Feds Hit Lavabit With A Warrant Back In April, But Shutdown Likely Over Something Much Bigger
from the not-your-everyday-search-warrant dept
Either way, given the timing of all of this, it's possible that the shutdown may have not involved Snowden or anything related to the NSA surveillance at all, but is the result of a totally unrelated case. Obviously, at this point, only the government and Levison actually know the details, but it does seem worth noting that the government has targeted Lavabit email addresses in the past. However, according to Levison himself, it seems clear that what they were asking for that made him shut down was quite a bit more involved than an ordinary search warrant. In an interview with Forbes, Levison stated that he's cooperated in the past with government requests, noting that there have been about two dozen over the past decade.
Levison isn’t an privacy absolutist. He has cooperated in the past with government investigations. He says he’s received “two dozen” requests over the last ten years, and in cases where he had information, he would turn over what he had. Sometimes he had nothing; messages deleted from his service are deleted permanently.That certainly suggests that what the government was asking for here wasn't a mere search warrant for existing information associated with an account, but something more involved -- such as a proactive wiretap on all future messages, something that you'd imagine the feds would be interested in on an account of someone such as Snowden.
“I’m not trying to protect people from law enforcement,” he said. “If information is unencrypted and law enforcement has a court order, I hand it over.”
In this case, it is the government’s method that bothers him. “The methods being used to conduct those investigations should not be secret,” he said.