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Silent Circle shutters email service

Follows Lavabit in closing down service it can't guarantee to be secure

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Silent Circle, the company founded by former PGP wonks and Navy Seals and which offers very, very, secure communications, has decided to shutter its Silent Mail email service.

The decision, announced in a blog post, comes on the same day that Lavabit, another secure email service, decided to close because it cannot guarantee users' security. Lavabit was PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden's email service of choice.

Silent Circle's blog post says its mail service has “always been something of a quandry to us” because “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.”

The post mentions Lavabit and its unwillingness to “be complicit in crimes against the American people” and says Silent Circle “see the writing the wall” and has therefore “decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now.”

No “subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government” have arrived at the company's offices, and by acting now the post says Silent Circle and users can avoid dealing with them in future. Staying warrant-free presumably means Silent Circle hopes its customers will be spared future investigations, with the post saying the company had considered keeping the service alive for current users or phasing it out. Now it has decided “that if we dithered, it could be more inconvenient.”

Silent Circle says it is still working on “innovative ways to do truly secure communications”. With both it and Lavabit walking away from efforts at secure email, those efforts appear to be more necessary than ever. ®

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