Open source community in shock as Groklaw closes because of concerns over email and Internet privacy
Groklaw, the blog that covered patent law and tech-related news, is to close down over fears of email interception by the US government.
The site’s creator Pamela Jones said Groklaw relied on email to work as a collaborative effort, but that had now been ruined thanks to excessive surveillance of communications by global governments, as highlighted by leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Jones said there is now “no shield from forced exposure”, and that “ensuring privacy online is impossible”.
Her comments came after both Lavabit and Silent Circle shut down their respective secure email services. Snowden was believed to have used Lavabit.
Groklaw founder gives up Internet
“Persons I don’t know can paw through all my thoughts and hopes and plans in my emails with you,” Jones wrote today.
“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.
“After all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can’t stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible.
“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.”
Groklaw became massively popular amongst free software and open source communities, thanks to its focus on patent cases involving tech companies. Jones was credited for her work on the controversies surrounding the SCO Group’s claims around ownership of code in the Linux operating system.
Since launching in 2003, the site has won numerous awards, including one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 2010 Pioneer Awards.
Are you a pedant on privacy issues? Try our quiz!