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Truthdigger of the Week: Lavabit’s Ladar Levison

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Posted on Aug 10, 2013
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By Alexander Reed Kelly

(Page 2)

Levison says he does not intend to support criminality. “I’m not trying to protect people from law enforcement,” he said. “If information is unencrypted and law enforcement has a court order, I hand it over.” But the secretive way the government goes about collecting information, which Americans know much about after months of revelations concerning the White House and the National Security Agency’s massive dragnet spying program, does disturb him. “The methods being used to conduct those investigations should not be secret,” he said.

Levison is currently raising money for a legal battle in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. As of Saturday morning, a defense fund being raised by private donors was reaching $90,000. He says he will revive Lavabit only if he can secure legal protections for services like his. “It needs to be clear that the government can’t do what they’re trying to do,” he said. “Otherwise the same request is going to come right back at us. Other big names aren’t able to shut down in protest. I’m one person without a bunch of employees to support. If we win, we win for everyone.”

When the Obama administration is using all of its vast, publicly funded resources to wage a war on Americans’ privacy and the freedom of thought that privacy enables, those words are exciting. Levison is a David facing a modern Goliath. His victory is not assured, but his determination to stand up for some of the United States’ founding principles, at a time when such a move is becoming increasingly dangerous, is inspiring. For sticking his neck out for all of us, we honor Ladar Levison as our Truthdigger of the Week.

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