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CryptoSeal, Another Privacy Service Shuts Down Out of Fear of the NSA

by on22 October 2013 1330 times

When the leaks about how widespread the NSA’s surveillance is hit the news there was (and still is) talk about how much of an impact this would have on privacy. We all knew that having an agency that was able to dig into your online life like the NSA was not a good thing. What was less expected (although some talked about it) is the widespread effect on free speech, and also the economic impact in the form of people moving away from the internet and businesses closing down.

Although there have probably been more there is at least one high-profile service provider that has closed their doors, Lavabit. Lavabit was an email service that had personal privacy in mind. Unfortunately for them they are also a US based company where the laws allow the NSA and others to demand information about their clients including encryption keys and transactional information. Lavabit owner Ladar Levison chose to close his doors rather than give any information to law enforcement. This action was to protect the service and also to prevent capture of information that might have been sent by Edward Snowden. The move left many without their email or their email client (including the owner).

Now another privacy oriented service located in the US is closing their doors in an effort to prevent US law enforcement from digging into their clients business. Public VPN service CryptoSeal is not only closing their doors, they are deleting and zeroing all information about the public side of their business. This includes any and all records about the operation of the service (no logs were created of any connections or users) as well as the zeroing out of all cryptographic keys used for the service. Even information on the site is gone. In short they are killing off any and all information related to the operation of their public VPN service.

Of course unless they plan on destroying disk drives the NSA or other agency can still make an attempt to get the data back. It is technically possible to dive down more than seven layers to recover data off of magnetic storage. We have seen reconstructions from disks that have been zeroed before so there is still a risk that some information is recoverable. It is a good thing that the system was designed not to create logs of transactions and connections, but it might be possible to piece some information together from other systems used. To make this effort worthwhile someone would need to be very certain of what they were looking for.

In the meantime we expect to see more and more US based services closing their doors to get away from the reach of the US government. Sadly they will have to go a very long way as we all found out when the DoJ went after MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom at the request of the Copyright industry.

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Last modified on 22 October 2013
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