Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 03, 2016, 08:02:20 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state  (Read 3473 times)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
This is probably the most disturbing bit of news to date. Groklaw, long-time champion of online freedoms and laws which respect liberty and The Constitution is saying it can't continue under the present state of affairs. Pamela Jones issued this statement today.

It's been covered by several prominent websites such as Popehat

Quote
Faced With The Security State, Groklaw Opts Out
Aug 20, 2013
By Ken White.
Politics & Current Events   


For ten years Pamela Jones has run Groklaw, a site collecting, discussing, and explaining legal developments of interest to the open-source software community. Her efforts have, justifiably, won many awards.

She's done now.

Running a blog long-term can be exhausting, irritating, and sometimes discouraging. Creative efforts have arcs, with a beginning and an end. If Jones were closing up shop because she's had enough and has accomplished what she set out to do, I would be sorry to see her go, but it would be the kind of sorry you feel when you finish a good book.

That's not why she's stopping.

Pamela Jones is ending Groklaw because she can't trust her government. She's ending it because, in the post-9/11 era, there's no viable and reliable way to assure that our email won't be read by the state — because she can't confidently communicate privately with her readers and tipsters and subjects and friends and family.

    "I hope that makes it clear why I can't continue. 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 US out or to the US 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."


In making this choice, Jones echoes the words of Lavar Levison, who shut down his encrypted email service Lavabit. Levison said he was doing so rather than "become complicit in crimes against the American people"

<more>

and Techdirt.

Quote
More NSA Spying Fallout: Groklaw Shutting Down
from the the-pain-of-being-watched dept



A few months ago, after the NSA spying stories first broke, we wrote about a bit from This American Life where the host, Ira Glass, was interviewing lawyers for prisoners detained at Guantanamo, about the impact of knowing that the government was listening in on every single phone call you made. The responses were chilling. The people talked about how it stopped them from being emotional with their children or other close friends and relatives. How they had trouble functioning in ways that many people take for granted, just because the mental stress of knowing that you have absolutely no privacy is incredibly burdensome. PJ, the dynamo behind Groklaw, has written a powerful piece explaining the similar feeling she's getting from all the revelations about government surveillance, in particularly the shutting down of Lavabit by Ladar Levison, and his suggestion that if people knew what he knew about email, they wouldn't use it.

Because of this, she's shutting down Groklaw.

You really need to read the entire piece, but it clearly lays out the sort of mental anguish that you get with the realization that what you thought was private and personal, might not be any more. She compares it to the feeling of having her apartment robbed, and the creepy feeling you get that some stranger was riffing through all of your personal belongings. And, from there, she riffs on the importance of privacy and intimacy, and how the totalitarian state takes those things away, quoting a powerful passage from Janna Malamud Smith's book Private Matters. You should go read the full quotes, but it notes the psychological impact of not having privacy.

And that's how PJ feels right now. The fact that the NSA is collecting all emails in or out of the US, as well as all encrypted messages, means that it's impossible to have that privacy and intimacy that she feels is necessary to run the site:

    "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 US out or to the US 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.

    I'm really sorry that it's so. I loved doing Groklaw, and I believe we really made a significant contribution. But even that turns out to be less than we thought, or less than I hoped for, anyway. My hope was always to show you that there is beauty and safety in the rule of law, that civilization actually depends on it. How quaint."


<more>


mour.jpg

This is indeed a day of national mourning. :(
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 12:04:19 PM by 40hz »

xtabber

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 572
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 12:52:46 PM »
Not to worry!

We have it on the authority of Katarina Witt that there is a big difference between East German Stasi and United States' NSA program.

Of course, she also goes on to say that "people are naïve if they don't think storage of their email, telephone and other electronic records doesn't make them vulnerable."

In their wildest dreams, the Stasi couldn't have imagined the technological capabilities of the NSA, but alas, our elected leaders don't seem to have learned anything at all from the example of East Germany (or North Korea, for that matter).



Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 08:04:43 PM »
This is probably the most disturbing bit of news to date.

...

This is indeed a day of national mourning. :(

The world just became a lot shittier. :'(

This is a catastrophe. The cracks are showing - Lavabit - Silent Circle - Groklaw - and god knows how many people have just kept their mouths shut anyways.

I am thankful that Glen Grenwald has doubled his resolve to speak out. We need that. Speech sometimes is not just a right, but also a duty.

In light of how the psychopaths in power have spoken out against tolerating freedom of speech ( https://duckduckgo.c...gers+first+amendment ), it's understandable why some people wouldn't want to go to prison.

I certainly can't blame anyone for that.

However, I can certainly applaud people like Glen Grenwald and Chief Mark Kessler for saying things that aren't popular with some and having the courage to stand up for what in a few years may well become "forgotten rights".
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 09:01:43 PM »
This is doubly sad, because in a way, it's exactly what a totalitarian government would want.  You want free speech?  Fine, as long as we can listen in.  Oh, you're not talking then?  Good, we won't have to make the effort to tell you to shut up.

Bad bad bad bad bad...

TaoPhoenix

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2011
  • **
  • Posts: 4,550
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 10:22:10 PM »

Right, and part of the pain of it all is it "doesn't accomplish anything" - it's a "removal action", which makes us all sad, but doesn't have an earthquaking effect that would be necessary to have a hope of change. So it's like a sick game show "which service will be next", and one by one we'll be sad, and minus a bunch of stuff, and ... then?

