A legitimate American business that offered its customers email privacy has been destroyed by the government. It’s “crime”? Refusing to cooperate with the disgraceful and unconstitutional surveillance network which considers itself entitled to spy on all Americans.

And if you think that’s bad, get this: they are not allowed to talk about it!

That’s right. In the United States of America, the First Amendment does not include the right even to discuss the wholesale suppression of rights.

I’m pasting the entire text of the letter from the company’s website, because this is an outrage (and it is not the only company being treated this way):

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.

Disgraceful. In my opinion, every member of Congress who voted for these measures violated his oath of office.