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Lavabit.com Owner: 'I Could Be Arrested' For Resisting Surveillance Order 255

Posted by timothy
from the how-can-you-dare-to-say-that dept.
Zak3056 writes "NBC News is reporting that 'The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers. "I could be arrested for this action," Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden.''"
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Lavabit.com Owner: 'I Could Be Arrested' For Resisting Surveillance Order

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:29AM (#44592905)

    There's no point to be made from not complying with a legitimate court order. Just comply with it. One day you could be very thankful that we have a legal system that was created to protect us. Please respect that and our fellow citizens.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:38AM (#44592947)

      Is it a legitimate Court Order? You presume something that is not assured to be in evidence. I strongly sugeest that you read the Fourth Amendment before any further remarks- just because the Government is doing something doesn't make it legal.

    • by s0litaire (1205168) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:01AM (#44593049)

      Depends on what the Court order was for.

      If it was for specific conversation between specific address at a specific date/time then It's reasonable to comply.
      But if it was for Everything since the service started or between 2 dates (i.e. 1st Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012) or from that point onwards, then it's a fishing expedition and its reasonable NOT to comply without further legal council and possible injunction (if that's possible with this kind of court order!)

      • If it was for specific conversation between specific address at a specific date/time then It's reasonable to comply.

        Lavabit had around 10,000 customers. If FISA issues 10,000 individual subpoenas, would that be OK? Because I'll bet it's not a problem for them...

        • by s0litaire (1205168) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:59AM (#44594529)

          If it was for 10,000 for specific conversation between specific address at a specific date/time then It's reasonable to comply.

          But bureaucracy is not as fluid as you might imagine! Their is a reason places like the NSA and CIA go for specific or blanket warrants / Court orders rather than mass individual ones.

          Partly because they don't KNOW who to target apart from a few isolated people already on their radar, unless they go for John Doe #1 all the way to John Doe #10,000 which would cause another 10,000 or so new court orders required once they get the actual names, then you'd be correct in thinking that Civil Liberties groups / EFF and other like mined organisations would have a field day tying them up in red tape, challenging each and every individual order.

          Oh and i think Judges are beginning to hate mass John Doe#1 to # Court Orders anyway because of their over use by Copyright Trolls to gather User information from IP addresses.

      • and the money to fight it . .that's where justice is one ended : the govt has unlimited funds and know dang well that to fight them is impossible to do on even terms because of financial constraints , the average joe , that we can't match their dollars. Justice is a farce , to have justice you need to have huge loads of cash to throw at getting it which the average american and entrepreneur does not have. There is no justice when you have to buy it and you can't afford it.

        • True but you just need a few organisations to jump on it with Pro Bono Lawyers to make it difficult for the government to walk over individual businesses.

          They don't have to fight each and every order, just enough for the Judges to get annoyed at the Government overreach and to slap down the entire job lot!

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        I'm not entirely certain how exactly the gag orders work, but I have heard suggestions that they may be targetted at, say, an IT guy with access to the desired information, who is then legally prevented from sharing the details even with his boss. At any rate I'd bet that sharing the details with anyone outside the company would absolutely violate the gag order, so unless you have a lawyer on staff (not just on retainer), how exactly are you supposed to get legal advice?

        • Think it's like the UK's "Super Injunction" where not only would you be breaking the law to talk about the case behind the court order but it would also be illegal to say you've actually received a court order in the first place. It can cover individuals or entire companies depends on how it's worded.

        • I forgot to add that I think only council already on retainer or on staff can be informed and advise the client/company regarding the court order.

          But I'm not sure IANAL!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Technically, he is complying. He is giving the government all the information transferred from the service, which right now is nothing. If the government wants to force him to continue his business, that is another thing completely. I'd love to see the laws that allow the government to enslave a business order to continue a service that they own for secret government surveillance. The laws probably exist, but I'm guessing that they are classified Top Secret (where the FISA court has ruled that the 13th amen

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:43AM (#44593293)

      C'mon, make up your mind. Respect the court or the fellow citizens, you can't have both.

