back to article Snowden's email provider gave crypto keys to FBI – on paper printouts

The former operator of a secure email service once used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been fined $10,000 for failing to give federal agents access to his customers' accounts, newly released court documents show. In August, Ladar Levison shut down Lavabit, his security-minded email business, rather than comply with …

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  1. DJV Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Rand Paul

    Blimey, I didn't think an intelligent Republican actually existed! Good for him (though I suspect he accidentally joined the wrong party).

    1. The Dude
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Rand Paul

      You did not know Rand Paul (son of Ron Paul) is an intelligent Republican? He did join the wrong party, but there isn't actually any right party to join, so you should not criticize him for that. We have the exact same problem in Canada.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Rand Paul

        In defense of Republicans. There are a lot of moderate, intelligent and caring people in that party. They just aren't the ones that get on TV. They're like the bulk of 'Americans', just normal people who want to go about their business.

        The Republicans everybody hears and sees are like the fools on that Big Brother or Jersey Shore show. Just like some of their constituents; they are loud, aggressive and not very bright. Judging the entire party by their headline grabbers isn't representative of the whole.

        *I am not a Republican

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rand Paul

          Except when the headline grabbers are the ones who hold the most sway in the party - I refer you to

          Exhibit A: Government Shutdown

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Maharg

              Re: Rand Paul @Michael Habel

              “If Obongocare is so great why is it then that the President, Congress, Federal Judges, 1,200 Big Corporations + the Unions can have a stay of execution for another Year, while the rest of the US has to suffer the Guinea Pig experimentation phase?”

              1) This is about the NSA, not “Obamacare”

              2) Obongocare? Really? I’m not one for being PC, but I’m pretty sure any point you may have loses all value with reasonable people when you throw what looks a lot like a racial slur into the mix.

              3) Congress and Unions ‘exempt’ from the healthcare bill for a year? I suggest you start reading sites like Snopes, and factcheck.org, in fact, here is a hand link http://www.factcheck.org/2013/09/factchecking-pernicious-obamacare-claims/

              4) “Guinea Pig experimentation phase” Yes, because the US is the first country in the world to have done this, and it is not more or less a privatized version of a system that preceded Obamacare by a number of years in place, oh, I don’t know, lets pick one at random, that very large country to the North of the USA?

              5) If its good enough and works for members of the Army, Navy and Air force, and has been in place for a long long time, why is it not good enough for you?

            2. andy 45

              Re: Rand Paul

              A downvote for 'Obongocare' I'm afraid...

            3. Andy Gates

              Re: Rand Paul

              Obongocare? None of that racist crap here, please.

            4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Rand Paul

              Not that I particularly care one way or another what you think of your president, but your opinion is rendered immediately invalid by the racist epithet of calling him 'Obongo'.

              In actual reference to the story, rather than the ugly opinions of some posters here, I think that closing down the service in the face of the US secret police having access to all users' data, in real time was the only vialbe option that anyone with a conscience could take. To criticise this as 'borderline illegal' illustrates some serious wrong-headedness.

          2. N00pSled

            Re: Rand Paul

            You people who are tossing around unfounded criticisms of the Republican party are clueless and wholely uninformed about who we are. There are certainly some Republicans I don't agree with and those would be ones who are referred to as Moderates, as well as the old Republican Guard types who love power, money and politics. Republicans of all stripes know that Conservatives are out to clean house and get rid of all of the Moderates and RINOs in our Grand Ol' Party. Now, it could be far left or far right government types who will abuse power, which is really what this is all about. Snowden has given us a glimpse into the corruption and treachery within the intelligence agencies and I'm glad I know it, but Snowden made some serious judgement errors in how he went about all of this.

            In the USA, the most significant problem we face is the attack on our Constitution by Barack Obama and other radical Marxists, Socialists, and Progressives in our government like him. The left are historically notorious for their mass killings and viciousness. Cross one in your own little area of life and you'll see how viloent they are. Obama is wrecking the ONLY nation of light this world has ever known, and it's not just him. This has been in the works for many decades - remember Woodrow Wilson.

            Conservatives are finally waking up and we're ready for the fight. We have the most formidable armament of all - the TRUTH. The truth is like a bright shining light. You either bathe in it or you run into the darkness to escape it. We are coming and we are bringing truth and victory with us.

            -- N00pSled

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: N00pSled Re: Rand Paul

              Obvious troll bait.

        2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

          Re: Rand Paul

          Yeah, Rand Paul is really a libertarian. And, presumably the Kentuckians are too since they have him representing them rather than a more Republican Republican. But he really is not an orthodox Republican. Him and Patrick Leahy are the two people in Congress who have really tried to bring up Constitutional limits rather than just granting more and more power and spending, and have stood alone in voting against a few unconstitutional bills.

          The US political system is broken, if one doesn't run as a Democrat or Republican they don't get the votes. The combination of all 3rd parties may get 10% of the vote, polls tend to not even include them (I got two political polling calls where one gave no 3rd party option and the second said "press 9 for someone else", then said the choice was invalid and hung up), then polls are like "0.1% 3rd party vote", a little surprise later when actual vote is a little higher. I've heard people say "I'm throwing away my vote" if they vote for who they want, they suck it up and vote Dem or Rep even if they don't like either candidate. There is no coalition building among 4 or 5 parties to get things done, there is an "us versus them" attitude since there's not enough 3rd party representation to force a compromise to break stalemates.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rand Paul

        "He did join the wrong party, but there isn't actually any right party to join"

        That is a common problem affecting all one party 'democracies'. This was described some time ago by one advocate as "There is no alternative".

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Rand Paul

      I suspect a lot here will be even more shocked when they find out that he is not only a Republican but from the dreaded faction that likes to party with tea and that naturally bends the noses of many.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Rand Paul

        I wonder if any of the fluffy wonderful democrats will be swooping in to help because they are obviously the defenders of the people.

        It amazes me how easily people can stop thinking and assume one party is good and one party is evil (in any country). The parties are made up of good and bad people and it is the ones who hold sway who direct it. A country couldnt be handed over to just the left or just the right because they would screw it up by going too far with their views. Both have extremists.

        There are plenty nutty democrats as well as nutty republicans and the most important thing to notice is the people vote for them. Its a democracy.

        1. Number6

          Re: Rand Paul

          When there's a "none of the above" as standard on the ballots, then it's a democracy. Until then, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always wins.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Rand Paul

            @ Number6

            "When there's a "none of the above" as standard on the ballots, then it's a democracy. Until then, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always wins."

            I have this debate occasionally with many students (obviously almost all liberal) who say this. Do you want public services? yes. Do you want police, helathcare, power, etc? yes. And you want to vote that nobody runs it? erm...well...erm.

            When the people want a "none of the above" option it is the fault of the people for being spoiled (I know this will upset people). We know we need people to run the country. So we need people up there worth voting for. If there is nobody worth voting for then the people should put someone forward. If there is nobody worth voting for then it is the fault of the people for not putting somebody up worth voting for (or somebody standing up).

            We wont always get what we want because it is the opinions of many people and most wont agree. Whatever gov we have will upset someone. Often a lot of people. 'None of the above' wont change this, in fact it is the opposite of changing anything.

            If people wont vote for somebody worth voting for then how do you convince a group of people from walking off the cliff edge? People are voting for democrats or republicans. The other choices dont get a look in because nobody will vote for them. The US country has come to a halt. Not because their government is broken and republicans/democrats are evil but because their democracy is working. Their government is split into president and houses to ensure neither can run off and do something stupid (like bankrupt the country) without support from the rest of the gov. And the people in the various sections of the gov are all voted for.

            There will always be a government which is a few to represent the many. So you are right that the gov always wins because it always exists, but it is the people who choose who is in the gov.

            Britain got shafted by the last gov and this gov doesnt seem to have learned. But it is the people who were happy to keep voting for the gov who offered bribes with our own money. The people and the gov were spending like mad on credit, it was insane (still is). But it is the people who said it was ok because the people voted for the leaders.

            1. Atonnis

              Re: Rand Paul

              Your diatribe misses certain key points.

              One - you assume that the system is set up to fairly allow anyone from the population to be represented for political election. It is not. You need the money to be advertised in every region, on every medium. You need for no groups, industries or cliques to have any influence or power over political parties or candidates.

