that you have just moved to US four months ago, and the other fella, four years.

    Both of you are so gung ho on the States.

    If neither of you are trolls, good for you !

    I came from China. In the 1960's I swam to Hong Kong, soldiers were shooting at us back then.

    Via Europe I ended up in the Unted States of America in the late 1960's.

    When I first landed there, indeed, the States was SUPER WONDERFUL, there were democracy, there were human rights, there were freedom, and people can demonstrate on the street.

    It was indeed a very stunning experience for people like me from a communist country.

    My happiness in America lasted about 10 years, and then it gradually faded.

    Not that I got tired of America, but as I stayed longer there, I get to know America more.

    The more I know, the more I understand that the so-called "Freedom", "Democracy", "Human Rights" are mere slogans - as the government of the United States of America does not care one way or another about these things.

    The people of America are great, though. But my American Dream was thoroughly disillusioned by the time of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

    By then, America was no longer practice the same thing it preached, and the American press was no longer upholding the same standard as their predecessors in the 1960's and 1970's.

    I finally got out of America, back to Asia (but not back to China) in year 2003.

    I've had enough of the hypocrisy.

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