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Lavabit founder chafes under NSA scrutiny, speaks out against govermental privacy violations

Michael Gorman, @Numeson
August 22, 2013
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Lavabit shut down its email services a couple weeks ago in response to governmental pressure regarding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's account. At the time, founder Ladar Levison stated he was shutting down Lavabit because he didn't want to "become complicit in crimes against the American people," but didn't expound upon what that statement meant due to a governmental gag order. The Guardian spoke with Levison recently, however, and while he still didn't deliver details about his legal dealings with Uncle Sam, he did share some thoughts about governmental surveillance in general.

As you might expect, Levison is against ubiquitous governmental surveillance of communications between citizens. To that end, he's calling for a change to be made in US law so that private and secure communications services can operate without being used as "listening posts for an American surveillance network." He's not wholly against the feds tapping phone lines, though, as he recognizes the role such surveillance plays in law enforcement. However, he thinks the methods that are being used to conduct that surveillance should be made public -- not an unreasonable request, by any means. You can read Levison's full take on the matter, along with a recounting of reasons behind Lavabit's creation at the source below.

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