First it was Lavabit, then Silent Mail and now an award-winning website has decided to close down — at least for now — due to issues associated with government surveillance.
In a blog post expressing her “incredibly sad” decision to shutter Groklaw — a website covering legal news pertaining to free and open source software — founder Pamela Jones, who started the site a decade ago, wrote “there is no way to continue.”
Given what she feels is an insecurity of her emails, Jones said Groklaw cannot continue as there is no way for it to go forward without what she considers private email expectations. Jones, who is well-known as PJ, explained that the site was so successful because it was put together with user input, which she feels she can no longer gain because ” there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate.”
“[…] 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 standpoint of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere,” Jones continued.
She compared the NSA’s programs, which former government contractor Edward Snowden disclosed to the media, to someone robbing one’s home:
Years ago, when I was first on my own, I arrived in New York City, and being naive about the ways of evil doers in big cities, I rented a cheap apartment on the top floor of a six-floor walkup, in the back of the building. That of course, as all seasoned New Yorkers could have told me, meant that a burglar could climb the fire escape or get to the roof by going to the top floor via the stairs inside and then through the door to the roof and climb down to the open window of my apartment.
That is exactly what happened. I wasn’t there when it happened, so I wasn’t hurt in any way physically. And I didn’t then own much of any worth, so only a few things were taken. But everything had been pawed through and thrown about. I can’t tell how deeply disturbing it is to know that someone, some stranger, has gone through and touched all your underwear, looked at all your photographs of your family, and taken some small piece of jewelry that’s been in your family for generations.
If it’s ever happened to you, you know I couldn’t live there any more, not one night more.
This is how Jones said she feels about email now, “knowing that persons I don’t know can paw through all my thoughts and hopes and plans in my emails with you.”
“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?” Jones continued in her post.
In addition to suspending her site for now, Jones got a new email address from a provider located in Switzerland, which is not subject to U.S. laws, and said she plans to “get off of the Internet to the degree it’s possible.”
“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,” she wrote.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.
This story has been updated to correct that Silent Mail has been discontinued for now, not Silent Circle.
(H/T: Tech Dirt)