Once it became clear that he was going to be trapped in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for a while, National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden chose to end his isolation by inviting several human rights activists to meet with him in July.

The e-mails Snowden sent out to organize that meeting reportedly came from the e-mail address “edsnowden@lavabit.com.” That got Lavabit quite a bit of positive attention from techies concerned about privacy. “Pretty cool features list,” observed BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin. “I am sold!” gushed a writer at DailyKos. Not all the attention may have been positive. Less than a month after Snowden was revealed to have used the service, it has been shut down.

The owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, has left a cryptic and chilling message stating that he had to walk away from the ten years of work he put into Lavabit, lest he “become complicit in crimes against the American public.” Until real reform happens, Levison says he “would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”     

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