The Government Revealed That Lavabit Shut Down Because of Edward Snowden

Image by Mike Herbst

Remember that the secure and private email provider Lavabit shut down back in 2013 rather than comply with the feds? While people speculated it was because the government was chasing Edward Snowden, un-redacted files now show that to be the case.

Wired reports that the files were published online to a federal court system called Pacer. The owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, was asked in 2013 by the FBI to hand over data about one the company’s users. He didn’t: He shuttered the company instead. The newly released documents fail to obscure the email address of that single user, which happens to be...


Wired claims that the lack of redaction was actually an accident on the part of the government. If that’s true, it’s good news for Levison, who was prevented form revealing the identity of the user—being told he could face prison time if he spoke out Now, it seems he doesn’t have to.


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About the author

Jamie Condliffe

Contributing Editor at Gizmodo. An ex-engineer writing about science and technology.