    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:04AM (#44593427) Homepage Journal
      This is the rub. Ideally one should be able to comply with a court order and then get one's day in a public court, as most would guaranteed by the constitution, or refuse to comply and get one's day in court. This is the basis of the system of government in the US. Three equal branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial. These branches of government are not there to fight amongst each other in isolation, but to be used by the people to make sure their concerns are dealt with. Notice I said dealt with, not just heard. Now, in a country of 300 million people not everyone can be dealt with, but it can be at least in the aggregate.

      Unfortunately the legislative branch has systematically reduced the effectiveness of the judicial branch. I am talking tort reform. I am talking about threatening activist judges. I am talking about secret court order and secret courts. Without an equal court system democracy just does not work and things like this happen. Manning and Snoden and all these leaks are due to the lack of due process. If Manning had not been isolated and tortured, it would not nearly be the black eye on the US, and Snoden likely would not be in Russia.

      The courts provide an alternative to extreme and violent acts. Let's say that a child that is killed by a defective Ikea bed. The parents can go to court, have the company be publicly held responsible for the death, and, outside of tort reform, receive a judgement that will encourage the company to do better in the future. Or the parents could just go to location where they bought the bed and justifiably kill the person who sold them the bed, or go to corporate and justifiably kill the executives who profited from the bed, etc. Which one actually leads to a safer world?

      So really the problem is that some powerful people are upset because the courts do not allow them to sufficiently oppress the people or murder customers, so the want to reduce our government to the two branches that can effectively be bribed to engage in unnecessary and illegal activities, like spying on US citizens, which invariable requires massive purchases of inflated sales and products which invariably increases the profits of those companies. A classic example in the war in Iraq, which was facilitated by the purchase of an election by those who wanted Dick Cheney in the executive, and the subsequent transfer of taxpayer treasure directly to those who bought him.

      • by russotto (537200)

        This is the rub. Ideally one should be able to comply with a court order and then get one's day in a public court, as most would guaranteed by the constitution, or refuse to comply and get one's day in court.

        But here's how it really works: You can comply with the court order and never get your day in court because there's no longer any controversy. Or you can refuse to comply and get a day in court -- but the only issue will be your refusal to comply, not the validity of the order.

      • by Behrooz (302401)

        Which one actually leads to a safer world?

        That would depend on the legitimacy, fairness, and effectiveness of the court system.

        A reasonable argument can be made that all of the above are currently on the decline in America. How you choose to apportion the blame between wealth inequality, the systematic dismantling of public services, the prison-industrial complex, decline of the family, a crisis of faith, or other causes... is up to you.

        I certainly don't trust our justice system to operate within acceptabl

    • In an America where it's citizens live in fear and paranoia there are no options but compliance. Remember, everything the German government did in the 1930's and 1940's was "legal", and it's citizens too were told it's laws were there to protect them. We all know how well that ended up, don't we?

      There's no point to be made from not complying with a legitimate court order. Just comply with it. One day you could be very thankful that we have a legal system that was created to protect us. Please respect that and our fellow citizens.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by osu-neko (2604)
        I didn't go there. Too young I guess. I do remember when you could be arrested for refusing to spy on your fellow citizens in the Soviet Union when asked, so that's where my mind went. There's a difference, of course. That was the KGB, this is the NSA. Not a single letter in common...
    • by wfstanle (1188751)

      Consider this...

      Just this week the head judge of the FISC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FISC) court that oversees the NSA, CIA etc. stated that the courts did not have nearly enough resources to verify what they were being told. In essence, they mostly have to "rubber stamp" those aagencies requests. In essence FISC is just a joke.

    • If (hypothetically -- we have no real data) it was a National Security Letter, it would have come straight from an executive branch agency with no court oversight.

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:33AM (#44592917) Homepage

    simply the act of using encryption will make you a government suspect.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      It's pretty clear now why Microsoft never added encryption to Outlook.

      (Except via 'certificates', which we can safely assume the government has access to...)

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        You really don't know much about encryption and certificates do you?
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          You really don't know much about encryption and certificates do you?

