updated 05:32 am EDT, Tue October 15, 2013
Customers able to download data blocked after company shutdown
Encrypted e-mail service Lavabit has temporarily reopened, to allow customers to retrieve their stored data after the service's shutdown. Customers will be able to change their account password on the service for a 72-hour period starting at 7pm Central Time today, with personal account data being made available to download from Friday for a limited time.
Lavabit closed in August after the company received pressure from the US government in the wake of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden. An initial gag order was then lifted, revealing that the FBI had requested details for a specific account, thought to be owned by Snowden, but Lavabit resisted. After multiple requests and court appearances, which at one point saw Lavabit complying with the order to hand over private SSL keys by supplying them on 11 pages of 4-point type, Lavabit eventually closed to avoid fines of $5,000 per day.
Ladar Levison, Lavabit founder, advised that he is in a similar situation as other users when it comes to the stored data, which was blocked off when the company suddenly stopped offering its services. "I'm in the same boat as then. I used my Lavabit e-mail account for 10 years. It was my only e-mail account," said Levison, with the company still looking to appeal to the fourth Circuit Court of Appeals over the matter.