Because of an important development in the news today, I’m postponing the blog post about Sandy Koufax I promised yesterday. I will publish it tomorrow.
Glen Greenwald of the Guardian in the U.K., Democracy Now, ZDNet, and others have reported that the encrypted email provider Lavabit which Edward Snowden used, has voluntarily shut down rather than comply with a government investigation. Lavabit posted a letter from its founder, Ladar Levinson, in which he wrote that he was legally restrained from sharing the events that led to his decision to shutter his company after 10 successful years. Levinson concluded, “I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”
Another email encryption service, Silent Mail, has also shut down its service, its founder Phil Zimmerman stating that he sees the writing on the wall, “…and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now.”
These two events may seem small in themselves, but looked at against the background of what we know about the abuses of NSA and the surveillance state it commands, they become ominous. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that secret court orders demanding encryption keys and email addresses of those who may have communicated with Edward Snowden have been served on Lavabit.
An attack on a perfectly legal encryption service to violate the privacy of its users, and the gag orders to compromise the free speech rights of the company owners to explain what is happening, smacks of the actions of a corrupt and coercive police state. Those actions fall right in line with the seizure a few months ago of the contact information of sources of national security reporters at AP and Fox. And of the DEA receiving secret NSA intercepts to launch criminal investigations and then being instructed to “recreate” an investigative trail to cover up the sources of their information.
America’s assault on its own freedom of speech and privacy is going on behind the scenes, but you can bet that we will continue to see more examples of our government’s totalitarian behavior.
The U.S. government and Obama’s administration are doing their best to hide the many ways they are spying on Americans, even as they hypocritically insist that they seek to reform the NSA, the FISA court, and the Patriot Act.
In the end, it’s all just the shit you feed the folks at home to keep them quiet, while dismantling the last vestiges of their personal freedom and privacy.