Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong. The National Security Agency, working with the British government, has secretly been unraveling encryption technology that billions of Internet users rely upon to keep their electronic messages and confidential data safe from prying eyes, according to published reports Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, based on internal U.S. government documents. (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)
The operator of Lavabit LLC, Ladar Levison, suspended operations of the encrypted mail service in August, citing a pending "fight in the 4th (U.S.) Circuit Court of Appeals." Levison did not explain the pressures that forced him to shut the firm down but added that "a favorable decision would allow me to resurrect Lavabit as an American company."
The government asked the news organizations not to publish their stories, saying foreign enemies would switch to new forms of communication and make it harder for the NSA to break. The organizations removed some specific details but still published the story, they said, because of the "value of a public debate regarding government actions that weaken the most powerful tools for protecting the privacy of Americans and others."
Such tensions between government officials and journalists, while not new, have become more apparent since Snowden's leaks. Last month, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said that British government officials came by his newspaper's London offices to destroy hard drives containing leaked information. "You've had your debate," one UK official told him. "There's no need to write any more."