              Two - the use of the term 'the people' implies an entity with knowledge of how to play the electoral system that has been carefully set up using an apparatus that is extremely self-serving. A system where lawyers have more power than anyone else is going to remain that way, since law is subsequently used to crush anyone and the judicial and military system will make sure that it stays that way. The 'people' do not have candidates because, in the main, they have no say or idea how to say who should be on a ballot.

              Three - the 'none of the above' option is not about not wanting anyone in power. To believe so seems to be either extremely narrowminded or deliberately facetious. It is an expression that the candidates or political parties are not worthy of the position to which their organisations are trying to place them, according to the populace. 'None of the above' should force a re-candidacy from the political parties for that election.

              The system is viewed as 'broken' because it is a system that, somehow, manages to always put forward candidates from the same schools, universities, or walks of life.

              Britain's 'the people' were not happy to keep voting for the 'gov'. If you notice, more and more people are not bothering to vote - and that fact is being taken and deliberately spun with the standard bullshit line 'well, if you don't vote how can you complain?'. The simple answer is that, with the way the system operates at present, 'the people' feel it makes little difference which way they vote. The same group of people will be in power, and if 'the people' truly feel none of the candidates is worth voting for, they still don't get to stop them from being placed into positions of authority.

              If you also notice, governments have had the power to change the voting system to best suit their own preferences. This is a shocking, disgusting lapse - but again, 'the people' are not an entity with a singular mind or, more importantly, any idea how to play the legal in-and-out battles of the wealthy or privileged.

              We also live with a media system (heavily influenced by those in power) that encourages people to judge by image. People are more bothered as to whether a person has a bead of sweat run down the side of their face during a live TV debate over their credentials and skills. Leaders of political parties are the only ones who speak out before elections. Why there aren't minimum standards for government positions is absolutely beyond many of us. Science ministers and Education ministers and Chancellors (and more) who have not had any previous positions or specific education or training in their fields are allowed to take seats.

              1. Roo

                Re: Rand Paul

                I recall watching Tony Blair raise the point that voting numbers were on the slide a few years back, and his solution was to somehow "engage" with the 20-40 demographic. As usual with Tony his apparent sincerity was undermined by his actions, specifically ordering the invasion and occupation of Iraq in direct opposition to the overwhelming majority of public opinion.

                The largest protests in the history of the "Worlds oldest Democracy", featured vast numbers of the demographic he felt should be voting more. I am pretty sure Tony is not a cretin, so he must be capable of making the connection between doing the exact opposite of what the electorate want vs electoral participation, I am guessing that he was worried because the British government looks less popular with the voters than Bob Mugabe.

              2. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Rand Paul

                @ Atonnis

                You give a long explanation of how the system is rigged but defend the option 'None of the above' while accepting we need someone to run the country. So are you suggesting this new option will fix anything? Not a hope. Instead the same people will exist in power while you wont vote for anyone, or the ones you dont want but can afford media time will continue to sit there and wait for the vote you still wont have further choice in.

                If it requires such heavy media influence to get voted then it is the people at fault if they vote for whoever appears on TV. If they are willing to vote for someone they dont want because they pop up on TV then the people are to blame. In Italy the new 5 star movement won 20% of the vote using the internet and loud voices. If people want change then it is up to them to make change. Isnt that the point of the people being armed and having all these freedoms to ensure the democracy. What you are saying is that people dont care and will vote whoever is on TV.

                You also say that more and more people dont vote in britain. What muppets. If most people stop voting nothing changes, we just get the same 2 parties and the 3rd one watching. If they vote for change and they make the effort to make a choice then we have democracy. Those who cant be bothered are letting the parties they dont like win. UKIP seem to be making waves of this sort because people unhappy with the parties on the right and the people who couldnt be bothered voting are voting for them. This applies for any party.

                You finish saying that people are encouraged to judge by image. That is the same as saying people are stupid. Maybe they are, maybe they aint. Because they dont vote your way doesnt mean they are stupid. But if they are so stupid to be too lazy to think then we dont deserve a good party because they will be hated by all the stupid people anyway. I wonder if those people would be complaining as you are about the 'influenced' people.

                1. Atonnis

                  Re: Rand Paul

                  I do make the assertion that the current system is rigged, and I don't defend the 'none of the above' option - I explain why it SHOULD be an option. Defence implies there is anything wrong with it. Giving more choice to the electorate can never be a wrong thing, thus it requires no defence. In response to your assertion that the 'none of the above' option will leave the people in power in power, I fail to see why. We have an apparatus already in place that exists to perform the will of the elected people. If no-one is voted in this apparatus is capable of keeping things running, under the policies of the last people put into power, without the whole country collapsing. The UK government (ie party-in-power) is only really required to make policy changes, not actually run the day-to-day. That is the job of the civil service.

                  You say if people stop voting nothing changes - but the problem is that even when people do vote, nothing changes. This is because we are stuck in a system which does not force balance in political situations. In any electoral situation, all candidates should be given equal media space and time. Remove the economical power of the elite few and you will start to get true representation - and all the chaos that it will provide.

                  UKIP aren't making anywhere near the ground that radio stations like LBC (the Daily Mail of the airwaves) would have you believe.

                  It is a disgusting misrepresentation, and typical of people locked in their thinking, to declare people who don't vote as 'those who cant be bothered'. There are a vast number of people who don't vote, not because they can't be bothered, but because they aren't represented by any of the parties - and as I tried to get across in my first post - they have no idea how to get represented, because the system is deliberately difficult and confusing, expensive and elitist.

                  Personally, I think that people *are* stupid. Not because of the way they vote, but because of the actual reasons they vote the way they do. Too many people live within one or two Sun newspaper stories around election times, and it's sad.

                  There are two ways I could see of going about things properly. One would be to make it a legal requirement that anyone on the electoral roll vote in elections. This would then force people to actually take some sort of note of who they're voting for....eventually. It would take a couple of decades for people to learn about the realities of their choices, but at least they would, hopefully, eventually learn.

                  The other is to either allow people to vote for policies rather than parties, or candidates to roles instead of overall parties and whomsoever they present for jobs after elected. The first gives more power to the people but would cause absolute collapse as everyone voted which ever way Simon Cowell wanted. The second seems more viable. If you are presented with two sets of credentials and policies for the position of Chancellor, would you vote for the Conservative with a degree in The History of Art who was a director of the BBC for three years, or the Lib-Dem with the degree in Economics who was Finance Director for GlaxoSmithKline for three years? I use those made up examples for illustration only. Of course, this method of election would require people to have attention spans longer than minnows, and so would probably not succeed.

                  Oh, and just to shoot down your dumbass theory about whether people would be complaining as I am, and carefully trying to misrepresent how I think in the process. I'm actually relatively happy with the current elected setup. Given the system that we currently have, I think we ended up in the best of a really shitty situation.

            2. Suricou Raven

              Re: Rand Paul

              If there is no-one worth voting for, then it is a sign that the lower-level politics via which canidates get onto the ballot are flawed.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Rand Paul

              > When the people want a "none of the above" option it is the fault of the people for being spoiled [...] If there is nobody worth voting for then it is the fault of the people for not putting somebody up worth voting for (or somebody standing up).

              For any realistic chance to succeed these people would have to join the Democrats or Republicans where they get whipped into shape if they are to get anywhere at all. Happens all the time, that's a US dilemma.

              There's a benefit to having an option to vote for "none of the above" as an alternative to just not voting at all. People put it down to laziness or disinterest in politics whenever there's a large number of people not voting.

              Well, I think if you did offer the "none of the above" option, someone could express the sentiment "no, I'm not too lazy to get out and vote and yes in fact I'm keen to but I strongly feel that you are not offering acceptable options". And that's a very different and much stronger message that cannot as easily be brushed under the carpet. The size of the group that makes the choice to vote this way is quite interpretable and might just help people realise there's a need for real change.

              The two-party system and impossibility of coalition governments in the US is a bit of a joke, really.

            4. Schultz

              Voting "none of the above"

              Society without government has been extensively discussed (and tried), but came out of fashion quite a while ago. Google for anarchy if you want more.

