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Give Lavabit Money

Ladar Levison is raising money for legal defense after shutting down Lavabit, the encrypted email service he's been running for ten years.

Levison's problem is that he's barred from talking about what the government told him to do. But from circumstantial evidence, it appears he was being forced to installing monitoring equipment on his servers.

Levison has already taken a big risk by shutting the service down. Not only has he shuttered a project, but he risks prosecution for implicitly revealing the request for surveillance. And he's in the impossible position of trying to mount a legal defense without being allowed to talk about the case.

If you have been at all bothered by the scope of government surveillance on the Internet, please donate to Levison's fund. Even if you can only give a couple of dollars, it's important that we show up in large numbers, not just to support Lavabit, but to send a signal to the next small company that finds itself debating whether to fight a gag order, or publish a national security letter. They need to know we'll have their back.

Even if Lavabit fails in its appeal, the process will create a paper trail that may prove useful to future efforts at reform. We have to pick at every chink in the armor of secrecy.

If we don't support Lavabit, we'll send a signal of a different kind. A wealthy industry, one capable of throwing millions of dollars at the most nebulous of business ideas, will not put its money where its mouth is when it comes to defending the personal liberties it so vociferously advocates on message boards and in blog posts.

For my part, I'm pledging the next five days of Pinboard receipts to the Lavabit legal defense fund. If you've thought of joining Pinboard, or upgrading your account, you can do so now with the knowledge that all the money will go to Lavabit.

Please join me in donating whatever you can afford. Levison is currently $19,000 of the way to a $40,000 goal, but his costs will mount rapidly if the case makes it to higher appellate courts. If you're not comfortable with the site, there's a direct PayPal link you can use to donate.

—maciej on October 01, 2013

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