Ladar Levison, the owner and operator of Lavabit, recently shutdown his service instead of complying with the surveillance state. Although he was legally barred from discussing the specifics of his situation it’s pretty clear he received a national security letter, which requires him to comply with federal demands and prohibits him from discussing anything related to the letter including the fact he received a letter. In all likelihood he was commanded to install a backdoor into his service so government snoops could spy on his customers, which convinced him that it was time to shutdown entirely. This story reeks of police state tactics but now that Lavabit is shutdown the story should be concluded, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Mr. Levison is being threatened with arrest even though he is no longer operating his service and, therefore, is unable to comply with any demands from federal snoops:
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.
Levison said he has been “threatened with arrest multiple times over the past six weeks,” but that he was making a stand on principle: “I think it’s important to point out that what prompted me to shut down my service wasn’t access to one person’s data. It was about protecting the privacy of all my users.”
What is the term for somebody who is forced to work a job even if they have no desire to do so? A slave. If the federal government is threatening to arrest people who shutter their businesses, regardless of those people’s personal reasons for doing so, then it is declaring everybody slaves. Anybody who believes America is the land of the free is deluded.