A Texas-based email service reportedly used by National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden said it was shutting down on Thursday, explaining in a cryptic message that it would rather go out of business than “become complicit in crimes against the American people.”

The statement posted online by Lavabit owner Ladar Levison hinted that the Dallas-based company had been forbidden from revealing what was going on.

“I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision,” Mr. Levison’s statement said. “As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.”

The post didn’t name Mr. Snowden or refer to any particular investigation, but the statement’s timing and other material in the public domain suggest that Mr. Lavabit shut down in protest at the US government’s pursuit of the 30-year-old whistleblower, whose disclosures have blown the lid off the NSA’s secret domestic surveillance.

Lavabit might have been attractive to Mr. Snowden because the company advertised itself as a secure, privacy-conscious alternative to webmail services operated by Yahoo and Google. The company’s promotional material it has since been pulled from the internet said Lavabit’s system was specifically designed to resist secret requests from US law enforcement.

Mr. Levison’s statement said the firm had launched a legal defence fund and was preparing to go to court to “resurrect Lavabit as an American company.”

source:  the hindu