The technology and legal news site Groklaw is shutting down because of government spying on email. The site’s founder Pamela Jones explained that she was motivated by comments from Lavabit founder Ladar Levison who shut down his encrypted email service after receiving pressure from the United States government.
Jones took Levison’s experience to heart. “The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too,” she wrote on a final blog post on Groklaw. “There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.” Jones explained that the foundation of Groklaw is based on input from the community which largely comes from email. While she says that she is “not a political person,” she can’t live with the idea of the government going through all of her correspondence. She writes:
…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. I don’t know how to do Groklaw like this.
TechCrunch called Jones to come back, stressing the importance of free media in a democracy. Columnist Gregory Ferenstein wrote:
The British government got in enough trouble when they detained their biggest threat for 9 hours in an airport; attacking the thousands of writers who deal with sensitive government matters is just plain impossible in a democratic state.
What do you think of Jones’ decision?