              Government and related bureaucracies like to grow. Arguably this has led to the downfalls of societies (see, e.g.: "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"). How to scale back without reaching anarchy, say via a revolution, remains a mystery. In Europe, people believed for centuries that every generation requires a war to reset the priorities. We fortunately went beyond that phase and, luckily, our rich societies can afford a lot of waste and inefficiencies without going bankrupt so it went OK for now.

              I guess the tea party offers one possible path towards smaller government. So go ahead and call them anarchists, I am sure they'll like it!

              1. Atonnis

                Re: Voting "none of the above"

                What a load of bollocks. We live in a different society now. We have a legal infrastructure, with facilities and capabilities powered by law that keeps running regardless of what party is in power. Just because elections are on doesn't mean everyone and everything stops working. You can't go out and commit crimes without punishment, the roads are still swept, and the financial system somehow keeps ticking on.

                In the UK we have enough infrastructure and red tape that political parties in power are only good for two things - changing policies and creating new ones. They don't keep the country moving.

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Rand Paul

          I wonder if any of the fluffy wonderful democrats will be swooping in to help because they are obviously the defenders of the people.

          It amazes me how easily people can stop thinking and assume one party is good and one party is evil (in any country). The parties are made up of good and bad people and it is the ones who hold sway who direct it. A country couldnt be handed over to just the left or just the right because they would screw it up by going too far with their views. Both have extremists.

          There are plenty nutty democrats as well as nutty republicans and the most important thing to notice is the people vote for them. Its a democracy.

          Case-in-point... One Mr. Harry Ried D-NV Senate Majority Leader. Who obliviously hates your cancer Kid!

          BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?

          REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless –

          BASH: I’m just asking a question.

          Whats actually more amazing is the fact that Mrs. Bash was a CNN Reporter....

          1. Pet Peeve

            Re: Rand Paul

            Hey Mr. Habel, stop being a trolling dick.

    3. Annihilator
      Headmaster

      Re: Rand Paul

      "Blimey, I didn't think an intelligent Republican actually existed!"

      There are plenty. I had the pleasure of seeing Rand Paul filibuster over the drone policies when I visited the US and it was impressive.

      The difference between the Democrats and Republicans seems to be that the crazy Democrats never seem to run for office, or get very far if they do.

      I note Michael Habel is trolling and offering Harry Reid as an example of a crazy Dem, who "obliviously" hates cancer kids. Nice spinning, but you've handily missed out a line from the 3-person conversation which changes entirely the context:

      Bash: “But if you can help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”

      Sen. Chuck Schumer, to Bash, “Why pit one against the other?”

      Sen. Reid: “Why would we want to do that?”

      Reid was in effect saying the idea of running piece-meal budget bills was nuts, and to quote him in the same question "what gives them the right to choose which parts of the government are funded?". There's a cruel irony that this healthcare that is currently unfunded, is due to a Republican congress that wants to unpick the healthcare reforms brought in by Obama.

  2. TXITMAN

    The federal government has become the enemy.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      That happened during the mid 1900s if not sooner.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      "has" become?

    3. Uffish

      The federal government ....

      .... was elected by the American electorate. So you are saying that the American electorate voted against your vital interests. Good luck with that one.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: The federal government ....

        The US political system is effectively rigged. Not in the sense of having votes falsified, but just in the way that getting ahead requires a giant pile of money for campaign spending and access to party resources. No matter how good your ideas it is practically impossible to get in without joining one of the big two teams and agreeing to follow their party line. The only people who have managed to even come close are those like Ross Perot who are rich enough to spend millions of dollars of their own money on campaigning.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: The federal government ....

        Yes. Approximately half of the US electorate actively votes against the other half. The vast majority of voters do not understand the issues they support/decry, only what the media tells them. That's true of most voters on both sides of the aisle. The vote based on party affiliation, not knowledge. They vote to stop 'the other side' from doing something.

        The only area where US opinion is so evenly split is voting. The thing is those numbers are a manufactured anamoly. The two parties have divided the issues so precisely down the middle that neither party reflects the views of that majority. That's why the platforms are so ridiculously contradictory to themselves. Add in gerrymandering and active disenfranchisement and you've got a completely worthless indication of the nation.

        If you asked three 'Americans' the best way to boil an egg, you'd get five answers. We don't agree on anything, coming together into two camps over something as big as politics is outright bullshit. We've been herded into two camps and are forced to attack the other side instead of trying to find common ground. It is really fucking stupid and isn't right, but the system to change the status quo is also rigged. Choose A or B there is no C.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The federal government ....

          > If you asked three 'Americans' the best way to boil an egg, you'd get five answers. We don't agree on anything, coming together into two camps over something as big as politics is outright bullshit. We've been herded into two camps and are forced to attack the other side instead of trying to find common ground. It is really fucking stupid and isn't right, but the system to change the status quo is also rigged. Choose A or B there is no C.

          Puts me in mind of the "war" in 1984. Keep the prols blind to the real issues by keeping them angry about something that is meaningless...

  3. bigtimehustler

    What he should do is the ultimate snub, leave the country and give up his citizenship, he can then set his business back up in any country he chooses, carry on earning his living and tell the NSA to get lost!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Except the US has that base covered, too. Most other western-friendly countries have cooperation agreements if not outright mutual defence treaties with the US, meaning if the US makes a decent case, they'll do the work for them. The only other nations left then are those hostile to the west like Russia and China. Problem is, they have their OWN agendas and are just as bad. IOW, you're gonna bend over no matter where you go.

      Furthermore, at least the US didn't threaten to jail him for not disclosing the key: just fined him. The UK has a law in the books that demands a minimum two years for the same offence. In fact, I'm surprised he didn't put HIS OWN account into the same mix and then plea the fifth, saying disclosing the private key would compromise his own account, potentially resulting in self-incrimination.

      1. Eguro

        Except you're assuming that the constitution is somehow relevant to these matters...

      2. DragonLord

        The 5th wouldn't help as the SSL key is something you have not something you know. The 5th just stops them from asking for your password if they key is encrypted.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Tell that to that one Congress during the Kennedy Administration (I think) that got a whole lotta Fifths. The thing is, if what you are compelled to disclose could result in the revelation of culpatory evidence, you are at risk of self-incrimination. I'm sure a lawyer could make a case on those grounds and drag the proceedings for months if not years.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The only other nations left then are those hostile to the west like Russia... "

        Is Russia hostile as such? I'd have said it was just very defensive in the face of decades of open and covert attacks by America, some of which came bloody close to killing us all. "Hostile" makes it sound unreasonable, IMO.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > he should ... leave the country and ... set his business back up in any country he chooses

      "“Some people have suggested moving the service overseas,” said Levison. “Even if I found somewhere secure overseas, it would be hard logistically. My life is here in the States. It would be hard for me to move to another city let alone another country.”" --> http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/08/09/lavabits-ladar-levison-if-you-knew-what-i-know-about-email-you-might-not-use-it/

  4. MrPrivacy

    Thanks Mr. Levison

    His last name is actually Levison. I respect what he did, but I would not be willing to go to jail if I was served with a secret order for my secure messaging site, ThreadThat. Currently, I have posted a statement on the login page that I have not received any secret orders and should the notice disappear, users should take heed. I hope that Mr. Levison does not serve any jail time and that his actions result in change that benefits us all.

    1. Infidellic_

      Re: Thanks Mr. Levison

      Wouldn't that be revealing a secret court order hence still be violating it?

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Re: Thanks Mr. Levison

        You need to find a way for your customers to quickly find out if you suddenly order 800 reams of printer paper.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Thanks Mr. Levison

        Reading comprehension HAVE YOU HEARD OF IT? See the Third Paragraph quoted here for your enjoyment...

        At the time, a gag order prevented him from discussing the details of his situation. But court documents unsealed on Wednesday reveal that the FBI wanted Levinson to hand over encryption keys that would have given federal agents "real time" access to not just Snowden's account, but the accounts of all 40,000 of Lavabit's customers.

    2. Laie Techie

      Re: Thanks Mr. Levison

      <quote> Currently, I have posted a statement on the login page that I have not received any secret orders and should the notice disappear, users should take heed.</quote>

      There are three main reasons for the notice to disappear:

      1. The NSA spying thing blows over, so you remove it

      2. You receive an order to remove such a notice

      3. You receive an order which makes the notice false.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He is a total legend.

