Lavabit, a high-security email service, shut down Thursday after it was discovered that NSA leaker Edward Snowden reportedly used the site to facilitate meetings at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow last month.
"I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit," founder Ladar Levison wrote in a note on the site Thursday.
"After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations."
Levison also cited an ongoing legal battle but wouldn’t elaborate.
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"I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot," he wrote. "I feel you deserve to know what’s going on — the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise."
Snowden used a Lavabit email address to invite people to a press conference at Sheremetyevo Airport on July 12, according to a report from the international wire service Global Post.
Lavabit isn’t the only secure email service to shut down in the months since Snowden revealed a U.S. government surveillance program.
Silent Circle, which has a product called Silent Mail that allows users to send communications with advanced encryption, also closed its doors Thursday.
"We see the writing [on] the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now," Silent Circle's CTO Jon Callas wrote in a blog post Thursday.
"We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now.
"It is always better to be safe than sorry, and with your safety we decided that the worst decision is always no decision."
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