FBI Threatened Lavabi to Turn Over SSL Keys to ALL User Email Accounts

Lavabit owner Ladar Levison told RT that he had no choice but to close his email service because the FBI, in pursuit of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, forced him into an ethical dilemma by demanding he hand over customers’ personal data.

RT: The FBI demanded you hand over encryption  codes to collect data from a specific account that is not named  in the documents. What was your initial response

Ladar Levison: That’s actually not correct. What they  demanded were the SSL keys that were protecting all the data  coming in and out of my network for all of my users, and that’s  what I had an issue with. I’ve said before that I took the stance  that I did not to try and protect a single person but because I  was concerned about the invasion and the sacrificing of  everyone’s privacy rights that were accessing my system. 

RT: We were led to believe that you had been  threatened to be charged with criminal content if you did not  comply. Do you feel those threats would have eventually become  reality if you didn’t follow suit? 

LL: Oh, I know they would. In fact they went on to  charge me $5,000 a day for every day that I didn’t turn over  those keys, which is why I was eventually forced to hand them  over. Given the difficult choice of remaining silent about what I  thought was a grave injustice or taking, like you said, the  lesser of two evils and shutting down the service. I just wasn’t  comfortable knowing that they were examining all the data that  was coming in and out of my network without any kind of  transparency or auditing by myself to ensure that they were only  collecting the information they were legally authorized to and  continuing to run the service with that knowledge. So I made the  only decision I felt was appropriate. In terms of being arrested,  I think the only reason they didn’t is because if they had the  system would have had nobody to maintain it. That’s one of the  advantages of being a small business owner, you wear many  hats. 

 

http://rt.com/usa/govt-implications-internet-control-lavabit-752/

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