Pamela Jones founded GrokLaw in 2003, and for the last ten years it has provided invaluable analysis on legal issues concerning intellectual property, the DMCA, open source software, and digital privacy. The site has won countless awards from The EFF, Google, The FSF, and was selected by the US Library of Congress for inclusion in its internet materials collection.
Last week, the creator of Lavabit, an encrypted email service, shut down the mail service without warning, implying that he had received requests from the US government which would have forced him to become complicit in crimes against the American People. We don’t know what actually happened, because he can’t tell us:
There’s information that I can’t even share with my lawyer, let alone with the American public.
A few days later, Phil Zimmerman’s crypto communications company shut down their secure email service. And today, Pamela Jones has announced that she’s shutting down Groklaw:
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. What to do?
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. 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 is a collaboration, existing only because so many people have come together to shed light on what’s happening in the courts. Without the ability to confidentially discuss legal issues with experts, plaintiffs, lawyers and journalists, Groklaw can’t exist.
And so now, it doesn’t.
- The Grinch Who Stole Linux (November 7, 2003)
- J’accuse! French bus service Transports Schiocchet Excursions is suing a group of ten women who carpool to work every day, alleging unfair competition with their bus line. (July 12, 2005)
- Economics of death – How should right and wrong be measured? (July 14, 2005)
- I fought the linux, and the linux won… SCO got a delisting notice from Nasdaq (April 28, 2007)
- Rock and Rule – Virgin v. Thomas, the first RIAA backed lawsuit to make it to a jury trial looks likely to proceed early in October in Duluth Mn. (September 28, 2007)
- The software patent cold war is getting less cold – Sun Microsystems announced a counter suit against Network Appliance, wherein they will draw on their “defensive portfolio” which is “one of the largest patent arsenals on the internet”. (October 26, 2007)
- Monopoly is as monopoly does – Why Is Microsoft Seeking New State Laws That Allow it to Sue Competitors For Piracy by Overseas Suppliers? (March 24, 2011)
- Battle at Troll Bridge – Apple has adopted new tactics in its patent war against the handheld industry (December 11, 2011)
- Aaron Swartz’ 14,500 page Secret Service file – The U.S. Secret Service has begun releasing their roughly 14,500 pages on Aaron Swartz in response to a FOIA lawsuit against the DHS by Kevin Poulsen (August 14, 2013)