The Unhackable Email Service | Freethink Coded
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The Unhackable Email Service | Freethink Coded


I remember standing in front of
the Dallas branch of the FBI thinking when I turned over the key, they might want to arrest me. Because I had already shut down the system. They felt they had the right to demand
the private key for my business so they could decrypt everyone’s communications and isolate those belonging to their target. His name is Edward Snowden, the
leaker of classified NSA documents, that spell out a secret surveillance program . You don’t fully understand the importance of privacy until you’ve lost it. Lavabit is an encrypted communications company that I started specifically in reaction to the announcement by Google that they were launching their Gmail service. I believe privacy is an inalienable right. When you’re being watched, your behavior changes. You start doing things differently. You start saying things differently. Privacy is critical to the functioning of
a free and fair democracy. I was concerned that Google was
going to be scanning people’s messages and using that information to profile them. So, I thought, heck, why don’t I create a type of email service that I would use myself? A type of service that a geek would love. And that’s kind of how it all started. When you look at the geek ethos, we value things like privacy and security and trust. After I launched the service, headlines started coming out regarding national security letters that allowed the FBI to collection information from service providers without being adjudicated or reviewed by a judge. And I was very concerned with
that particular mechanism because I felt it was unconstitutional. As a service provider, I was very concerned that I would receive one of these letters someday. And I’d be put in this difficult position of having to choose between defending the Constitution or going to jail. And, of course, knowing myself, I knew I would pick jail every time. I had a knock on my door by a couple of FBI agents. There was a user of my system that they were particularly keen on surveilling. The U.S. government wanted to access
Edward Snowden’s email. The man who leaked National Security Agency’s
secrets, he had a Lavabit account. Now the site’s owner, Ladar Levison, vowed to continue fighting rather
than comply with the U.S. government. I wasn’t comfortable with that request. I decided to shut down service and turn over the key. I mean, I was doing everything I had worked so hard to prevent from happening. And… I just couldn’t believe that… you know, it took ten years to build
that business into a success. And I destroyed it… in one night. But, I mean, think about the alternative. The alternative was to become complicit in crimes against the American people. To me that was the worse of the two choices. After I suspend my email service, I find myself with a lot of free time on my hands. And, it just sort of hit me. We know how to solve this problem. Why don’t we go ahead and do it? The system I designed for Lavabit had the deficiency of not protecting the message before it arrived and not
protecting it after it left the server. I’m restarting the Lavabit email service with the same type of encryption that I was
doing on my servers before, but could now be done on the user’s device itself. It makes mass surveillance obsolete because it would be impossible to intercept or steal everybody’s key from every device. The simple fact is, that I took on the Lavabit project because I realized that I was one of only a handful of people on the planet who had
the necessary skills. I felt like I had an obligation to use that knowledge to solve, what I felt, was an
incredibly important problem. We now have 3.5 billion people with email addresses. I think we’re still going to have a fundamental problem with security on the internet, unless we add encryption to email. There’s a very good chance there is some piece of information out there that that you don’t want someone to know. And, if an authority ever came into power that possessed that information, stripped you of control over it, they could bend you to their will merely by threatening to expose that piece of information. And if those are the people at the wheel, well, let me ask you this, when was the last time you didn’t trust yourself?

100 Comments

  • MassDynamic

    i think he's slightly incorrect about the wording. i think geeks value privacy, but not necessarily trust. that's why there's encryption, antivirus scanners, etc. they would probably value "trustlessness" more, something that blockchain can offer.

  • JoeyLovesTrains

    So. What is this dude, hiding??? There might not be anything on those emails.

    But kudos to him for not giving up!

  • Jack Krieger

    Since jail systems are owned by private companies it is logical that a way to increase the number of consumers(prisoners) you should have a better surveillance so you could imprison more people. Government is the puppet thag those companies can use through lobbying so they can install the surveillance system into the society.

  • zodiacfml

    Youtube, I give up. I will now watch this, make this good.
    EDIT: too much drama for little info. multiple messaging services has end to end encryption. video is a behind for a couple of years.

  • Nathan Pratt

    I dont think servailence is wrong at all and I would rather be watched on every street corner than to be alone

  • ll8937

    so basically, he is transferring all the risks of dealing with these keys to his customers. Not sure why he did not do that from the beginning.

  • John Doe

    The argument isn't you have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide. but rather you have nothing to hide, therefore they have no reason to look. whatever happens with your privacy should be based on your clear consent which corporations and governments today don't bother to ask for when they follow your every step you make in digital and physical world and that's why you should care about your privacy.