  6. Sil

    Outrageous

    To ask for the main key that gives access to all 40000 customers' communications is downright outrageous and I'm sure illegal when there were indeed sufficient possibilities to only intercept Snowden's comms. But you would have to be seriously rich to battle the government in court.

    Levinson really deserves a medal to remind the NSA and the so called court, even for a few days, that there is a limit to total impunity.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Outrageous

      How can it be illegal when the NSA demanded it ?

      They are part of the government and everything the government does is legal by definition.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Outrageous

        Oh? What if his OWN account was in the bunch and turning over the keys would mean potential self-incrimination, which is explicitly forbidden by the Fifth Amendment? Then he can argue he has to obey a higher authority (as the Constitution is the highest law in the US).

        1. Sam 15

          Re: Outrageous

          So...

          If he invoked the 5th, he would thus confirm that he has committed criminal actions.

          Is that a good result?

          1. Donn Bly

            Re: Outrageous

            No Sam, invoking the 5th does NOT confirm criminal activities.

            Invoking the 5th often means that you refused to participate in a federally funded witch hunt and lynching by having your own words twisted around to mean something other than what you intended.

      2. Autonomous Cowherd

        Seperation of powers

        @YAAC

        This is why the seperation of power of the Government, Judiciary, and Police is so important, and why the abuse of secret investigation is so very dangerous.

        http://www.lawteacher.net/judicial-law/essays/the-idea-of-separation-of-powers.php

        This talks about the system in the UK, but the principles hold true wherever you are.

        Perhaps a silent coup has happened in America in our lifetime, and we havent quite realised yet...

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2DKzastu8

      3. monkeyfish

        Re: Outrageous

        @Yet Another Anonymous coward

        That's either the perfect troll, maximum sarcasm, or bat-shit-insane. I have no idea which, but upvoted anyway.

        1. Gav

          Re: Outrageous

          Assuming the best, I'm going with maximum sarcasm. I which case; well played.

      4. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Up

        @Yet Another Anonymous coward - Re: Outrageous

        "everything the government does is legal by definition."

        Even if that definition is retro-active...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outrageous

        > They are part of the government and everything the government does is legal by definition.

        I was lucky enough to be taught in primary school that no, not everything the government does is "legal by definition". It is subject to its own laws, to treaties it is a party to, and to both domestic and international customs and diplomacy.

        By the way, at the time I was living in a country ruled by a dictatorship (of the bloody kind), yet they did not seem to have a problem with children being properly educated in this and other matters.

      6. larzman

        Re: Outrageous

        guess your name is befitting of you. In case you haven't been paying attention, which I know you haven't by you writing that post, the U.S. government has done several things that are against the Constitution, which IS the law. Do you remember Fast & Furious, the IRS scandal earlier this year, the AP scandal, should I go on? Waco, Ruby Ridge...

      7. John Tserkezis

        Re: Outrageous

        They are part of the government and everything the government does is legal by definition.

        By definition, that's a police state.

        You might be OK with that, but I'm guessing lots of others aren't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outrageous

      It is outrageous and to my mind not nearly enough shit is flying in the direction of Judge Claude Hilton who upheld the order, even if he didn't originally approve it. Judges have many responsibilities, kowtow-ing to the NSA is not one of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outrageous

        It is outrageous and to my mind not nearly enough shit is flying in the direction of Judge Claude Hilton who upheld the order, even if he didn't originally approve it. Judges have many responsibilities, kowtow-ing to the NSA is not one of them.

        You still don't get it, do you? The Judge's job is to serve the law, and ensure it is applied properly. The Judge is only doing his job handling a request that under US law is entirely legitimate. If the law was changed he would have leeway, but he has to apply the law. The fact that those powers exist is in itself not wrong, but that they can be applied without any form of due process or any semblance of transparency is where the rub is. This is also why this whole "canary in the coal mine" trickery that some people use is not going to help - the LAW states you have an obligation not to tip off the subject of the investigation.

        This issue is not one you can ever fix with technology. I'm OK with law enforcement having these powers, provided that the use of such a privilege is jealously guarded and supervised, and that an investigation that yields no results should restore the situation as existed before the investigation. Most nations don't even bother to protect the information so obtained, nor do a decent disposal (in the UK they even keep, for instance, DNA, innocent or not). As soon as you remove transparency, focus and due process you basically end up with a tyrannic regime.

        Ah, yes..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead man running

    He can run, but he can't hide as 13 A$$nonymous members found out today.

  8. frank ly Silver badge

    "Just short of a criminal act"

    So, it wasn't criminal act, was it? He closed down his organisation so that they couldn't force him to work for them as their secret snitch-bitch. The 'authorities' would love to make that illegal and are probably working on secret laws to give them that power.

    'The land of the free'. Where is that place?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

      That was a complete bullshit thing to even say. Our legal system doesn't work that way. Something is a crime or it isn't. It isn't part of the judges or prosecutors job to prove something was almost a crime. Hell, our entire culture functions because we are really good (if that's the appropriate term) at pushing things as close to criminal as they can get, without crossing that line.

      What really sucks though, is his shutting down the service is the type of action the NSA uses to justify grabbing and keeping everything. You can hear the gears turning at Ft, Meade 35 miles away as they work Lavabit as a case study into their next FISA court report. Jackasses.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

        "That was a complete bullshit thing to even say. Our legal system doesn't work that way. Something is a crime or it isn't. It isn't part of the judges or prosecutors job to prove something was almost a crime."

        But the thing is, you can't ban something RETROACTIVELY. It's forbidden in Article I, Section 9 (along with Bills of Attainder and a few other things). They can only punish for present or future activities. But since Lavabit's turned off, there's no more present or future activity, and they can't force him to turn it back on because that would mean retroactively banning turning it off.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

        >as they work Lavabit as a case study into their next FISA court report

        Yes the NSA failed here, in their haste to get at the keys they forgot all about technology and failed to take note of the takedown of megaupload. Levinson did the right thing, he protected his customers (as far as he was able) and his investors. By closing down the business, his investors would not be left in limbo with potentially a massive bill for hosting the service for the sole benefit of the NSA on the horizon.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

      They can't. The reason it was "just short" was because he closed it before they could actually perform a realtime subpoena. As it stood, he altered the situation so that any request they demanded would be considered retroactive, which is explicitly forbidden in Article I, Section 9.

    3. Potemkine Silver badge

      Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

      'The land of the free'. Where is that place?

      Netherlands?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

        More like Never-Never-land

      2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Netherlands?

        Sorry, no, apparently highest number of wiretaps per capita in the world....

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

      So, it wasn't criminal act, was it? He closed down his organisation so that they couldn't force him to work for them as their secret snitch-bitch. The 'authorities' would love to make that illegal and are probably working on secret laws to give them that power.

      'The land of the free'. Where is that place?

      Where have I read that before... Sounds an awful lot, like Directive 10-289

      Point One of which made it illegal to be fired from, or to just simply abandon your Job under threat of a Prison sentence...

      Mrs. (Ayn) Rand must be spinning in grave saying I TOLD YOU SO!!!

    5. Gav

      Re: "Just short of a criminal act"

      Closing it down was not only the practical thing for him to do, but also the perfect and 100% legal response to the NSA.

      If he's let it continue operating while the NSA held the keys to everything, then he'd also be providing them with perfect blackmail material that could ruin his company and his reputation forever should it ever "accidentally get out". He would be forever the NSA's bitch.

      The idea that a secret law could be enforced to make his action illegal would have been laughed at a year ago, but now seems depressingly and scarily possible.

  9. tkioz

    /sigh

    More tactics that the SS and KGB would approve of by the 'freedom loving' American police.

    Disgusting. How is shutting down your own company 'criminal' anyway? Or is it because they couldn't use their forced access to spy on Snowden that pissed them off?

  10. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    NSA

    Nobody at the NSA who can read handwritten numbers any more, or was it the judge.

    1. Wesley Parish

      Re: NSA

      No, it's just that hard work, though not killing the average person, does in fact kill spooks and the like. Expecting the likes of the FBI and the NSA to actually do something like inputting data themselves that they had demanded, is thus a cruel and unusual punishment when applied the individual; it approaches massacre status when expecting the entire organization to do hard work.

