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[liberationtech] Fwd: CryptoSeal shutters, ala: LavaBit

Joseph Lorenzo Hall joe at
Tue Oct 22 06:43:52 PDT 2013

Hash: SHA256

On 10/21/13 9:08 PM, Zack Brisson wrote:
> Naive question from an ignorant amateur:
> What are the legal implications if service providers using any
> surveil-able channel offer terms of service stating they will:
> Terminate service provision prior to release of a user's
> information to a third party in instances where prior notice of
> intended release has not been made.
> I don't understand enough of the law to determine whether or not
> the series of cases referenced below represents a new legal
> precedent or something else. I.e. Given the commercial implications
> of many communications facilitated services, could economic
> considerations create legal standing of comparable relevance to the
> security considerations? If a commercial entity complies with state
> coercion, in conflict with their commercial obligations that they
> have explicitly rather than implicitly made, who arbitrates the
> spread of loss & risk across actors?

I'm not sure any of us have particularly satisfying answers. I think
the crucial lesson from Lavabit is that close-to-end-to-end is not
good enough to avoid having keying material compelled or to have
compelled appliances attached to your network. Many of us are arguing
(and will continue to argue) that no secure communications service
should have to rearchitect itself to assist government surveillance.
So, if you keep private keying material in a central place that the
USG can think of a way of getting at it (or if they can get at
something that can allow them to get at private keying material),
you're going to have a bad time of it.

We're certainly watching the Lavabit appeal in the 4th Circuit and
will definitely call upon this community to speak up when it comes
time to write a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief.

best, Joe

- -- 
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Chief Technologist
Center for Democracy & Technology
1634 I ST NW STE 1100
Washington DC 20006-4011
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joe at
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