  • LT72884

    Idk, i ran servers for years for large F500 companies. If you break the law and use email as a means to commit criminal activities, im all for the law getting involved, all through the proper channels and means to do so. But to get caught red handed and then try to cover up your tracks by demanding snowdrns files…. that doesnt work

  • B A

    0. He architected the previous incarnation poorly because he shouldn't have had any knowledge of his customers' data. 1. He's wearing wrist braces that are explicitly not supposed to be worn while typing, causing more RSI damage than helping. Dude isn't a hero, more of a flailing, self-serving wantrepreneur.

  • Tripal

    "This Linus Tech Tips video was brought to you by Lavabit. The fully secure emailing service for those who thrive on privacy." Anyone else read this in Linus' voice?

  • Kok Fong Chow

    The whole "Privacy" thing is just to help shield the crime lords.
    I want to commit crime but i want to do it without getting spied on, so fk you for not respecting my privacy.

  • Rider0fBuffalo

    After Snowden leaked the documents, it was about surveillance, but "clear and present danger" that warranted investigation in the eyes of the government. But until someone does something privacy should ideally be protected- that should be the premise of a movie.

  • Ceelker

    He looks like a chubbier Klayton
    (Immortal, Circle of Dust, Brainchild, Argyle Park, Angeldust, Celldweller, Scandroid, FIXT Label)

  • KPAracing

    Those lawmakers who violate the constitution must be brought to trial at common law for treason. Good on ya brother keep strong!

  • Quack Quark

    Nothing is unhackable.

    I want to love Lavabit, but he eventually handed over the encryption keys as a printout in 4 point font. Levison resisted very effectively for a while, but anybody can be coerced. Reliability is crucial for email, and I see nothing to stop history (shutdown of the service) from repeating unless Lavabit has distributed both servers and the company itself outside of the US. (Currently, Lavabit operates in "Trustful" mode only. Compare to Tutanota, Mailbox.org, Protonmail, Mailfence… et al.) I know Lavabit has interesting tech under development, but USA (the gov't, not people) is hostile to security and privacy.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/lavabit-held-in-contempt-of-court-for-printing-crypto-key-in-tiny-font/
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131002/17443624734/lavabit-tried-giving-feds-its-ssl-key-11-pages-4-point-type-feds-complained-that-it-was-illegible.shtml

  • /

    i was about to say i admire this guy so much until he said he handed over the encryption key after saying he would never do that. how can one be complicit in a crime if one isnt even aware of the crime, know the bad actors, etc?

  • yizzie82

    i get the both sides of this argument..and i think this not as black & white situation as both sides try to make it…noone wants government sticking their nose into your private issues…but at the same times…if there would be 100% uncrackable way of communication..it would be a field day for all sorts of terrorists etc. which are way worse than goverments (imho if you say govermnentt is worse than terrorists..you're watching too many movies)..and the way our justice systems works…jailing them or atleast preventing their strikes would become impossible if law enforcement didnt have the means to monitor what they're saying..

  • Sigma

    "Unhackable Email Service" "Privacy"
    You will sell my data to fbi too, not gonna trust you man.
    I'm going to use only my encrypted tor email server.

  • Mike Morgan

    We can trust ourselves, trust other fallible people, or trust God. We all make our own choices. At least for now, it isn't a flogging offense. And if the authorities God allows over us are corrupt? Well, eternity is a long time for them to ponder how they ended up in Hell…

    Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
    "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed."

  • pradeep Kumar xplorer

    Who are you can you solve the cybercrime it's 70 billion dollar theft and they are slowly killing me and harmed me and getting away with it

  • Ron Swartz Anonymous

    Even if I had nothing worth tracking Id still want it secure. It's my business and no one has the right to spy.

  • irena dubrovna

    Serial killers , nazi-zianist–eugenicists, they who sexually assault others , who believe in things such as forcibly impregnatong women, and in promoting slavery, are your elected officials … of course, they do not believe in privacy, save for themselves. A sodomite is a male who desires to know another male. The story of sodom was not about 'sexual orientation' but about nonconsent and invasion of privacy – for why else would a cry demanding , worthy of, a divine investigation – have been heard in heaven above ?

    It is one thing to anonymously and randomly collect data in a black box flight recorder kind of way – only to be looked at after an incident has been reported, and then only by means of warrants, so that privacy for many be maintained, but it is another to advocate for a police state wherein any citizen may be investigated , anytime, with no reason given, without a court issued warrant. "We're fighting terrorism" … "We're looking for werewolves, witches, child-eating trolls, et cetra?" are the kind of excuses they will use to create a "master race" , herrenvolk, "the chosen people" political economy.