  11. countd
    Thumb Up

    legal defense fund

    https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=7BCR4A5W9PNN4

    This is important stuff. Also, a four page encryption key in an illegible font? Legendary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: legal defense fund

      I'm expecting Levison's PayPal funds to be frozen sooner rather than later. They (NSA) probably have their legal team on it already... How to freeze it in a way that complies with US laws (not morality, not common sense, certainly not "the land of the free")?

      As things stand now, I doubt he'll actually be the beneficiary.

      Otherwise I'd chip in 50 dollars straight away.

      As I previously suggested in a different conversation about Levison's Lavabit shutdown, an alternative donation method in Switzerland is urgently required.

  12. Schultz

    Only for convenience...

    "There's no agents looking through the 400,000 other bits of information"

    Surely not, they just want all the keys to avoid future inconvenience in the case that they might need another key. Wouldn't want to bug busy Mr. Levinson every time that happens, right? After all he's busy looking after the privacy of his customers.

    Of course there might be a computer program continuously scanning all communications, adding the relevant statistical output and social maps to the relevant servers. Nothing to worry about ... except if you promise your customers a secure and private communications tool (your bad, Mr. Levinson).

    Privacy in the US -- apparently nonexistent.

    1. Gav

      Re: Only for convenience...

      "There's no agents looking through the 400,000 other bits of information, today."

      Fixed that for them. Because it would never occur to them to ever make use of the key ever in the future for anything else. Not even for a quick sneaky peek. No way.

  13. Don Jefe

    Turn About and All That

    The default response of all politicians and administrations since about the end of Bush MkI has been to only hand over hard copy when/if they are investigated by law enforcement, regulators or Congress. Hundreds of thousands, or more, of randomly ordered pages.

    The Palin Gubernatorial administration alone turned over more than 500,000 pages of unsorted email correspondence for just one account. The Clinton Presidential administration presented so much paper during his impeachment hearing that the investigators declared that the amount of information was so overwhelming they couldn't use it and agreed to only reference it if the Clinton defense did so first. Bush MkII and Cheney just said fuck it and deleted everything before it even got printed.

    I don't see how what this guy did is any different than what our 'leaders' do.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Re: Turn About and All That

      Of course it is different. He did it for morally justifiable reasons.

      And THAT just won't do!!

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. andy 45

        Re: Turn About and All That

        Another downvote for use of 'Obongo care'....

        1. Gav

          Re: Turn About and All That

          And there's an upvote for the downvote.

          Name calling; the answer to everything when you don't have any rational argument.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: Turn About and All That

        If you think the GOP 'cares' about the unwashed masses I suggest you turn off your television for a while and take a look around. There's a reason there's practically no middle class demographic in the GOP population. It is primarily made up of the extreme ends of the US population, the poor and the rich.

        Based on your use of language I would guess you do not fall into the wealthy side of that equation. The GOP thanks you for your vote. Now get back to work and fill the pockets of your 1st tier GOP leaders.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Flame

    "There are no agents going through 400,000 bits of information, customers, whatever"

    First, that's a stupid sounding comment made by someone who sounds as if his idea of IT success is keeping his Outlook calendar up-to-date. Second, why ask for that data if nobody needs to look at it? And what the hell is this "nearly a violation of the law" crap? Is it nearly a violation of the law for me to think the DOJ are being tools over this?

    Stuff like this makes me glad the government is shut down, except that these FBI nimrods have probably been declared essential and they are busy surveilling the Greater Piscataway Floral Society over rumors of smuggling missle parts in petunia arrangements that are destined for Al Qaeda.

    I already donated to Levisons legal defense fund, but maybe I should pony up some more? If nothing else, I will gladly donate $100 in loose pennies, provided that it is used as-is to pay a portion of Levisons fine.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An American with principles.

    First they came for the communists,

    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,

    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,

    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,

    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    It takes real balls to resist an oppresive state, I tip my hat to you Mr Levinson.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: An American with principles.

      I does take some serious balls and real belief in your own principals. He sounds like someone a small but financially stable company would like to snatch up. This one act alone is pretty much a perfect resume.

      Ha! He should apply for the Civil Liberties Officer position the NSA is looking to fill.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: An American with principles.

      I only see One flaw here sans the Commies, Socialists and Unions... It would be a damn near utopia cause all the useless and stupid People would be gone....

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: An American with principles.

        I must assume you are an American because like most Americans you have no idea what the tenets of Socialism actually are, all you know is the propaganda vomited by the US media portraying socialists as slathering idiots who want to destroy everything.

        The main idea behind socialism is creating a society that is fair for everybody and does not exclusively favour the rich like the current American systems. One could say that you being against (true) socialism you are an anti-socialist which is effectively and accurately shortened to "antisocial".

        1. b0hem1us

          Re: An American with principles.

          Well well. To quench the left right shoot out, you can go on, I was not a capitalist so I did not care, I was not religious so I did not care, and there you stand face to face, 1:1 with all the evils this world has combined. Socialism just like capitalism produce gazillions of stupid regulating laws which are eroding us, in a sense degenerating us into tools, they are both equally incapable burdened systems . I commend Mr. L for not falling so low.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An American with principles.

          > I must assume you are an American because like most Americans you have no idea what the tenets of Socialism actually are

          Well, it's not just a Merkin thing but I agree with your point about people using the term "socialism" as some kind of dirty word without having the faintest of what its meaning might be.

          Regardless of political stand or opinions on social matters, it just makes those who use these expressions look particularly stupid.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: An American with principles.

            Not that I'm defending ignorance, I'm not. But the 'socialist' thing makes perfect sense in the minds of many of those in the US who are ~50 and older. Those people got blasted, during important developmental stages of their lives, with extra super strength anti-socialist propaganda.

            The USSR/Communism/Marxism/Socialism was amalgamated into a single target for 'Americans' to focus their hate on. It is hard to overcome that kind of teaching, especially with the low levels of education most adults in the US have. People aren't taught critical thinking, and only a rare few ever develop it on their own. The same is true today except the message parents send their kids is muddled and doesn't benefit from a high level government campaign.

            Like I said, I'm not excusing ignorance, but our system encourages it and it is understandable why many people feel the way they do.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: An American with principles.

        Mr Habel, you appear to have a real talent for posting the most objectionable and vile drivel. In this instance, you have pretty well told us that you think fascism is a great idea. Your own country (eventually) helped fight a war against people exactly like you so that the rest of us could live in freedom.

  16. Tsunamijuan

    Respect

    Man this guy gets some serious respect in my book.

    Mr Levinson here is hoping that people learn of what you have done for them, and never stop praising your named for your sacrifice.

    1. andy 45

      Re: Respect

      I think if he hadn't done it his career would have been finished.

      So a choice of 'career over' or become a hero. I'm glad he did the right thing

  17. Christian Berger Silver badge

    So whenever you think of using US-american IT products or services...

    this was probably perfectly legal. It doesn't matter how secure a technology claims to be, once it relies on some key stored on a server in the US it is subject to laws like the patriot act and therefore completely insecure.

    However luckily we can defend ourselves today. We have open source software which is incredibly hard to back door. We have secure crypto looked over by the whole crypto community.

    It could have gone the other way. We could have mandatory "clipper chips" which were deliberately designed to be insecure. We could still have closed source operating systems (actually on smartphones we still have those) with deliberately added backdoors or at least bugdoors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So whenever you think of using US-american IT products or services...

      It doesn't matter if you have wonderful minty crypto sauce - if you're in the US, you can be legally ordered to scrape it all off the lock and open the safe anyway. THAT's what Silicon Valley is trying to keep from you.

      The blunt summary is that the US IT industry is pretty much hosed as a consequence of what they have done to themselves - all perfectly legal. To me, it is beautifully ironic that a country which can't get decent gun laws imposed manages to shoot itself in both feet...

  18. Frank Zuiderduin

    That's 400,000 customers, not 40,000.

  19. Potemkine Silver badge

    Resistance may not be that futile after all

    It's hopeful to see that some stick to their moral principles and don't bow to the pressure of tyranny.

    Weel done Mr. Levison, you are one of the braves.

  20. croc

    My company needs a new router. Hello, Huawei?

  21. Mr C

    I'll buy you a beer

    mr Levison, if you have are in the neighborhood drop by and i'll buy you a beer for your heroic acts, because they are just that, heroic.

