Another Secure Email Cracks Under Draconian Surveillance

By the headline alone, you might think this article has something to do with Edward Snowden, however, the closure of the secure email service PrivateSky predates the Snowden leaks and beat Lavabit by a solid 6 months in the competition for who could shut down their individual services faster and for the least constitutional reasons possible.

According to Brian Spector, CEO of Certivox and former head of the encrypted email department at PrivateSky, the government came to them well before any news of the Snowden leaks had dropped and nearly a year prior to the shutdown of Lavabit and SilentCircle.


When PrivateSky was initially approached by the GCHQ, not only did they outright deny the request for their users private and personal information, they immediately began shutting down the service and encrypting the contents of their servers as to avoid any unwarranted probes by its host government.

 [W]e had the choice to make – either architect the world’s most secure encryption system on the planet, so secure that CertiVox cannot see your data, or spend £500,000 building a backdoor into the system to mainline data to GCHQ so they can mainline it over to the NSA.

This scorched-earth policy of crashing entire companies who choose to keep their users data safe is nothing new for the British government, and will likely continue unabated as long as the same politicians who signed off on the program remain in power.

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