updated 11:27 pm EDT, Thu August 8, 2013
Company 'sees writing on the wall,' ceases email before legal problems
Following in the footsteps of Lavabit, another encrypted email provider has closed its doors. Silent Circle has announced that it is closing its Silent Mail service, effective immediately, fearing US government legal reprisal. The company says that it can "see the writing on the wall" and has decided that it is in the best interest of the company and its customers to cease the service's operation.
The company claims in a blog post to have been "debating this for weeks, and had changes planned starting next Monday." In a blog post, Silent Circle says that it "considered phasing the service out, continuing service for existing customers, and a variety of other things up until today. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and with your safety we decided that the worst decision is always no decision."
The company is retaining its video and text products -- Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Eyes, calling them "end-to-end secure" as the software used for the communications does not collect metadata about customers' conversations. The shuttering of the mail service is being positioned by the company as safer for its customers overall, as the less of the customers' information the company has, "the better it is for you and for us."
While the company has "not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government," it claims that now is the time to act, to protect users of the company's other services. Silent Circle told Forbes magazine a month ago that its monthly revenue from all of its services has skyrocketed since the NSA PRISM leak began, with a significant amount of the increase from global business customers. It predicted 2-3 million subscribers by the end of 2013.