    This should be made into a movie and you should get some sort of price for this.

  22. Ramazan

    but he still handed them over

    While he could run "badblocks -svw /dev/<any HDD/flash drive that could contain SSL keys>", then go to FBI and tell them that's he'd ran that badblocks scan with -w option by accident

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but he still handed them over

      > While he could run "badblocks -svw /dev/<any HDD/flash drive that could contain SSL keys>

      Perhaps he used one of those printers that have been found to change the orders of numbers/letters. After all it did take him two days at $5000 each to do.

      But that would only slow the NSA down a bit in decrypting the up to 5 years of Lavabit traffic that according to documents by Snowden they have stored.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    40 000 subscribers to read *one* person's emails?

    Do the FISA judges not understand the word proportionate?

    I applaud his stance, both in not bending and making what they wanted him to do publicly known.

    Governmental surveillance is the hand maiden of political tyranny.

    Both thrive while people are scared into silence.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: 40 000 subscribers to read *one* person's emails?

      I suspect this wasnt a FISA court but a more normal one. When a judge's knee jerk reaction is to compromise the privacy of thousands to monitor one - they dont need a special court coz he's drinking the Govt's koolaid.

  24. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    LMAO!

    So another "hero" of the "freedom loving people" folds and runs with tail between his legs, and you lot paint it as a "victory"? LOL! You really need someone to help you keep score - the NSA got what they want and, as a bonus, pressured Levison into shutting down a business that was no doubt being used for criminal activities. Wake up and pay attention - the gloves are off, Obambi can't serve another term so he's not bricking himself over upsetting the sheeple. The question merely becomes how far he is happy to push in the remaining time he has in power, which potentially includes targeting sheeple hot topics like TOR. Enjoy!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LMAO!

      > So another "hero" of the "freedom loving people" folds and runs with tail between his legs, and you lot paint it as a "victory"? LOL!

      Yeah, why not attend the gun fight with a knife. He did what he reasonably could and in the process stuck his neck out. You mean he's not worthy of our admiration if he doesn't overthrow the government Hollywood-style?

      (Yes, I feed trolls. Rats and pigeons, too.)

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: LMAO!

      Once again using "sheeple" to refer to those running counter to the majority view ...

    3. Roo

      Re: LMAO!

      "no doubt being used for criminal activities."

      Well if that's your justification for destroying a man's business and fining him you can add just about every multinational to the kill list. Even roads and mobile phones are used for criminal activities, are going to cheerlead the shutdown Verizon & the Department of Transport too ?

      It is a shame that the NSA wins on this one, no doubt you'll be laughing all the way to the gulag.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Roo Re: LMAO!

        ".....mobile phones....cheerlead the shutdown of Verizon...." You obviously had your head too far up your own arse to realis that the mobile companies co-operate with the authorities investigatin crime, whereas Ladar chose to attempt to deny the authorities to investigate crimes. Ladar has done the minimum to escape conviction for aiding and abetting.

        1. Roo

          Re: Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

          "You obviously had your head too far up your own arse"... Ah, a personal attack and a baseless assertion that completely misses the point. From your posts it appears that all you have to offer the world is factoids and insults.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Roo Re: Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

            "....completely misses the point...." The point being that Verizon and co have been feeding the NSA et al for years. Thanks for underlining your inability to read and comprehend. From your posts it appears you have nothing to offer.

            1. Roo

              Re: Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

              ""....completely misses the point...." The point being that Verizon and co have been feeding the NSA et al for years. Thanks for underlining your inability to read and comprehend. From your posts it appears you have nothing to offer."

              You may be able to read and copy my posts but it looks like you can't understand them. Don't worry about it, I am not writing for your benefit or trying to win an argument with you.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                "....you can't understand them...." What's to understand? You made a factually incorrect statement and I pointed it out, and all you've done since is whine. End of. TBH, grow up. Before you make yourself look even more monumentally stupid I would suggest you go search on Google for "Techdirt Verizon NSA" and actually try and learn something. Verizon not only took cash for giving the NSA access to their systems, they also never challenged any of the NSA requests.

                "....Don't worry about it...." If anyone is worried it would have to be your family members, the rest of us are just laughing at you.

                "....trying to win an argument....." It's good to see you do such a good job of not winning an argument, just don't ever try winning one because you're simply not equipped for the job.

                1. Roo

                  Re: Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                  "You made a factually incorrect statement and I pointed it out"

                  The only point I made in the post you were responding to was:

                  "Even roads and mobile phones are used for criminal activities"

                  I really don't understand how you could honestly believe that to be "factually incorrect".

                  ""....trying to win an argument....." It's good to see you do such a good job of not winning an argument, just don't ever try winning one because you're simply not equipped for the job."

                  The reason why I don't try to win arguments with you is that I really don't need to, your arguments defeat themselves. From the evidence of that last post it appears that you are "not equipped for the job".

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: Poo Re: Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                    LOL, it seems your selective reading inabaility also inflicts you when re-reading your own posts! You claim you said "Even roads and mobile phones are used for criminal activities" when your actual post contained:

                    ".....Even roads and mobile phones are used for criminal activities, are going to cheerlead the shutdown Verizon & the Department of Transport too ?...." Posted Friday 4th October 2013 15:21 GMT.

                    So, it looks like you most definitely did say that Verizon should be "shut down" because you assumed they were knowingly providing services for criminals in the same manner as Ladar Levinson, when the truth - as I pointed out - was that Verizon actively assist in stopping crimes, including working with the NSA. So your stupid denial that you said it in the first place is either due to you being a completely dribbling moron or just a liar. Either way, you have just lost again. Enjoy!

                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    2. Roo

                      Re: Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                      Matt you have dazzled me with your sheer determination to make yourself feel like a big man by bullshitting, insulting and misrepresenting others.

                      Doing all that bad stuff in a public forum is pretty courageous (or stupid) because it does a huge amount of damage to the reputation and credibility to yourself and all the people that share your moniker.

                      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Poo Re: Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                        "Matt you have dazzled me with your sheer determination to make yourself feel like a big man....." TBH, in your case an average five-year-old would be the mental equivalent of a "big man".

                        "......by bullshitting, insulting and misrepresenting others....." Really? Do please explain how reposting exactly what you posted is "bullshitting" or "misrepresenting" anything? I know revisionism is popular with the sheeple but I think you'll find it pretty hard with El Reg posts made only a few days ago! Maybe you should try covering your tracks a bit harder next time. I'll give you the insulting part, but then it's hard not to laugh and point at someone as "special" as you!

                        "....Doing all that bad stuff in a public forum...." And what exactly is "bad stuff"? Is disagreeing with the sheeple now "bad stuff" (wow, what a playground-level of desriptive you use!)? Don't tell me, independence of thought must not be tolerated, right? Or is pointing out your failed attempt to cover up your previous statement "bad stuff"? I'm guessing we can add bad loser to your list of issues.

                        ".....is pretty courageous (or stupid) because it does a huge amount of damage to the reputation and credibility to yourself and all the people that share your moniker." Ooh, was that a threat? First of all, as I have posted before, it's a nom de plume. That's a fake tag in your level of playground speak. One of the reasons I chose it is beacuse there is a background story I really can't go into, but because Bryant also happens to be the second most common English surname (and John Smith was taken on El Reg). Secondly, if you think it is damaging to my reputation being right, then how immensely stupid you must look seeing as your were so eaily caught out in your attempt at evasion after being shown to be wrong! And then you follow it up with a sulky post claiming I misrepresented what you said? LOL, I don't think your rep can stand any more of your efforts, do yourself a favour and crawl away now.

                        /SP&L

                        1. Roo

                          Re: Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                          "Secondly, if you think it is damaging to my reputation being right" - I think no such thing, the reasons are quite clearly stated. In fact you quoted them yourself, although you chose not to acknowledge the "insulting" people bit. Please note that I am not concerned by your credibility being shot to bits as much as the damage you may be causing to other folks who happen to be called Matt Bryant.

                          "Ooh, was that a threat? "

                          No. I'll try to explain why I am concerned about the online record that "Matt Bryant" is accumulating.

