Groklaw shutting down; Lavabit sealed the deal

It started off covering legal issues related to Open Source, notably the SCO-Linux controversies of ten years ago. Now, fearing forced exposure, and possibly in frustration at the tide of recriminations following the exposure of the NSA’s surveillance, Pamela Jones, PJ, the former paralegal founder of Groklaw, throws in the towel.

On a long, and in some ways, maudlin post, PJ announces the end of her site. She never wanted the personal exposure, or the fame. Perhaps now she finds the invisible scrutiny to hard to bear:

The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too.

There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.

What to do?

What to do? I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I’ve reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad. But it’s good to be realistic. And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how “clean” we all are ourselves from the standpont of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don’t know how to do Groklaw like this.

PJ goes on to say at the end of the post:

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. I find myself unable to write. I’ve always been a private person. That’s why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.

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.

So this is the last Groklaw article. I won’t turn on comments. Thank you for all you’ve done. I will never forget you and our work together. I hope you’ll remember me too. I’m sorry I can’t overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can’t.

You can feel the emotion of the situation for Gorklaw’s founder.

Frankly, this may be an overreaction to the situation. But, obviously, Pamela Jones is a sensitive soul and that’s that. It’s sad that someone feels this way after so many years of being at the forefront of pretty cool movement. Not sure I think the world is coming to end or that I have to worry about Big Brother but who am I to say otherwise. 

This too shall pass, I guess.