LEGAL EDUCATION WEBSITE Groklaw has shut down, citing internet and email surveillance as the reason.
Groklaw turned 10 years old earlier this year. When it did so in May an editorial on its pages said that it was a fighter and would never stop fighting. However it seems the prospect of universal internet surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has become too much, and like the secure email service Lavabit before it, it announced today that it is shutting down.
A post on the Groklaw website apparently will be its last article and said that the unconscionable oppression of government email surveillance has forced it to close its doors.
"There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum. What to do? I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I've reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad. But it's good to be realistic." wrote Pamela Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw.
"And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how 'clean' we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don't know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don't know how to do Groklaw like this."
Jones said that she can't do Groklaw anymore and regrettably she is walking away from it.
"They tell us that if you send or receive an email from outside the US, it will be read. If it's encrypted, they keep it for five years, presumably in the hopes of tech advancing to be able to decrypt it against your will and without your knowledge. Groklaw has readers all over the world," she said.
"I'm not a political person, by choice, and I must say, researching the latest developments convinced me of one thing - I am right to avoid it."
The latest developments in internet surveillance include the detention of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport and even more information leaks about the NSA PRISM surveillance programme.
"There is now no shield from forced exposure. Nothing in that parenthetical thought list is terrorism-related, but no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything the least bit like that to anyone in an email, particularly from the US out or to the US in, but really anywhere. You don't expect a stranger to read your private communications to a friend. And once you know they can, what is there to say? Constricted and distracted. That's it exactly. That's how I feel," Pamela Jones added.
"So. There we are. The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can't do Groklaw without your input. I was never exaggerating about that when we won awards. It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate."
Groklaw began as a legal education blog teaching law to software technologists and technology to lawyers a decade ago and was a go-to source for straight, plainly written reporting about law and information technology. It successfully saw off Microsoft's doomed attack on Linux that used SCO as its sock puppet, and more recently it has covered the abuses of software patents. µ
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