Earlier this evening, secure email service provider Lavabit announced without warning that it was shutting its doors, doing so after having spent several weeks in a legal battle it wasn't authorized to talk about. Following this, a similar service called Silent Circle has announced that it will be shutting down its email service, doing so to get a jump on any government or law enforcement issues that could end up coming its way.
In case you missed it, Lavabit's owner and operator announced on the service's website this evening that effective immediately the doors have been closed. The reasons given were vague, stating only that the decision was to avoid being complicit in crimes against America, and that it was not allowed to provide further information on the matter. Furthermore, it is proceeding ahead with a legal filing to try to change this.
Silent Circle offers a few different secure services - Phone, Text, Eyes, and until today, Mail. The service worked using end-to-end encryption, preventing Silent Circle and others from having access to that data. Despite demands for the service - and a growing user base following PRISM revelations - the announcement says that Silent Circle has been debating about shutting down Mail.
The Lavabit closure, however, made up the company's mind. Said the service on its WordPress blog: "Today, another secure email provider, Lavabit, shut down their system lest they “be complicit in crimes against the American people.” We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now. We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now."
Furthermore, the company's CEO Michael Janke told the folks over at TechCrunch that the company knew the United States government "would come after" them, and that it would rather close Mail than be put in a position of having to spy for the NSA and others. Its other services will remain, however.