Email Providers Build Service to Protect Your Inbox From the NSA

In August, Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit — the email service provider allegedly used by Edward Snowden — decided to shut down the entire company rather than comply with abroad surveillance request.


Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai is a reporter at Mashable’s New York headquarters, where he covers cybersecurity, tech policy, privacy and surveillance, hackers, drones, and, more in general, the intersection of technology and civil liberties. Before Mashable, Lorenzo was an intern at, where he wrote for Danger Room, and Threat Level. A recent graduate of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism Lorenzo is also a Law graduate at University of Barcelona. Lorenzo is also interested in all kinds of sports (soccer, NBA, NFL, etc.), science, environment and green technology. He’s also a self-defined geek and open-source and free-software enthusiast.

A few hours later, spooked by Levison’s extreme move, private communications startup Silent Circle abruptly and preemptively shut down its own email service, too.

Now, almost three months later, Lavabit and Silent Circle will announce their plans to join forces and launch Dark Mail, a new secure, encrypted and peer-to-peer email system more resistant to government surveillance. They’re calling it the “Dark Mail Alliance.”

Why not name it “Darth” Mail Alliance?