Apparent redaction error points to Snowden as subject of Lavabit investigation

Recently disclosed federal case documents failed to redact the email address Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com.
Recently disclosed federal case documents failed to redact the email address Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com.

An apparent redaction oversight seems to offer strong evidence that the U.S. was targeting Edward Snowden when in 2013 it ordered erstwhile secure email service Lavabit to turn over an encryption key that would allow investigators to collect data on one of its customers.

The transparency website Cryptome discovered the email address Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com in otherwise redacted federal case documents that the U.S. government disclosed on Mar. 4 under court order, according to a Wired.com report yesterday. Cryptome posted images of said documentation on its website earlier this week.

In 2013, U.S. officials approached Ladar Levison, owner of the now-defunct Lavabit, with a court order for metadata files, but instead of complying Levison shut down his business. Under threat of contempt, Levison has been barred from publicly naming the subject of the investigation, but he and privacy advocates have demanded the government be more forthcoming about the case. It appears as if the U.S. has accidentally acceded to those requests.

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