Groklaw’s founder, Pamela Jones, has decided to pull the plug on the website, citing surveillance conerns in the wake of the NSA spying revelations.
Jones explained her reasoning in final Groklaw post, opening: “The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too. There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.”
Lavabit was a secure email service which is thought to have been used by Edward Snowden . Its CEO shut Lavabit down after pressure from the US government rather than continue to run a compromised service.
“The conclusion I’ve reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad,” Jones wrote. “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 standpont of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don’t know how to do Groklaw like this.”
Groklaw has been an important community for law and in particular, the close intersection of technology and law.
It sometimes used anonymous tip-offs. Because the United States stores emails sent from outside the country – with encrypted emails stored for five years, Jones writes – readers from around the world could become compromised or exposed.
Jones said she plans to “get off of the internet to the degree it’s possible”, and that after thinking the situation through, she “can’t stay online personally” not that privacy is being proved impossible.
“I find myself unable to write,” Jones said. “I’ve always been a private person. That’s why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.”
“Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world’s economy would collapse, I suppose. I can’t really hope for that. But for me, the internet is over.”
In a tweet, Privacy International said: “The mere threat of surveillance is enough to self-censor”.