First it was LavaBit. Now it’s Silent Circle shuttering its e-mail service. In a “To Our Customers” post on their blog, Joncallas explains:
Email that uses standard Internet protocols cannot have the same security guarantees that real-time communications has. There are far too many leaks of information and metadata intrinsically in the email protocols themselves. Email as we know it with SMTP, POP3, and IMAP cannot be secure.
And yet, many people wanted it. Silent Mail has similar security guarantees to other secure email systems, and with full disclosure, we thought it would be valuable.
However, we have reconsidered this position. We’ve been thinking about this for some time, whether it was a good idea at all. Today, another secure email provider, Lavabit, shut down their system lest they “be complicit in crimes against the American people.” We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now. We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now.
Their Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Eyes services will continue.
And so our government’s surveillance of its own citizens continues to take a toll on innovation in technology and will drive more customers to EUropean companies and businesses. President Obama may try to claim there is no “domestic spying” program, but he is just playing word games.