In early 2013, Lavabit a company which runs the encrypted email service had to be shut down by its CEO Ladar Levison as he didn't want to abide by the federal law enforcement request for revealing Edward Snowden account which requires an SSL key which would not only reveal his emails also compromise 4,10,000 customers of the company.
He shut down the Lavabit's email service rather than undermine the trust and privacy of his users. It prevented the feds from getting access to emails stored on his servers
Levison, who became a hero of the privacy community for his tough stance, has spent the last three years trying to ensure he’ll never have to help the feds break into customer accounts again.A developer for the company told
A developer for the company told The Intercept that "Once it's in there, we cannot pull that SSL key back out."
The Intercept Stated that "The FBI had sought access to the email account of one of Lavabit’s most prominent users — Edward Snowden. Levison had custody of his service’s SSL encryption key that could help the government obtain Snowden’s password. And though the feds insisted they were only after Snowden’s account, the key would have helped them obtain the credentials for other users as well."
Friday the company will be launching the services once again. At the moment, the service is only open to previous users who were suddenly locked out of their accounts due to its sudden death.
They likely won't be able to retrieve their old emails anymore, but they can now continue using their Lavabit account.
The company will eventually start accepting new users, though, and they'll be able to choose between three modes: Trustful, Cautious and Paranoid.
In addition to three security tiers, the new Lavabit has a feature called Dark Mail to encrypt every email's metadata. It also prevents the sender's ISP from knowing the email's recipient and the recipient's ISP from knowing the sender's. To Pre-register visit the Lavabit site.