I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on—the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.
Ladar Levison, Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC, in an open letter to users.
Background: Lavabit is an encrypted email service that was reportedly used by Edward Snowden, among 350,000 other customers. The Guardian reports that the closure occurred after the company rejected “a court order for cooperation with the US government to participate in surveillance on its customers.
Related: Lavabit isn’t alone. Silent Circle, a company that creates encrypted communication applications for text, phone and video, is preemptively shutting down its email service. In a notice to its customers, the company writes:
Silent Mail has similar security guarantees to other secure email systems, and with full disclosure, we thought it would be valuable.
However, we have reconsidered this position. We’ve been thinking about this for some time, whether it was a good idea at all. Today, another secure email provider, Lavabit, shut down their system lest they “be complicit in crimes against the American people.” 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.
Welcome to surveillance.
So sad. Big Brother isn’t a far off idea. It’s been a pervasive infiltration and quiet pattern of acceptance by various government agencies, gaining support through heavy handed public peer pressuring of “what do you have to hide” and “it’s for America’s safety.” My only question is whether there will ever be a healthy balance of power, or just be a sad struggle and defeat cycle like this until the freedom is eroded.
Worry about drones, about lawyers for the president arguing they can kill Americans anywhere and for basically any reason, worry about all of that and everything else besides…but real change comes in small doses, and actual kindness happens within reach of your arm. Want to help the workers? The economy? The whole country? Tip your server, don’t be a jackass about it, and worry about the rest of the world after you do what is right within reach of your arm. Maybe, if you’re really interested in helping your community, work towards establishing higher wages for the people who bring you food when you go out to eat; there are thousands of them right where you live. First things first; if you shaft the person making slave wages who feeds you and then go home to whine on Facebook about the poor, poor people from somewhere else, you’re as much a part of the problem as the people in Washington dropping bombs and deploying drones.
I worked in the service industry, and I live in Vegas, the tip-demanding capital of the free world. I tip 20% if the service is good. Not even great.
But do not for one second have this type of job then gripe about tips. If you’re constantly being “shorted” and feeling put upon, perhaps you need to rethink your attitude. Your approach to your job. Your CHOICE of job. At some point it’s you, not them. Because god forbid I slight the jerky server or the valet who took 20 minutes to get my car. I guarantee these mediocre employees would not attribute a lesser amount to their shortcomings but assume the worst about me.
Tipping can and should be a part of the cost of eating out at a restaurant. It ALSO should reflect, accurately, the service received. Otherwise it should just be included in the bill and workers paid appropriately-adjusted wages.
Tipping a server won’t change the world, and this article is an absurd rant without merit. Folks working in service jobs for tips are not voting or donating to charity or volunteering time as much as other service workers who don’t work for tips. No one has studied why, but perhaps it’s because they tend not to value time and effort in the same way. And why should they? 6 hour shifts instead of 8, about 10% of most checks going right into their pocket, all to be a middle man with a smile. Do the math that was laid out in the article- servers are making far above poverty-line wages with no dangerous conditions, no inclement weather, nothing to worry about but giving people what they pay for.
Seems like a pretty sweet gig, and the public whining just makes the industry look like a bunch of whiny people who’ve never had to do hard labor. Makes people who have worked in the industry then moved on glad they did, even if it means working more hours for less money. At least we know we are earning it.