Were it not that they were helping, it would be like "Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook all decided that they would cease operations until the spying stopped".


Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 12:21:43 AM »
So it's like a sick game show "which service will be next", and one by one we'll be sad, and minus a bunch of stuff, and ... then?

The come for YOU. But there's nobody left to stand up...

This is going to end in bloodshed. One way or another.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Vurbal

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 635
  • Mostly harmless
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 01:07:30 AM »
In light of how the psychopaths in power have spoken out against tolerating freedom of speech ( https://duckduckgo.c...gers+first+amendment ), it's understandable why some people wouldn't want to go to prison.

My response to that (which also happens to reflect the last 40 years or more of Supreme Court precedent) is that bloggers aren't just covered by the First Amendment. They're the reason it exists.

The misconception that "the press" as referenced in the First Amendment refers to an elite brotherhood of so-called journalists and the media conglomerates they represent is a fiction invented whole cloth by those same people and foisted on the public as part of a legal defense strategy when the Pentagon Papers were published.

In fact those 2 words refer to nothing more or less than a printing press which merely represents the act of publication and promotion. The Press as the term is used today didn't exist when the Constitution was written. Newspaper publishing was nothing more than a side business run by the only people who happened to have printing presses. The first real newspaper in the colonies was a combination of letters that had made their way from Britain informing people of "current" events and a variety of essays - most by a teenage Benjamin Franklin.

In fact if I were to pick out a modern equivalent of that paper (or Franklin's entire career in the newspaper business) it would probably be Popehat. OTOH he was nowhere near as transparent as Ken White and the gang. Franklin had a razor sharp wit that he regularly used to ridicule Boston's public figures and ruling class until eventually his brother James, the actual owner of the shop and paper, forbid him from including his own contributions. After that he simply produced letters attributed to fictional people and even pitted them against each other to illustrate whatever point he was trying to make.

During the lead up to the revolution the British government tried to crack down on newspapers, not because they were full of journalistic exposes, but because they were filled with letters from ordinary people complaining about the government. Those complaints spread as far and wide, from city to city and even the most remote rural regions. Full aware they couldn't reach the source of the letters the British government attempted to use printing contracts as leverage to censor the printers. Government printing jobs were by far the most significant source of income for most printers by that time.

To whatever extent The Press refers to businesses or organizations it would be nothing more than ordinary printers who were being strong armed by government officials. To whatever extent we might feel the need to equate modern institutions to colonial newspapers the most accurate analog would be bloggers who speak out on matters of public interest and discussion forums like this one. Hell, 4chan has more in common with them than the New York Times or Washington Post.

It actually makes me angry every time I hear about some new "journalist shield law" or any other special rules for that particular group of special little snowflakes. Granting a small group of individuals more rights than the rest of us on the basis of their profession is blatantly unconstitutional and frankly offensive. If the editors of the Washington Post were really the public servants they claim to be they wouldn't have caved in to White House demands not to publish statements from an NSA official last week. If their goal was to hold the government accountable the complete, unedited transcript would have been on the front page of the paper, the front page of their website and in 4 foot tall letters on the side of their office building, probably with a giant middle finger on each side of it.

The fourth estate my ass!
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
Before they beat me bloody down at the station
They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr

It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 01:23:41 AM »
THIS.gif

And...

Granting a small group of individuals more rights than the rest of us on the basis of their profession is blatantly unconstitutional and frankly offensive.

THANK YOU! Yes. THAT! Exactly that.

"Some animals are more equal than others."

George wrote more than 1 book, and we're seeing history being replayed in more ways than 1.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,136
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 09:37:33 AM »
Yes.
Things to look forwards to:
Self-imposed shutdown of high-privacy/security emailing services = Passive response, self-imposed suppression/censorship by default.
Impotence and capitulation in the face of progressive and incremental grinding down of Liberty by Totalitarianism.
... Snookered.

Things to ask ourselves:
How did we let this happen?
Were we asleep?
When did it start?
What does it mean for our futures?
What, if anything, can we do about it?
Should we just accept it?

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 10:53:53 AM »
^I think in Groklaw's case it's more a matter of their not being able to protect their sources under a journalist's shield and their inability to guarantee private communication channels that are the deciding factors. Which is not the same thing as capitulation or self-censorship.

 Rather than set an unwitting leaker or correspondent up should they be served with some secret court order they're neither allowed to challenge or talk about, they've called it for what it is. And they've (correctly IMO) decided that any further attempt to operate under the current system makes you a part of the problem. And there's no getting around it. That took serious guts. Unlike Microsoft, Google et al who are wringing their hands and claiming they're doing their best to fight it while still "cooperating" at every level.

The computer Joshua was right: An interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.  :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 12:00:03 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 11:27:52 AM »
When did it start?

A very, very long time ago. This is just one small battle in the war against humanity.

The computer Joshua was right: An interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.  :Thmbsup:

I've said that a few times here - don't play the game. Withdraw as much of your support for the system as possible. etc. etc. etc.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Groklaw shutting down because of our new US survelliance state
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 12:09:40 PM »
When did it start?

A very, very long time ago. This is just one small battle in the war against humanity.


I'm at the point where I'd almost welcome climbing into one of Kyrathaba's immersion pods. I sense many tentacles around us.  ;) ;D
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 12:52:09 PM by 40hz »