                          It is common these days for a interviewer/HR dept to do a quick troll through Google and the industry's forums to see what kind of stuff a candidate has contributed to the world at large. In the case of "Matt Bryant" they are going to get an eye full, and some less enlightened souls may just bin the application on the that alone. The smarter more diligent ones will invite the candidate in and then ask them about the stuff they appear to have posted and why.

                          Hopefully you are able to grasp the concept that what you post under a "nom de plume" can cause real damage to real people.

                          By the same token the online record can work for the benefit of a candidate too, it certainly has in my case on a couple of occasions.

                          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                            Happy

                            Re: Poo Re: Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                            "....although you chose not to acknowledge the "insulting" people bit....." OMFG, you really do have serious reading and comprehension issues! Go read the preceding post from Sunday 13th October, 20:03 - "I'll give you the insulting part" - was that too confusing for you, do you want me to use shorter words?

                            "....Please note that I am not concerned by your credibility being shot to bits...." How is my credibility shot to bits when you are the one continually not just proven wrong, but shown up as having the reading skills of a three-year-old?!?!?

                            ".....I'll try to explain why I am concerned about the online record that "Matt Bryant" is accumulating....." LOL! Please do stop for a second and consider two points - firstly, I doubt if eve the clueless grunts in the average HR department are silly enough to be following your viewpoint; secondly, you expect someone in HR to be able to construct an effective Google search?!?! Ah, now I understand the reason for the low-brow inability to comprehend, the lack of comprehension when facts are staring you in the face, and the stubborn pursual of a course simply because someone told you it was a good idea - you're a lowly HR grunt! What on Earth are you doing on a tech forum? Surely you should be more worried by the dismal record your posts present.

                            1. Roo
                              Windows

                              Re: Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                              "firstly, I doubt if eve the clueless grunts in the average HR department are silly enough to be following your viewpoint"

                              Err.. Not quite sure what you mean - but if you are thinking that I care whether they are reading this exchange of posts, in my mind it is irrelevant if they are.

                              "You expect someone in HR to be able to construct an effective Google search?!?!"

                              Yes, and I base that expectation on real world experience. I have seen some printouts of searches produced by HR, and in the cases where I was a the candidate they covered a fairly broad spectrum of the stuff that I have posted, including some fairly obscure domain specific sources. You may choose to dispute the evidence of my eyeballs, but it really doesn't matter because it happens regardless of your opinion.

                              Meanwhile your defence of spoofing the real world Matt Bryants rests on the assumption that people screening candidates are too incompetent to type "Matt Bryant" into a text box on a Google web page. You would have to be seriously deluded in to believe the rubbish that you wrote. You won't be winning any awards for rhetorical brilliance, intellectual rigour or honesty on the strength of that piece of rubbish you posted.

                              Making stuff up to "win" an argument doesn't do anything good for your credibility. That said it isn't really an issue for you personally because you are pretending to be someone else. Nice.

                              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                                FAIL

                                Re: Poo Re: Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                                "....Not quite sure what you mean...." I'm trying to point out to you that you are making the assumption that any particular HR drone is going to have the same deluded mindset as you. Whilst I'm sure there are some that might (after all, it's not exactly a role requiring high levels of analytical skills), I would suggest it is a bit presumptious on your part to assume they are as blinkered as you.

                                ".....Yes, and I base that expectation on real world experience...." Your applying for Mcflipper jobs is not exactly the same thing, chap. My last three jobs I was head-hunted, they came to me with an offer, not recruited by application.

                                "....and in the cases where I was a the candidate they covered a fairly broad spectrum of the stuff that I have posted, including some fairly obscure domain specific sources...." Obviously their first pass turned up such worrying material they went for a specialist search. Bet you regret all those posts you made shrieking "come the Revolution!" on the Morning Star forums, eh! Or maybe that was posts to mcb.org.uk.

                                ".....Meanwhile your defence of spoofing the real world Matt Bryants rests on the assumption that people screening candidates are too incompetent to type "Matt Bryant" into a text box on a Google web page. ..." Well, why don't you try it? After you've waded past all the hits for the Atlanta Falcons' placekicker, there's a tree surgeon in Somerset, and a Labour councillor in Dartford..... In fact, Google pops up 49.2m hits! Facebook - 26.3m hits, even Twatter has 12.2m hits. And none of them would take you any closer to me. Hope you have a lot of reading time spare! Oh dear, was that another one of your pointless arguments completely debunked again? Why, yes it was!

                                "....You won't be winning any awards for rhetorical brilliance, intellectual rigour or honesty on the strength of that piece of rubbish you posted....." Well, even if I was standing for any awards (what, they give awards for posting on El Reg?), I would suggest that - seeing as you have proven completely unable to counter any points raised - I'd be scoring a lot higher than you. Not that that seems like much of an achievement, it's a bit like duelling with a blind cripple.

                                "....Making stuff up...." Oh, grow up. If you want to try claiming I made anything up then please do disprove any of it, which you seem quite unable to do. The fact is you can't, and now you're just sulking because you blindly baaah-lieved what you had been told and you don't like that being questioned. I would suggest you go find a forum more suited to your capabilities or one where no-one challenges your POV, because you really aren't equipped for El Reg. I can only assume you have a gold forum badge because you're Potty's fave pizza delivery boy.

                                1. BlueGreen

                                  Re: Poo Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                                  Hello plump & bleaty

                                  > Well, why don't you try it? After you've waded past all the hits for the Atlanta Falcons' placekicker, there's a tree surgeon in Somerset, and a Labour councillor in Dartford..... In fact, Google pops up 49.2m hits! Facebook - 26.3m hits, even Twatter has 12.2m hits.

                                  Funny you omitted the linkedin site at 4th place. I wonder why this oversight. Which one are you, guildford or crewe, or another?

                                  So why not just let us know, after all if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

                                  > My last three jobs I was head-hunted, they came to me with an offer, not recruited by application.

                                  So you're a contractor.

                                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                                    Facepalm

                                    Re: Синий зеленый Re: Poo Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                                    "....Funny you omitted the linkedin....." And there's the paranoia in action - "he didn't mention linkedin, so he MUST be trying to hide it!" I see you're dribbling attention span expired right after the nom de plume bit? I also didn't mention a whole load of other sites and apps, so maybe I'm trying to hide stuff there too? I suggest you dedicate your life to uncovering the dastardly truth that I have hidden on the Internet, spending every waking hour fighting to find The Truth! (Don't worry, you won't be missed.)

                                    ".....So why not just let us know, after all if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear....." Really? I have nothing to fear from the authorities, but plenty to fear from the stupid. I work on the principle that there is nothing too stupid for someone to try, and there are plenty of whacked out posters in these forums who think their socio-political outlook puts them above the law, no matter how many of their equally deluded "heroes" get sent to prison. How else do you explain the actions of such numpties as Edward Woollard (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12159581), who commited his pointless and dangerous little "act of rebellion" in front of dozens of cameras?

                                    ".....So you're a contractor." I was a contractor for many years, I have admitted so on the forums before, but I have been a permie the last two jobs. Head-hunting of permies is still common even in the IT market.

                                    1. BlueGreen

                                      Re: Синий зеленый Poo Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                                      > "he didn't mention linkedin, so he MUST be trying to hide it!"

                                      That way my thought, yes. And you haven't denied it either, which is interesting, so which is it, guildford, crewe or another?

                                      > I have nothing to fear from the authorities, but plenty to fear from the stupid.

                                      These are not disjoint sets.

                                      Incidentally, matt bryant and 'the stupid' are not disjoint sets either.

                                      > such numpties as Edward Woollard

                                      this is not germane to this discussion.

                                      > but I have been a permie the last two jobs

                                      Fair enough, I was wrong.

                                2. Roo

                                  Re: Poo Poo Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                                  "Well, even if I was standing for any awards (what, they give awards for posting on El Reg?), I would suggest that - seeing as you have proven completely unable to counter any points raised - I'd be scoring a lot higher than you. Not that that seems like much of an achievement, it's a bit like duelling with a blind cripple."

                                  Thanks for filling in the blanks Matt.

                                  Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments

                                  Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others

                                  Envies others and believes others envy him/her

                                  Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence

                                  Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others

                                  Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior

                                  Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

                                  That list of symptoms is a very good fit for your behaviour Matty B.Rant. You can Google that and then come back and tell us all how inferior we are, it's a free country after all. It's not as if anyone is reading all this stuff is it ?

