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(Say what?!?) Completely private email is not legal and shouldn't be


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Completely private email is not legal and shouldn't be


Summary: Lavabit, Edward Snowden's email provider back before he skipped town, is claiming in appeals court that it's immune from criminal subpoena. This is unreasonable and it's a good thing he will almost certainly lose.

By Larry Seltzer for Zero Day
October 11, 2013 -- 18:51 GMT (11:51 PDT)

Ladar Levison may have shut down his secure email service Lavabit, but he's not giving up yet.


In August, Levison found himself in the way of the US Department of Justice's prosecution of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Lavabit email is strongly encrypted. DoJ subpoenaed Lavabit's private SSL encryption key to allow them to monitor Snowden's communications and the court issued a gag order to Lavabit.


Levison resisted, but finally, under a contempt order from the court and the threat of $5000 a day fines he shut down Lavabit rather than allow the government to read his users' email.


Now Levison has appealed the contempt order and subpoena to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His arguments are weak. Even beyond any legal determination, his claims are unreasonable and he should lose the case.


Levison's argument boils down to a claim of legal privilege for his users' communications from proper requests from law enforcement. Why? Because he thinks so.


When considering this question, I think it's important to look at in the abstract and separate from the details of the Edward Snowden case. Everyone has their opinions on whether what Snowden did was right and whether he's a traitor or a hero or something else.


Here's the real question: when the government convinces a judge that it is necessary in order to prosecute a criminal case, and the judge issues a search warrant, should the government be allowed to compel an ISP (consider Lavabit an ISP in this sense) to do what is necessary to grant access to information? (More...)


Read the rest at: http://www.zdnet.com/completely-private-email-is-not-legal-and-shouldnt-be-7000021874/


NOTE: I want some of what this writer's been smoking.. ;) ~Shy

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