BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The email service, Lavabit, reportedly used by surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden abruptly shut down on Thursday after its owner claimed his refusal to become "complicit in crimes against the American people," as quoted by media.
The e-mails, which Snowden sent out to invite several human rights activists and lawyers to meet with him at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in July, reportedly came from the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org." Snowden was allegedly a Lavabit customer.
Based in Texas, U.S., Lavabit, an email service having 350,000 customers, cryptically blames the shutdown on rejecting a court order for cooperation with the U.S. government to participate in surveillance on its customers.
"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," founder Ladar Levison wrote on the company's website.“After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.”
Levison suggested that government-imposed restrictions prevented him from explaining what exactly led to his company's crisis.
Lavabit's deleted website is still available, for now, through Google Cache. The pages show a long list of privacy and anti-spam features. Lavabit emphasized that stored mail was encrypted with public and private keys.