Lavabit, an encrypted e-mail service provider which was used by NSA leaker, “Edward Snowden” closed it’s doors in August, Lavabit’s founder Ladar Levison said he was closing the website to avoid “becom[ing] complicit in crimes against the American people,” which many took to mean he was resisting further surveillance demands by the US government.
But, yesterday, newly unsealed court records obtained by Wired take off the layers from the Lavabit Shutdown and reveal truth behind the story. Kevin Poulsen, the wired reporter reveal that Levison still fighting with U.S Govt. to avoid handing over the encryption keys that would allow government agents to read his customers’ emails.
The documents reveal, What was being inside?
Documents reveal—U.S government successfully obtained a search warrant in July which demanded Lavabit to hand over the encryption and secure-socket layer (SSL) keys to its system. Government was in fond of the info of an individual user, whose name has been redacted, but according to Wired, it’s highly likely that user was Snowden himself.
Levison went to court to fight for his users’ privacy, where his attorney also argued—handing over the keys would put the security of Lavabit’s 400,000 users’ communications in menace. However, appeal was such a waste of time, Judge ordered Levison to provide the encryption keys, but still Levison didn’t want to disclose privacy of users, for this he took a last step, he provided keys by submitting an 11-page-long document in size 4 font, which the government called “illegible.” Wired quotes a newly unsealed government filing complaining about the move:
|"To make use of these keys, the FBI would have to manually input all 2,560 characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the FBI collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data."|
The last step taken by Levison also came out with a Failure, Court ordered Levison to make a more usable copy.
Levison is still appealing in Court, and he was told not to discuss any details in public, but it all come out through the yesterday’s wired report.