Monday, August 12, 2013

Obama administration now targeting encryption providers to ensure spying is made easy

Another secure email service that encrypts mail for customers has announced that it is shutting it doors to avoid "becoming complicit" in crimes against the American citizens it serves.
Silent Circle is the second company to close down within just a few hours both for the same reason. Founder Jon Callas who helped start the company in 2011 along with Phil Zimmerman said the two saw the handwriting on the wall and decided it was best to shut down now. Zimmerman is also the creator of the widely-used email encryption program Pretty Good Privacy or PGP. Zimmerman told RT earlier in the year: “We’ve created an architecture that doesn’t share cryptographic keys with the servers that we control. So if the government tries to persuade us to hand over something that we might have on our servers, we can’t give them the keys and we can’t give them the decrypted messages. We don’t keep logs of the connections between people. So a court order can’t make us give them something we don’t have,” Mike Janke, the chief executive of Silent Cirlce, said the company’s customers included heads of state, members of royalty and government agencies. Lavabit.com the encrypted emaill service that was reportedly used by NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden also went offline recently. The administrator of the site claims that the company is legally prevented from explaining the reasons why it has gone off line. The homepage of the service had a letter announcing the shut down said that operations had ceased after a six-week ordeal that has led the company to take legal action. The US government is carrying out a vendetta against whistle blowers who have revealed the extent of NSA spying now it is taking action to close down any encryption service that might prevent them from reading any communications it decides to target. The owner and operator of Lavabit , Ladar Levison of Dallas Texas said in a statement:“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.” Global Post published an article on July 12 linking Snowden to an email address at Lababit.com. The conference at Sheremetyevo Airpot in Russia held by Snowden was announced to human rights groups with the email address "edsnowden@lavabit.com" and also signed Edward Joseph Snowden. Max Fisher of the Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian also have claimed that Lavabit was Snowden's email provider. Another article suggests that the two companies in effect committed suicide as the only way to avoid government demands they could not in conscience carry out. Levison of Lavabit had a bit of advice for American users of the Internet: “This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without Congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States, In response to US moves, two of the largest German internet providers are intending to encrypt customer's emails by default as many of their customers suspect that unencrypted messages will be caught in surveillance nets. Deutsche Telekom AG and United Internet AG account for about two thirds of primary email addresses in Germany.