updated 01:58 pm EDT, Tue August 20, 2013
Legal blog shuts down due to lack of privacy in e-mail
Legal blog Groklaw has shut down, citing the potential monitoring of e-mail by the NSA and other government organizations. The closure by founder Pamela Jones makes Groklaw the latest site to close its doors in the wake of the ongoing domestic surveillance scandal, following behind encrypted e-mail service provider Silent Circle and Lavabit.
The post by Jones talks about the fears of having e-mail messages sent from or to overseas being intercepted and read, with encrypted messages being kept for five years "presumably in the hopes of tech advancing to be able to decrypt it against your will and without your knowledge." Mentioning the large number of international users and the lack of privacy from such measures, Jones believes that the site cannot continue. "So. There we are. The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can't do Groklaw without your input," states Jones, advising "It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate."
Jones gives the example of her apartment being robbed, and the unsettling feeling of having someone unknown rifling through her possessions. "I feel like that now, knowing that persons I don't know can paw through all my thoughts and hopes and plans in my e-mails with you." Jones has switched e-mail providers to one located in Switzerland, a country said to have laws that "attempt to afford more privacy to citizens," and intends to "get off of the Internet to the degree it's possible."
Earlier this month, encrypted e-mail provider Lavabit closed after receiving pressure from the US Federal government over NSA leaker Edward Snowden's use of the service. Founder Ladar Levison advised that he could not legally share the details and reasons for its closure, but that he would fight to regain the freedom to speak out about the experience. Levison advises "I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."
Jones writes "The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using e-mail and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too. There is no way to do Groklaw without e-mail. Therein lies the conundrum."