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Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet 986

An anonymous reader was the first to write with news that Groklaw is shutting down: "There is now no shield from forced exposure. Nothing in that parenthetical thought list is terrorism-related, but no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything the least bit like that to anyone in an email, particularly from the U.S. out or to the U.S. in, but really anywhere. 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. So. There we are. The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can't do Groklaw without your input. I was never exaggerating about that when we won awards. It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate." Why it's a big deal.
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Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet

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  • Re:It was a myth (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:33AM (#44616659)

    As someone from Western Europe I've got to say that you're so far up a gum tree you can see the curvature of the Earth. The kind of democracy espoused by the US was rare outside of the US and France for a long time after the country was founded.

    Unfortunately democracy, the political system, is not in itself an assurance of good governance.

  • PGP? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:37AM (#44616701)

    If technocrats at Groklaw cannot use PGP than who is PGP for?

  • by hebertrich ( 472331 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:39AM (#44616727)

    It was THE most important legal website on the internet covering SCO , Apple/Samsung Microsoft/Novell etc etc
    The level of analysis and documenta on the site made it a unique tool and place to get information on litigation between the tech giants.
    This is where we followed the SCO owns Linux war against Novell et al . This is a terrible loss for all because the truth and documents was out there and we all participated and learned from it. It is a terrible loss for who are curious about their world and the workings of the legal system.
    I am in shock. I went there and spent thousands of hours on the site. I learned and owe the Lady in a Red Dress one hell of a lot.
    Thanks PJ . Forever in your debt.

  • by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:48AM (#44616823) Homepage

    I feel PJ is making an important statement, more convincing than anything I've seen yet.

    I don't find it convincing, particularly this bit: "there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate". Of course there is. Setup a forum on Tor, Freenet or some other darknet and collaborate there, then publish the results on the open web. Groklaw has a very technical demographics, almost anyone interested will know how to participate.

  • by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:48AM (#44616827)


    Game, set, and match.

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:03AM (#44617005)
    You estimate of Tor's privacy is higher than mine [], and, evidently, PJ's.
  • Hint to secure email (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tovok7 ( 948510 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:19AM (#44617227) Homepage
    A sad day for the entire IT world indeed :( It’s interesting that PJ is recommending [] as a way to have secure emails:

    If you have to stay on the Internet, my research indicates that the short term safety from surveillance, to the degree that is even possible, is to use a service like Kolab for email, which is located in Switzerland, and hence is under different laws than the US, laws which attempt to afford more privacy to citizens. I have now gotten for myself an email there, p.jones at in case anyone wishes to contact me over something really important and feels squeamish about writing to an email address on a server in the US.

  • Re:It was a myth (Score:4, Informative)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:20AM (#44617235)

    It was a myth, a good PR. The truth is probably the USA were never more, or less, democratic and free than most of western europe state.

    Today, Western Europe is about as democratic as the US because within living memory various countries had actual fascist governments overthrown by war or social change, and communist governments removed or communist movements thwarted either by war or social change. Collectively all of Europe is far freer today than it was 70 years ago. The US and UK have been free and democratic the whole time, now Western (and most of Eastern) Europe has joined them. Even formerly Soviet Russia is now freer even if there are some troubling trends. (And there is a country that is an exception []. And there is an ugly trend [] that should be a relic of the past - will that curse never leave? )

    So no, it isn't just PR. This is all subject to change if people forget or act unwisely.

  • Re:It was a myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:24AM (#44617293) Homepage Journal

    I was talking specifically about online btw - you only really see Americans acting like their country is the best, or that it used to be - or "should be" - the best for some reason.

    There's a big difference between "nationalist pride", and thinking your country is "the best". Scotland never wins any sports tournaments, and doesn't really have much of an appeal to those from other English speaking countries, outside of being a nice place for a holiday. Most Scots folk aren't really under any illusion as to what the rest of the world thinks of Scotland.

    I don't really hold that much store in nationalist pride anyway, it sounds far too much like being patriotic, which is just brainwashing at its finest.

  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:34AM (#44617441) Journal

    the entire thing is archived in the library of congress. No, seriously. It was some award/recognition for the site. Thios move will hopefully also be archived so historians know where to look

  • Madison quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by plaut ( 42347 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:35AM (#44617463)

    "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
                    -- James Madison (4th US President)

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:56AM (#44617707)

    Welcome to 2013, the terrerists are still winning without having to lift a finger.

    "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in -- and the West in general -- into an unbearable hell and a choking life."
        -- Osama bin Laden, Al-Jazeera interview, (21 October 2001) []

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:58AM (#44617737) Homepage

    While I respect PJ and all she has done to bring light on the many legal issues of interest to /. and other internet users, I do not understand this decision. She seems to be implying that she fears that one day, maybe, she'll be forced to turn over a private e-mail, perhaps even an encrypted one and links that to the current NSA revelations. But that is a red herring - Groklaw has always been subject to subpoena for documents related to a criminal or even civil litigation. And anyone sending information to PJ knows the inherent security risks - PJ has no obligation to provide complete security, something that is impossible or at least nearly so. To the extent that PJ feels the current environment will discourage sources of information or her consultations with associaties, as others have pointed out, use strong encryption. Doing so will eliminate much of the creeped out feel she says she has about the possibility of emails to/from her being read by the government(s).

    I don't know but I just feel a bit like PJ is being a drama queen on this one. Yes, there are concerns and nobody should be happy about the wholesale spying that is going on. But shutting down is going a bit over the deep end and I think sends the wrong message.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:20AM (#44618011)


  • Re:It was a myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:23AM (#44618053)

    We are! We are THE BEST in overall prison population. USA USA!

    Funny shit. I'm old enough to remember an age when the USA was better than the USSR because the USSR, (being a totalitarian communist dictatorship), had more people, per capita, in prisons, than we did. They taught us this in schools less than 30 years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:38AM (#44618281)

    There are actually people who attempt to measure this in an objective way. The results are interesting.

    It is perhaps coincidental that freedom indexes seem to track roughly with other prosperity indexes as far as the US is concerned, in that a couple of decades ago you could pretty much assume the US was right at the tip-top, but that ain't so true anymore.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken