The founder of Lavabit, the email service used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, announced the company would be shutting down Thursday in a message posted on the group’s homepage.“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit,” writes Ladar Levison. The message, which includes a section explaining how the government stopped Levison from sharing his story, ends in a warning. “Without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the U.S.”
The full message from Lavabit's founder and operator Ladar Levison:
My Fellow Users,
I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.
What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.
This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC
Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.
On July 26, 2012, members of the #YoSoy132 movement and other Mexican social movements held a siege Televisa, Mexico's largest TV broadcaster and media conglomerate. Afterward, the following statement from the Student Assembly was read (translated by OccupyWallSt.org):
Closing remarks from the siege of Televisa
The symbolic and peaceful siege of Televisa is an historic and unprecedented accomplishment, the first action directly resuming our program of struggle, particularly our number one point: the democratization and transformation of the media and dissemination of information, as our letter states: "We fight against media monopolies and oligopolies that concentrate and manipulate information, particularly in the current electoral context where collusion between political parties and media companies is evident." We note that the current model of commercial media, represented by Televisa and TV Azteca, are excluded from society and civil organizations in general. We believe that only the socialization and collective management of the media will allow for a true open media and guarantee the right to information and freedom of expression.
Summoned by shame, indignation, and suffering, we are here today at the gates of the media company which has been tasked to misinform and manipulate the Mexican people.
#YoSoy132 is a nonpartisan, nonviolent, autonomous, anti-neoliberal social, political, and student movement independent of the parties, candidates, and organizations who respond to an electoral program -- a democratic movement where decisions emanate from the local and general assemblies which has transcended the electoral situation and continues to be organized and to fight to profoundly transform Mexico, to act as a counterweight to any decision and policy that violates the rights and interests of our people.
We have taken to the streets and now surrounded the pack of lies which Televisa represents, and we are developing the cohesion and organization of the people by raising awareness and organizing to fight for: The democratization of media, information, and its dissemination; changing the education system, science, and technology; changing the neoliberal economic model, changing the national security model; promoting participatory democracy in connection with social movements; and changing the healthcare model.
Although this demonstration was entirely peaceful, as is the struggle of this movement, there was an unnecessary deployment of police elements that stopped us by surrounding the perimeter of Televisa's installations and extended the fence to the adjoining streets, impacting the roadways and the free movement of residents. After 24 hours of the massive fence, we demonstrated a high degree of organization and unity of effort between the YoSoy132 movement, the People's Front in Defense of the Earth, the EMS, the CNTE, and the other social organizations for successful completion of the first action agreed in the framework of the National Convention against Taxation, held in Atenco. This convention has the clear objective of defending democracy, preventing the imposition [of presumed President-elect Peña Nieto], and seeking profound transformation of the current state of Mexico.
The protest was sparked in large part by the"victory" of Peña Nieto, whom social movements claim was elected via fraud and manipulation, with only the vote of a tiny percentage of Mexico's total population. Peña Nieto is of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico autocratically for 70 years. The National Commission of Human Rights has documented that Peña Nieto was directly responsible for violating the human rights of the people of Atenco in 2006 as they demonstrated for their land rights against neoliberal expansion. The events occured while he was the governor of the state of Mexico and included abuses by his security forces such as torture, illegal detentions, mass rape, and murder.
For background on #YoSoy132, who continue to draw tens of thousands to street demonstrations, see here. To support them locally, come to this event this Tuesday in New York:
Occupy Saks Fifth Avenue (Direct Action Against Carlos Slim)
Telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim is responsible for overcharging Mexico's rural poor over $129 billion. Slim owns TELMEX, a formerly public company that is now his private monopoly thanks to the neoliberal policies of the Mexican government. Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, continues to build his telecommunications empire on the backs of Mexico's poor and crippling the nation's economic development. We will not stand for such abusive practices that exploit people just so that the richest man in the world can get richer.
Join Mexico's Dos Paises Una Voz, Yo Soy 132, labor & Occupy Wall Street activists as we confront Slim at Saks Fifth Avenue, where he owns the largest private stake. We will bum rush the store, and flood it with the 99% on August 7th at 4:30 PM....