    Frankly, the French Revolution began when many had had enough of the lie called NOBILITY, founded in the idea that genetic heritage makes one better than another.
    That Revolution may have been the beginning of the war against "racism" (eugenics). Rabbis, pastors, and priests, have been telling lies from their pulpit-stages for at least two thousand years, claiming bloodlines make one holier than others. And by doing so, they have thrown His Word behind their backs to follow after lies, false doctrine, and hazing rituals, while His Commandments they keep not, which commandments seem hid from them. For would they not have kept them, had they understood them ?

    That said, as long as the FBI showed him a judge-signed warrant, he should have complied.

  • Night Howla

    How do we know everything on there no doesn't watch I mean in the sense everything is washed in the entire universe so I mean big deal

  • vishal das

    In India we don't have to face this problem because if our active Judiciary System. Supreme court of India declared the vigilance bill as Unconstitutional.

  • Dan Bulant

    Google will be scanning your messages.
    Nah, they keep my privacy

    2seconds later: oh assistant says I got an email which says my reservation number is 738

  • Kyle Sucks

    Well no service is unhackable, and why tf is this even "news", PGP (which is basically this just not really) has been around for ages and thats pretty much ""unhackable""(not really a word bcuz everything is hackable) so why tf is ppl reporting on this shit.

  • MrMats0n

    So he's one of the few people on this planet who can create an email service with end-to-end encryption? Sounds fair.

  • Marlon lacert

    Worse still, when you add censorship to the whole system.. People, begin to internalize their emotions.. And this causes groups like ANTIFA to grow.. As emotions will build and build, until people snap….
    Worse still, it is not the vocal people that are the problem, it is the silent people that are dangerous…

  • david johanson

    read the terms of ther service, it is free and you loose privacy. So what, nothing has changed. Cops be watching us since the drug war started. what id Jefferson say . . . .about security and liberty . . .

  • JoseitoEdlVodao

    When you play God, you are bound to CREATE HELL on earth because you're NOT God. Only God knows about everyone's business but here's the thing, he genuinely knows WHY you did it and loves you regardless.

  • The Dancer

    Thank you for choosing integrity and the safety of the people. This is all out of control now and needs to be stopped

  • The Dancer

    When the Nazi’s took over germany, they had ZERO good intentions. When anyone wants to steal your privacy, it’s bcz they have an agenda that is NEVER for society’s well being.

    The fact is, no one has a right to your privacy. Period. It doesn’t matter if you care if someone knows something, you should be concerned about ‘why’ they want to invade your privacy.

  • darthvader5300

    This is not new to us Russians. We have an earlier hardwired programmed version of it and it is called as the "HARWIRED FIRE TUNNEL ALARM SYSTEM" that allows us to surf and browse the internet without being discovered and IT SENDS AN ALARM IF SOMEONE IS TRYING TO HACK OR PENETRATE INTO THE "FIRE TUNNEL ALARM SYSTEM" which is similar to our "HARDWIRED MULTI-LAYERED FIREWALL ALARM SYSTEM" hardwired around our computers of all kinds.

  • Lucas An

    DEMOCRACY IS A GOD THAT FAILED
    Why?
    What is true, just, and beautiful is not determined by popular vote. The masses everywhere are ignorant, short-sighted, motivated by envy, and easy to fool. Democratic politicians must appeal to these masses in order to be elected. Whoever is the best demagogue will win. Almost by necessity, then, democracy will lead to the perversion of truth, justice and beauty.
    Democracy is the problem, state is the problem. Only the free market and the Private Property Law derived from hoppean argumentative ethics can guarantee a society with freedom of expression, while guaranteeing the impartiality of justice and social harmony, as well as harmony and freedom in cyberspace. Only hoppean anarcho-capitalism is rationally correct.

  • Ivan

    Все правильно сделала что не сдал данные правительству. Жалко что я не могу сейчас использовать сервис Lavabit. Надо было также с Вконтакте поступить.
    All correctly made that did not pass data to the government. It is a pity that I can not now use the service Lavabit. It was also necessary to do with Vkontakte.

  • Chin Checkin

    Government is sadistic organized criminals teaching you that they are your Lord and saviors. Their biggest business is school, war, and the prison industrial complex. Ever wonder why? Government is slavery, disguised as the bedrock of civilization. Anarchy is without Archons ruling over you. Archons ruling over you is slavery…

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