In a surprise announcement, that came as a blow to her many followers, Pamela Jones, founder of the legal analysis site broke the news that she has shut Groklaw because there is no way to continue it given the threat of NSA surveillance of email sent to the site.
Groklaw, was started in 2003 by Jones, a US paralegal who set it up initially because she wanted to learn how to blog and quickly came to prominence by covering the SCO v IBM lawsuit, explaining the legal intricacies to people not in the legal field. Posting as pj she has provided a commentary on the succession of court actions and patent battles between technology companies, including last year's epic Oracle v Google and most recently MS v Motorola and Apple v Samsung.
While pj wrote many of the posts on the site she relied on many other people in a "collaborative effort" and her decision to close the site is because "there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate".
The final post, timestamped 02:40 AM EDT on August 20, has the title Forced Exposure and opens with:
The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too.
This refers to the closure, or at least the suspension of operations, earlier this month of the encrypted email service used, among others by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, in order to avoid having to comply with an NSA order - something that its founder, Ladar Levis considered would make his site "complicit in crimes against the American people."
Jones explains that the reason she can't continue is because:
"no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything ... to anyone in an email, particularly from the US out or to the US in, but really anywhere"
My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it's possible. I'm just an ordinary person. But I really know, 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.
and later notes:
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.
Groklaw will be missed and how many other will follow its example and close rather than face the threat of having private conversations open to government surveillance?