by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation
A Texas company named Lavabit exemplifies everything that the national-security state has done to our nation. Lavabit is an Internet company that provides encrypted email service for its customers. It recently announced that it was voluntarily shutting down its business rather than capitulate to the demands of the NSA and its FISA Court to grant access to its customer’s communications.
The details of this sordid episode are set forth in this article by Glenn Greenwald.
Although Lavabit can’t explain exactly why it’s shutting down, which is incredible in itself, it’s obvious that the company got served with one of those secret FISA orders requiring it to give the NSA access to its customers’ communications. Such orders command the recipient to keep the existence of the order secret, even from its own customers.
So, this is where the national-security state has brought America. We now live in a country where the government can secure secret court orders permitting officials to access everyone’s private communications. The people who are adversely affected are not even aware of it because the recipient of the order is prohibited from telling them. That means that the customers themselves never have an opportunity to object to the order because they’re never told of its existence.
Thus, it’s a fairly perfect scam because ordinarily the company receiving the secret order has no real incentive to oppose the order. After all, it’s the customers’ records that are sought. So, most companies will simply comply with the order and also comply with the court’s order to keep it secret.Details