          You know how to encrypt things in Outlook without first using a certificate from an certificate authority?

          If so, we're all ears...

          • by Z00L00K (682162)

            Set up your own Certificate Authority.

            A bit tricky, but not impossible. OpenSSL is what you need.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • welcome... (Score:4, Funny)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:35AM (#44592927)
    Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
  • I hear it's actually pretty nice - decent food and opportunities for education, (might come in handy since his business is gone). And best of all you pretty much have an idea who you're getting ganked by. In the mean time, staying in the public eye will assure the feds tread carefully and just might save his a$$ - no pun intended.

    • Re:Federal prison (Score:5, Informative)

      by amoeba1911 (978485) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:57AM (#44593027) Homepage
      No, staying in public eye will do nothing. Despite all the brainwashing by the media, the majority of American public feels Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. Yet the government still pursues him as a traitor. There is a huge disconnect between government and people. The government no longer does what's best for the people, the government does what's best for the government at the cost of people. Revealing that the government does unethical things that harm the governed is considered treason. Eventually, speaking out against your government will become a crime as well.
      • Re:Federal prison (Score:5, Insightful)

        by voodoo cheesecake (1071228) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:22AM (#44593165)

        FTFA, he has raised $90,000 in the past few days. That seems to have helped. He has brought attention to legal conflicts that people should be talking about - that will help in a broader sense. It seems like you have given up any notion of progress. It's people who stand up and put things to the test who make a difference - no matter how big or small. If he goes to the joint over it, that's his choice. This media attention IMHO will be of benefit that could have the feds go easier on him because he's not just some unknown guy getting black bagged in an alley and stuffed into a room with no windows - blah, blah, blah.

      • And people tell ME my tinfoil hat is getting too tight when I say that the USA soon just need to duplicate the S to be truthful...

    • by KGIII (973947)

      That would depend, a lot, on where you end up but your first stop will be a detention center for classification and that will be unlikely to be a nice place. (23 hour lock down, that sort of thing.) Some folks probably get to skip that but those people have more prestige and money than this guy.

  • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:51AM (#44592995) Homepage

    "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security."

    But Then It Was Too Late [uchicago.edu]

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by tgd (2822)

      "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security."

      But Then It Was Too Late [uchicago.edu]

      That's just being plain ignorant of history. At virtually no point in human history (including the US) was there a concept of privacy, openness or governmental transparency.

      You may disagree with the reality of the world and wish for something different -- I'm sure most people do -- but pretending this is something new doesn't open the possibility of change because you're focusing on correcting a cause that doesn't actually exist.

      Although, personally, I think its a whole lot less stressful to not worry about

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:03AM (#44593407)

        I think Samuel Adams was writing about you:

        “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

    • What happened was the move towards people expecting that The Government protect The Children from everything, all the time. The safest state is a police state.
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:03AM (#44593405)

        Anyone in security will go "duh" when you tell him of the mutual exclusivity of security and freedom. Oddly, people seem to want to have their cake and eat it too, and pretend that it is somehow possible.

        Personally, I'd prefer freedom. That entails responsibility, and the chance to be harmed. By definition. When I am allowed to do what I want, there is a chance that I will do something that is harmful to me. People tend to do things that are against their best interest all the time, because it is convenient, because it is fun or because it gives them pleasure. From fatty food to cigarettes to alcohol to other drugs, from veggin' away on the couch in front of the idiot box to pushing themselves into a burnout syndrome. If allowed, people will make "wrong" decisions, all the time, every day, throughout their lives.

        But that is their RIGHT. Of course, they waive the right to complain about it. So I really don't get the smokers that have the audacity to sue if they get sick from smoking. Hell, I was a heavy smoker, and I knew bloody well that it is unhealthy and likely deadly. I accepted that risk because I enjoyed it. Suck it up and deal with it, you bought the good, you got the bad for free on top of it. That's what freedom is about, you have to make a decision and you, and you alone, will bear the fallout if it is the wrong decision.

        Isn't that what Americans want? The freedom to choose?

