Lavabit, the encrypted email service provider once used by Snowden, has announced it will reopen its doors after a three-year hiatus during which it developed new email technology.

Lavabit owner, Ladar Levison, teased the service on January 1, and made the official announcement yesterday, choosing President Donald Trump's inauguration day to make the comeback official.

The service is not yet up and running, but old users can reactivate their previous accounts, while new users can pre-register a new one. Levison says the service will most likely roll out in full over the weekend.

Lavabit shut down in 2013 to protect customer accounts

Lavabit's story starts in 2008 when the service launched to provide easy encrypted email to anyone that wanted more privacy for their online communications.

The service came to an abrupt end in August 2013, when Levison deleted the site's SSL key, making the service inaccessible to all users, but most importantly to NSA agents.

Levison took the step to shut down his own company so he wouldn't have to give the SSL key to the NSA, who came knocking with a court order, attempting to access Eduard Snowden's email account.

Levison said the SSL key would have granted access to any Lavabit account, not just Snowden's, so he decided to delete it and keep his clients' emails intact. When it shut down, Lavabit had around 400,000 users.

Lavabit developers create new technology: DIME and Magma

In an announcement posted yesterday on Lavabit's homepage, Levison reveals two new technologies that he and his employees developed using funds gathered through a Kickstarter campaign.

Lavabit's new tech includes DIME and Magma. DIME stands for Dark Internet Mail Environment and is an automated, federated,  end-to-end encryption standard designed to work with different service providers while minimizing the leakage of metadata.

Second, Magma is a revolutionary email server designed to work with DIME. Levison says Magma is open source and will be available to anyone looking to run a safer mail server.

"Anyone with a domain can deploy Magma or implement their own encrypted DIME compatible server," Levison says. "These are just the first steps of many as our implicit goals are to build the graphical clients for Windows, Mac OS X/iOS, and Linux/Android and help others implement this new technology."

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