Dark Mail Alliance hopes to usher in a new era of encrypted email

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Michael Janke, CEO of encrypted communications firm Silent Circle, sat alongside Ladar Levison, founder of now-suspended encrypted email service Lavabit, at the Inbox Love conference on Wednesday to announce they are joining forces to establish the Dark Mail Alliance.

In a world of extensive government surveillance efforts, particularly those by the National Security Agency, the goal of the Dark Mail Alliance is to provide secure emailing through distinct end-to-end encrypted protocol and architecture.

“What we call ‘Email 3.0' is an urgent replacement for today's decades old email protocols (‘1.0') and mail that is encrypted, but still relies on vulnerable protocols leaking metadata (‘2.0'),” Janke said in a Wednesday blog post.

The plan is to extend Email 3.0 to software developers and service providers worldwide.

“Our goal is to open source the protocol and architecture and help others implement this new technology to address the privacy concerns over surveillance and backdoor threats of any kind,” Janke said.

Just under a decade since its founding, Lavabit suspended its encrypted email services in August. Unable to speak publicly on the matter, it was suggested in a letter by Levison posted to the Lavabit website, and through several other outlets, that the government was seeking access to user emails for surveillance purposes.

Launched in 2012, Silent Circle acknowledged the trends and preemptively shut down its encrypted email service.

A Dark Mail Alliance spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

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