The NSA has turned the fabric of the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they are not magical. They’re limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defense is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.
Instead of complying, Lavabit shuts down. Help them out by donating to their legal defense fund.
So now who do we use for email?
For anyone not freaked out about the NSA just having metadata on every email you’ve sent and received in Gmail, make sure you take a look at this little project/experiment some MIT students put together. The graphic you see above is a diagram of who I email, how often I’ve emailed with them and how and if they are related to other people I’ve emailed with. I removed the name labels, but you can view the diagram with names as well. This is approximately 10 years of email. So yeah, just having metadata can tell someone a lot. MIT lets you delete the info. The US government does not.
BTW, something I figured out was that because I had Gmail (on the web) configured to only give access to my 1000 most recent emails via IMAP, I had to remove that limitation in order to give this project access to all of my email.