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.
The US Government is trying very hard to shatter any illusions that we might have about the right to privacy on the internet. They are currently in the process of going after a few of the smaller privacy oriented email services with the intent of getting user information out of them; very specific user information. Right now the current focus is on the company Lavabit who has the unfortunate distinction of having been used by Edward Snowden on multiple occasions to send email to the press and others. This distinction has gotten them into some hot water and now they are actually closing their doors in order to not comply with a government request to hand over the contents of Snowden’s email (and possibly others). This incident has sent a shiver through the small yet strong market for private email and web services.