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Private email service Lavabit begins legal fight against the government order that shut it down

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lavabit wikimedia
lavabit wikimedia

Last month Lavabit founder Ladar Levison raised over $100,000 to appeal a surveillance order, and his legal battle is now formally underway. Wired reports that details of the case, being contested in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, are currently under seal, with Levison's opening brief set for October 3rd. Levison decided to close Lavabit, a private email service said to have been used by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, after fighting a legal case the founder said he could not discuss in detail.

The decision, which Levison made to avoid becoming "complicit in crimes against the American people," is rumored to have been in response to a national security letter — the NSA's secret subpoenas for information that prohibit their recipients from acknowledging the request in public. Levison said at the time that a favorable decision in the appeal would allow him to "resurrect Lavabit as an American company."