Following the lead of Lavabits, Silent Circle is closing down its business. Unlike Lavabits, it has not been told to provide access to customer data; but, Silent Circle sees the handwriting on the wall. It can no longer provide secure and private.
As an article within Silent Circle points out, metadata cannot be encrypted or protected. The header of all email includes such unprotected data as the name of the host that connected, the IP address of the sender as well as the IP address of the receiver, the encryption status of the message, the type of cipher and its size, date and time sent, etc…. Assuming the actual message was not viewed–a perhaps unwarranted assumption–, the problem is that the size and scope of the snooping is so enormous that a great deal of information can now be inferred by simply knowing, for example, the number of times you emailed specific persons, the size of the emails….and so forth.
With the tapping of backbone internet providers, interested parties can now see all traffic on the internet
Suppose you are a political activist. Imagine what can be surmised by merely knowing the meta data of every email you send. Was the email forwarded to others? To whom? How soon after it was received? With the right tools, a picture of your group can be drawn very quickly.
But, as I said, the assumption that the NSA simply stops at meta data is perhaps naive. Besides, Booz Allen has many thousands of employees and lists 70 of the largest top 100 firms in the world as clients. Can we be sure that peeking for preferred customers is never done?
Or suppose you are a journalist trying to report on dubious activities of a multinational in an impoverished third world country. You have no protection. Everything you write will be read. Corporations are far more important than those they impoverish.
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.