        The freedom to choose whether they want health insurance and what kind thereof caused a big shitstorm, with the whole mess being labeled "Obamacare". No problem there. But if you decided against it and you're having cancer, shut up and die. Don't come and beg me to save you.

        But that's the point I don't get. The very same people that demand that "the man" stays out of their "business" are calling the loudest to "do something" against those terrrrrists and applaud every kind of action the government takes to rob more of our liberties.

        What the hell is wrong with American people?

        • Anyone in security will go "duh" when you tell him of the mutual exclusivity of security and freedom.

          Not if they have a clue. A lack of freedom *is* a lack of security -- it means you are not secure against attacks by your government. A lack of security *is* a lack of freedom -- it means you can't act freely because you're subject to attacks by someone.

          Security implies freedom. Freedom implies security. There is no "mutual exclusivity".

        • by sjames (1099)

          You seem confused. It is entirely possible to do something about armed robbery without diminishing your rights at all. It is also tempting to police that aren't appropriately civic minded to violate your rights to make doing something about armed robbery easier for them. It is entirely rational and reasonable on your part to expect police to (for example) figure out who robbed the liquor store and arrest him without also trampling your rights. It is also entirely reasonable to suggest that that would be a b

        • It's horribly unsafe to live in a non-free society. Once the gulags are there, you can get sent away for simply offending the wrong person.

  • At this point we are seeing evidence that both Republicans and Democrats have a limit to how much (or little) they can do or change.
    Who is, then, in power of the United States if clearly not the legislative branch?
  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:03AM (#44593069)

    Capitalism promotes competitive, selfish activity.

    Eventually, the winners realise that they can corrupt the system of government too. By hook or crook - psychology or guns.

    The only effective society is one which overtly and deliberately puts a cap on power, both of the government and of private individuals, allowing enterprise to flourish while ensuring that the individuals who have benefitted contribute toward a strong infrastructure and humane society.

    This is a social democracy.

    The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      Capitalism promotes... ...The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

      I really enjoyed your post. I haven't seen that notion presented in exactly that way before, and it really hangs together. Makes me think, and I couldn't ask for more than that.

    • Capitalism promotes competitive, selfish activity.

      Eventually, the winners realise that they can corrupt the system of government too. By hook or crook - psychology or guns.

      The only effective society is one which overtly and deliberately puts a cap on power, both of the government and of private individuals, allowing enterprise to flourish while ensuring that the individuals who have benefitted contribute toward a strong infrastructure and humane society.

      This is a social democracy.

      The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

      People have to take responsibility as well.

      Do I dislike the way the USA is headed? Yes.

      Do I blame a large percentage of the US population for not paying attention and allowing themselves to become and then remain willfully ignorant? Yes.

      The USA is not yet at the point where the USSR was, and it's not yet too late for change...but if it doesn't happen soon it may never happen at all.

      Wake up America, or lose everything you care about.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wake up America, or lose everything you care about.

        Oh god, is something going to happen to Game of Thrones?!

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:11AM (#44593467)

        The development of the USSR is an interesting one, and one that is a showcase of how good intentions are easily perverted into the most heinous reality, provided that power hungry megalomaniacs are allowed to rule. Sadly, it is the power hungry megalomaniac that WANTS to rule.

        The USSR started as a hope for a "worker's paradise", and in Marx' theory, it sure is. People worked hard towards that goal because they were promised a glorious future, and they believed it. By and by, they noticed that nothing gets better, or that it does only for the few on top, and the rest was a tyranny that tried hard to keep up the status quo, i.e. the good life for the "party people" and the struggle for the rest, until it just couldn't be propped up anymore.

        Now replace the promise of the glorious future for everyone with the promise that you, too, can be rich if you work hard, and by and by people noticing that working does not get you rich, and I wonder if I really imagine the parallels here.

        • Yup, they're giving you the same dragon to chase. At least the religious types were clever enough to only make promises about what happens after death...

    • ...social democracy....

      The mere use of those two words, especially together, caused almost half of the USA readership to disregard your post.

      cheers,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      > The USSR sucked. The USA sucks.

