By Kashmir Hill
In recent months, Lavabit, based in Texas, and Silent Circle, based in Washington, D.C., both shuttered their encrypted email services. The companies said they couldn’t keep them running knowing they were vulnerable to surveillance if faced with a dedicated enough attacker… which for Lavabit came in the form of the federal government when it wanted access to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s Lavabit account. Now the companies are teaming up with plans to offer an open-source tool that could make peer-to-peer, end-to-end encryption an easy add-on for any email service. The challenging part: they need to get other email providers – especially the heavyweights, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft – to join them in offering the tool.