Groklaw Shuts Down

groklawTechnology legal news site, Groklaw, has officially closed its doors today. The site has shut down due to email security issues. This is the third website to go offline because of government surveillance within the United States. The closings began with Lavabit, followed by Silent Circle, and now Groklaw.

Groklaw has this to say in response to why the site was shutting down for good:

“They tell us that if you send or receive an email from outside the U.S., it will be read…If it's encrypted, they keep it for five years, presumably in the hopes of tech advancing to be able to decrypt it against your will and without your knowledge…”

That's a pretty heavy comment considering the “they” in the above statement refers directly to the government. They are watching, and sites like Groklaw don't want users to be punished. Groklaw founder, Pamela Jones, also added this chilling comment: “there is now no shield from forced exposure.”

What Groklaw Was

Groklaw was a website that won many awards for legal news related to the open source software community. Due to the nature of the site, Groklaw writers and experts received numerous emails per day related to legal matters. Now that the NSA can tap into those emails, Groklaw has shut down.

The fact that these sites are shutting down instead of fighting the government points to one thing: there is no real fighting the government. As we've noted on this blog before, even people that do not live in the United States are susceptible to NSA surveillance if an email is sent within the U.S. or through a U.S. web hosting company.

A Major Problem

With the shuttering of Groklaw, the technology community now goes without one of the best legal resources. This is a pure shame, since Groklaw was a reliable source for many, and even won awards in the past. The NSA issues are closing tech doors that will leave lots of people without valuable resources. There's a bigger concern here too.

The three sites that have already shut down due to government surveillance might just be the beginning. Soon, you may see a widespread shut down of many major websites. Either site owner cooperate with the government (which at this point means divulging information), or those sites shut down. So far, sites are choosing to shut down.

A Paranoid State

As websites like Groklaw silently close doors, the Internet is becoming a paranoid place to be. Is the government reading your emails? Are they holding onto encrypted emails in the hopes that these codes can be cracked in the future? Is anything you do online safe?

For now, it is just the U.S. government that is under scrutiny, but, let's be honest, other governments are sure to follow suit – if they haven't, in silence, already. As of today, Groklaw is no longer operating. The world has lost a great source of knowledge in the face of fear. That's something to think about.

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