      Ummmm, actual measurements of wealth and longevity disagreed. This is a meme lodged in your head that is not in accordance with reality. You should go about fixing it.

      • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:36AM (#44593599)

        Considering the USA had nearly a century and a half head start, I wouldn't expect the USSR to have come close to catching up with it. And yet we're talking about differences in life expectancy of a few years, and very nearly irrelevant definitions of "wealth" when we contrast the models of service provision.

        For example, when I lived in the US, I was able to earn a lot more money than in the UK. But it was worth a lot less, as private insurance is an inefficient rip-off vs British healthcare and social safety net. There's really little opportunity for comfort in the US except for a small proportion of people: the majority work far more hours than are needed to sustain a decent lifestyle for the whole country. Western continental Europe does so much better.

        I have a brief personal experience with the end of the USSR, and my family worked for a car firm which did business there under Khrushchev. Sure, it sucked too, but not in the terrific way caricatured by Western propaganda.

        So, it's a "meme" which I've lodged in my head based on personal experience - and a concerted attempt to enjoy and appreciate both extremes. And that's before we bring in the experiences of everyone else.

    • No, it is the inevitable consequence of asking the government to regulate ever more economic activity (from certain perspectives, everything you do is economic activity) in the name of protecting the people from "corporate interests". Inevitably as the government gathers more power to itself, the only way to accumulate wealth is through government intervention. Those who have wealth use it to acquire connections allowing them to control where the government intervention occurs. Those who have political powe
      • First things first: enforcement of all property laws, real and virtual, are "government intervention" and "economic regulation". The law determines who owns what, when and how. (You may say: "No! My personal philosophy determines that!" but that's just the basis used for the law. It's still government regulation which enforces it.)

        So, the moment you have any protections on anything beyond the person, you have government economic regulation.

        At which point the game for balance of power has already begun.

        • You appear to have overlooked the phrase "regulate EVER MORE economic activity". The key is to limit how much power to regulate economic activity the government has. Every time you ask the government to regulate more economic activity, you are increasing the probability that such government activity will result in an increase in the power and wealth of a few.
    • by ukemike (956477)

      The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

      I would disagree that "management" is running much of anything. In most companies "management" only manages means and methods the goals are set by the system. Profit, shareholder value, and whatever supports these goals, that's the task of management.
      Literally a publicly held company by law must maximize shareholder value. There is no choice and there is no person deciding this. I believe that even massively rich industrialists that get neck deep in politics, like the Kochs, don't have the power to

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:09AM (#44593093)

    Just letting the government do this stuff without fighting is cowardly. Our grandfathers fought in WWII. We need to fight the fight at home. We need to fight this stuff. MAKE IT PUBLIC show that the U.S.A. is becoming worse the the old soviet union. We have secret laws and secret police. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work! The general populace can stay in denial if the news can be drowned out. I believe (hope) we, as a country, may wake up if these sorts of things make lots of noise.

    I voted for Obama, and while I don't think the alternatives would have been any better, we need a new kind of president that will not defend these policies. Terrorism has hit every free state. It is a fact of life. We either deal with the risks of freedom or give it up to these evil bastards. (insert Franklin quote)

    Get a national security letter, fight it.
    Get a court order, challenge it in a higher court, rinse, repeat.
    Call the ACLU
    Donate to the ACLU
    encrypt, encrypt, encrypt.

    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:32AM (#44593217)

      Terrorism is nothing new. People have died from violent acts of insurgents since the beginning of history. The fact is, that terrorism is statistically insignificant as a cause of death. It has always been that way and it hasn't changed much. The leading cause of death "related to terrorism" is trying to fight it. Thousands of soldiers and civilians have gotten hurt and killed in "the war on terrorism" in situations that would not have occurred if this "war" hadn't been fought.

      The leading cause of loss of freedom is fighting terrorism. There is no war. Stop calling it a war. There are clear definitions of what a war is and it has to be between two or more countries, or it has to be a "civil war" in which two or more parts of the same country go to war amongst themselves. Terrorism is nothing new and you're feeding it by giving it the attention it's after. The terrorists achieve more of their goals by this "war on terrorism" than they would if they were to be successful just a bit more often than they are now and we would ignore them. You can't fight this sort of terrorism anyway, since it's using every "freedom right" we want so much for ourselves, which our forefathers fought for so hard. If we give up those rights, we have nothing left to fight for and the terrorists have won.

