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<nettime> After Lavabit, Silent Circle ...
Patrice Riemens on Fri, 9 Aug 2013 15:22:41 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> After Lavabit, Silent Circle ...


Original to:
http://silentcircle.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/to-our-customers/


To our Members:

    Silent Circle has preemptively discontinued Silent Mail service to
prevent spying.

    We designed our phone, video, and text services (Silent Phone, Text
and Eyes) to be completely end-to-end secure with all cryptography done
on the clients and our exposure to your data to be nil. The reasons are
obvious -- the less of your information we have, the better it is for
you and for us.

    Silent Mail has thus always been something of a quandary for us.
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. Yesterday,
another secure email provider, Lavabit, shut down their system less they
"be complicit in crimes against the American people." We see the writing
on the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down
Silent Mail. We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters,
or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now.

    We've been debating this for weeks, and had changes planned starting
next Monday. We'd 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 in this case the worst decision is no decision.

    Silent Phone and Silent Text, along with their cousin Silent Eyes
are end-to-end secure. We don't have the encrypted data and we don't
collect metadata about your conversations. They're continuing as they
have been. We are still working on innovative ways to improve secure
communications. Silent Mail was a good idea at the time, and that time
has passed.

    We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope you understand that if
we dithered, it could be more inconvenient.


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