The federal government is not authorized to engage in this kind of secret spying and taking of property rights.
Levison was found in contempt of court for his actions. But now he is attempting to fight that charge and get the government’s snooping demand deemed unlawful. In the brief filed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday, Levison’s attorneys say the surveillance demand was unconstitutional and would have forced him to commit \”massive commercial fraud” on his customers and business partners “by lying to them about the security of services that were purchased because of their security.\” Levison alleges that the government tried to put him under a gag order whereby he would not have been able to inform his customers, business partners, or relevant cryptographic authorities that his encryption keys had been compromised by the government. His defiant stance contrasts with the level of compliance shown by Internet giants such as Microsoft on the issue of helping the government secretly circumvent encryption for surveillance purposes.