      The more you fight terrorism, the worse the situation gets. Let it go and enjoy your freedom. Don't spend money, lives and freedom on it. I'm not saying you should stop trying to prevent attacks, but you should stop giving up freedom and privacy for it.

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        There is an entire field called Risk Communication to find ways of explaining this to people. RC consultants are needed again and again to explain, in all facets of life, how to determine risk without using fear and bad data.

        Logic does not help. Data does not help. You need to get an entire country to a risk seminar and understand what their brain is doing to them first. While factual, this is actually the worst way to convert people's beliefs.

        Don't be surprised when you, and everyone else preaching the sam

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:10AM (#44593103) Homepage

    Why is the government bothering with secret court orders at this point? Do they think that maybe Snowden isn't aware that they are out to get him? If the government was above board with the situation, then perhaps people would be more willing to comply. Is there something in these orders that needs to be hidden from the public eye?

    Just issue a regular warrant for the information. Nobody is arguing about those and they get the same results.

    Unless there is more to this than is apparent.

    (Although, cynical as I am, my first take on this article was not "Evil Government" but "Lavabit's Founders Are Trying To Drum Up Sympathy And Publicity For Their Next Venture". I just can't trust anyone these days ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:36AM (#44593233)

      Because a real court order, You can fight. You can enlist help, a professional lawyer or even contact others in the same situation and try to fight it together, not alone -- divide et impera rings any bells? You can inform the public about the proceedings and the scope of the court order, the information required by the law, or rather what data was leaked to the secret services. A non-secret court allows for scrutiny, compliance with constitution, law and last and also least, morality. You can check it for corruption. An open court is less likely to be taking sides. And so on and so on, You know, things that a rising dictature is not really keen on.

  • by hazeii (5702) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:12AM (#44593119) Homepage

    Nicholas Merrill fought this battle before [slashdot.org].

    His talk at 27C3 [youtube.com] is very, very interesting and deserves to be more widely known. In particular, watch and listen to his explanations of how carefully he has to choose his words - right down to using "it" for the government person he has to deal with (since giving away "its" gendor could get him 10 years in jail).

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:18AM (#44593149)

    What a difference a mere few decades makes. This is exactly the type of thing that America historically mocked, derided and demonized the USSR and other "commie" or "evil" nations for doing. America is quite clearly demonstrating that their intentions are no less disingenuous.

    The problem is not communism, not capitalism nor any other -ism. The problem is that the powerful will never satiate their craving for more power. Power absolutely despises being proven wrong and it will continue its scourge at all costs to cover up and misdirect conceptions.

    This is what evil does when it's backed into a corner.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:16AM (#44593493)

    All that's missing is establishing a People's Court [wikipedia.org] and we're set.

    (Please read the Wikipedia article before invoking Godwin)

  • if his company was incorporated, he cannot be charged with anything on a personal matter. if he dissolves his company, they cant do anything to him (legally). i doubt they care about legality though, because they are a ridiculous government organization that answers to noone. honestly what i suggest is to encrypt everything in some ridiculous encryption that the NSA would take decades breaking, then hand it over fully encrypted without the key. as he is handing over the data, he is complying with the orde
  • The guy never said he was host to Edward Snowden. He confirmed that there was a user account with that name, which is not the same. He also never said he got a letter from the NSA or otherwise connected the shutdown to Snowden. There's a ton of warrants he could have received that come with a gag order.

  • by sjames (1099)

    It's hard to be sure since a judge wiped his ass with the 1st amendment, but I'm guessing Lavabit was shut down to avoid participation in an on-going government spying operation against one or likely all of his customers. It strikes me that calling that a violation of his court order is constructive slavery since it would require him to continue his labors for the benefit of others against his will. It is his natural right to shut down his business even if it is inconvenient for some TLA.

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

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