                    3. This post has been deleted by its author

                    4. Roo

                      Re: Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                      "".....Even roads and mobile phones are used for criminal activities, are going to cheerlead the shutdown Verizon & the Department of Transport too ?...." Posted Friday 4th October 2013 15:21 GMT.

                      So, it looks like you most definitely did say that Verizon should be "shut down""

                      I said no such thing, you have even quoted the original post to prove it (this is an example of your bullshitting & misrepresentation). Perhaps you should have called me out on the missing "you" in "are [you] going" instead of taking a giant leap of imagination.

                      ... "because you assumed they were knowingly providing services for criminals"

                      It is fair to assume that both Verizon and the DoT know criminals conduct criminal activities using their services because they knowingly provide information to the authorities, which in some cases is used to prosecute criminals who used their services to commit crimes.

                      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

                        1. Roo

                          Re: Poo Poo Roo Roo LMAO! @ Matt Bryant.

                          "See, even you recognise the fact that Verizon and the DoT co-operate with investigations into criminal activity,"

                          I've never known different, although you seem to have been ignorant of it until today - unless of course you were wilfully misinterpreting the post this whole time.

                          "whereas you are completely in denial of the FACT* that Levinson obstrcuted such an investigation and shielded a criminal, if not many criminals"

                          Not at all, that is your imagination playing up again. Is is reported that Levinson complied with the NSA's requirements concerning the investigation into Snowden. When presented with an order for access to everything he chose to fold instead (which seems to be the action you have the biggest beef with given that you are whinging about him obstructing investigations). He didn't have the benefit of hindsight to know that his business was doomed because the NSA blanket surveillance was on the QT.

                          Your stance on the subject suggests that you probably would set up a secure email service in the first place, however if you were in his position, from the arguments you have presented it looks as though you would sell out your clients - and carry on taking their money. At a push I would guess that you would justify taking their money on the grounds that they are 'probably criminals' anyway.

                          It's sad watching an identity thief gloat from the summit of a moral dungheap.

                          * = It's very handy that you and Kebabbert like to spinkle the word fact with maximum caps lock, it helps remind me that you both make stuff up as you go along.

                      2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                        mod hat on

                        and yes, I have deleted/rejected posts from here. Carry on.

                      3. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                        mod hat on

                        Less of the personal abuse, or I shall push a large pile of bricks upon you all from a great height.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got to love this guy.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      AC@08:03

      "Got to love this guy."

      Mattie never disappoints.

      But no, we don't have to love him.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Truth from 1957

    I was watching Quatermass 2 last night, which the Beeb re-ran a little while ago. About 23 mins in, Quatermass, talking to the police chief, says "Secret? You put a label like that on anything and law and order goes out of the window." If that was a sentiment in 1957, why are we such slow learners?

    1. Ten98

      Re: Truth from 1957

      I think the problem is not that we are slow learners, it's that those who would seek to control and dominate us are fast learners.

      They have learned how to distract the masses away from politics and government. Ask any member of the public what they think about surveillance or corruption in government and you will be met with a resounding "meh".

      They are far more interested in what the people of Made in Chelsea or X-Factor are doing, or poring over allegations of child abuse from the 1970s than what those in control of their country are up to.

      A precious few give a shit about any of this, and we are easily silenced, ignored or labelled "conspiracy nuts". They don't care about appealing to us, because we are now a small minority which can easily be "handled".

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Truth from 1957

        Sigh this guy gets it....

      2. phil dude
        Thumb Up

        Re: Truth from 1957

        Possibly also another thing. THEY are paid with OUR money to do these things. WE have to work to live...

        "Politics is the pursuit of power without merit"

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    United SocialistStates of America

    Brave guy. I wish him luck.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: United SocialistStates of America

      If you think this has anything to do with socialism... Well it says more about your own intelligence than whatever point it is you just failed to make.

  28. SolidSquid

    ' a move a prosecutor later described as "just short of a criminal act."'

    So it was a perfectly legal act which the prosecution found annoying. Good on him for managing that without accidentally going over the line

  29. Big_Boomer

    TERROR!

    BE AFRAID OF THE TERROR!

    Let us make you more secure,... but you will feel less secure because if you didn't then you wouldn't believe in the TERROR.!

  30. Chad H.

    Geisus

    I presumed it was bad, but I didn't presume it was that bad.

    Shutting down clearly was the only possible option. You cannot run a secure email service if someone else has the master key.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    top effort

    Well done that man. Telling the government (any government) to FOAD has got to be everyone's number 1 priority.

  32. mike acker

    alternate decryption key (ADK)

    ladar's error is in having an alternate decryption key.

    of course you would have to wonder: if he was using x.509 certificates and SSL -- rather than real PGP -- what was he thinking

    evidently that was the problem: he wasn't thinking .

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just short of giving the finger

    Honour - and righteous indignation I imagine - intact. Another 100 million like him and the NSA really would have a problem and the world might be in better shape.

  34. HereWeGoAgain

    Federal Judge Claude Hilton

    Fascist scum. Hitler would have had a good use for him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Federal Judge Claude Hilton

      Thank you for validating Godwin's Law. Now go and find a clue.

  35. Japhy Ryder

    The image illustrating this article on the front page shows punched tape, which is expressly machine readable. In the article it is quite clear that what Levison delivered was expressly not meant to be machine readable.

  36. Shaha Alam

    what's the name of the font he used?

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Maybe one of these...

      http://www.1001fonts.com/hard-to-read-fonts.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whatever font was used, was probably enhanced with a big ol' watermark across each page "CONFIDENTIAL" just to guff up OCR a bit more...

  37. JamesSmith

    Free country?

    It isn't as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country. Think about it. No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying "Patriot" Act.

    Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily. Rarely are these offenses punished. Most often "an investigation" is claimed, but soon forgotten.

    In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers. USA is # 1! Does any of that sound like a free country?

    As Dwight D. Eisenhower said about communism, "It's like slicing sausage. First they out off a small slice. That isn't worth fighting over. Then they take another small slice that isn't worth fighting over. Then another and another. Finally, all you have left is the string and that isn't worth fighting over, either.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll get around it, next time...

    All his actions have done is to ensure that, in future, when one of these communication providers receives a secret wiretap notice that they must comply with under penalty of punishment, there'll be an additional paragraph forbidding them from terminating their service in response to it. Good job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They'll get around it, next time...

      Errm... how should I put it to you, Mr. AC? That's called tactical advantage and is why we no longer fight each other using rocks and sticks.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: They'll get around it, next time...

        Only organized militaries don't use rocks and sticks. The goat herders and rice farmers who keep kicking our asses don't really have a lot more than that.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: They'll get around it, next time...

          They DO have one big thing going for them: they know the terrain, and knowledge of terrain can be a great equalizer in an asymmetric war. Vietnam, Iraq, and so on have used knowledge of terrain to their advantage.

  39. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I don't understand why this individual didn't do what everyone else with a legitimate gripe against the Men In Black does: Call The Daily Show and explain what is going on.

    These days more people of voting age get their current affairs information from this show than from genuine news outlets.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Bah!

      The sad fact of the matter is that even the Daily Show is no more than entertainment and actually participating in our Democracy by voting is too much of a hassle for most people.

      I realize our choices are shit, but nothing is ever going to change unless a significant majority of Citizens vote. Right now the batshit crazy domestic policies championed by both parties are representative of the voting public. Until enough people vote that an accurate picture of public opinion can be made nothing can be any different.

      That's the reason why polls by 3rd party groups are rarely reflected in government decisions. More than 50% of those polled don't vote, regardless of what they tell you. The poll numbers prove it. 'Americans' love to bitch, but we can't be bothered to actually do anything about the things we don't like.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The printouts. It was a good idea. Best online email service I'd used. How can they charge him per day when they are shutting down HIS service? His work. It's sick. Thinking about it, he could have given us each part of the keys along with a number, and then deleted them. That way they'd have to come for all of us, one-by-one, reluctant to give any of it up, to attempt to piece it all together. Maybe in v2...

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: awood4929 Re: A 73 year old judge that......

      Is the "awood" bit of your handle a nod to you regularly being described as more dense than the average two-by-four? Such a level of civil servant will have plenty of staff to deal with such childish antics.

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