Another encrypted email service shuts down


The company Cryptoseal has decided to shut down its encrypted service Cryptoseal Privacy. It did so after it learned from the Lavabit case that the government feels it has the right to demand encryption keys form service providers.

Court documents released in the wake of Lavabit’s shut-down showed that the US government believes that it has the power to order service providers to redesign their systems to make it possible to spy on users. Cryptoseal had been operating under the assumption that since it had no way of spying on its users, it was immune to wiretap orders, and the revelation that they may be forced to break their system’s security was enough to put them off altogether.

In a statement, the company said,

With immediate effect as of this notice, CryptoSeal Privacy, our consumer VPN service, is terminated. All cryptographic keys used in the operation of the service have been zerofilled, and while no logs were produced (by design) during operation of the service, all records created incidental to the operation of the service have been deleted to the best of our ability,

I suspect that increasingly such services will be operated by companies outside the US.

Meanwhile the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has gone directly to the US Supreme Court to challenge the NSA’s spying programs, saying that since these occurred through rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC), lower courts would be unable to rule on the legality of the decisions. The Obama administration has objected, saying that this case should go through the lower courts first. The Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will take the case directly.

Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    Meanwhile the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has gone directly to the US Supreme Court to challenge the NSA’s spying programs, saying that since these occurred through rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC), lower courts would be unable to rule on the legality of the decisions.

    That sounds like a long shot if I ever heard one… Give SCOTUS half an excuse to not hear a case like this, and they’ll likely take it. They don’t want to touch this stuff! And this isn’t just half an excuse, there’s actually a reasonable argument to saying it needs to go through lower courts first (I’m not saying that argument is correct, I’m just saying it’s not crazy or unreasonable). I’d be shocked if SCOTUS took it.

  2. invivoMark says

    I’d be shocked if, after taking the case, even a single member of SCOTUS actually understood the case.

    It’s depressing that the only body that could possibly have the will and the ability to do something meaningful about this is a group of nine people who neither know nor care about Internet privacy.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I agree, jamessweet, that the argument does not sound unreasonable.

    However, given the actions of lower courts and the positions of the Obama admin or court review (namely, that there shouldn’t be any) I think it’s not just incorrect but unreasonable to think that the Obama admin won’t then argue in the lower courts that this is too secret for them to examine.

    The argument that is more persuasive is that the conditions of original jurisdiction are not based in whether or not the executive has consistently perverted judicial review in similar cases. Also, while ambassadors and other named parties whose cases are subject to original jurisdiction are, indeed, subject to the same invasive surveillance as others (and probably additional surveillance beyond that) they are mixed into a class that has nothing to do with their ambassadorial or other privileged status.

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