Snowden’s Pre­ferred Encrypt­ed Email Ser­vice Lavabit Relaunched


In 2013, Edward Snowden unveiled classified documents of the mishaps inside of US government’s surveillance programme and at the time was using Lavabit as his preferred email service. The US government tried to get into his account, but Lavabit didn’t acknowledge.

Ladar Levison Lavabit
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

The government had ordered Lavabit to hand over its SSL encryption key so that they’re able to access Snowden’s account, but the email service provider denied access. As a result of Lavabit’s negative response to the government’s request, the service was forced to shut down.

Now, after three and a half years in the dark, the service has resurrected.

“In August 2013, I was forced to make a difficult decision: violate the rights of the American people and my global customers or shut down. I chose freedom. Much has changed since my decision, but unfortunately much has not in our post-Snowden world,” said Ladar Levison, Owner and Operator, Lavabit.

Lavabit was first launched to the public in 2004 by a group of programmers who were concerned about loopholes in Gmail’s security features and users could encrypt their emails with their service.

Levison has released his 2014 Kickstarter-funded project — Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME) — and an email server called Magma, which provides an open source platform with end-to-end encryption.

To cater to different kinds of users, DIME comes with three account options: Trustful, Cautious and Paranoid.


“Email continues to be the heart of our cyber-identities, but as evidenced by recent jaw-dropping headlines it remains insecure, unreliable and easily readable by an attacker. We will restore privacy and make end-to-end encryption an automatic, ubiquitous and open source reality,” Levison added.

The email service is scheduled to be launched to the public this week. Old users can access their accounts using the same credentials and new users are welcome to pre-register to the service — currently at discounted prices.

The service normally costs $30 for 5GB of storage and $60 for 20GB of storage annually, which currently has been slashed to half the price at $15 and $30, respectively.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.