This is How Free Speech Dies

“The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can’t do Groklaw without your input”, Pamela Jones writes today. “It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate”.

She responds to recent revelations that the U.S. government reads your email: “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”.

Lavabit shut down after 10 years, presumably—and the owners can’t say much because of government gag orders—because the Feds demand access to encrypted email.

“They tell us that if you send or receive an email from outside the U.S., it will be read”, Jones writes. “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. Groklaw has readers all over the world”.

The clincher: “There is now no shield from forced exposure…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”.

Groklaw is a hugely valuable resource, one I have used for years. PJ so often cuts through rhetoric and politics and gets to the law.

Her silence will be heard!

If you read nothing else today, Jones’ 2,200-word essay should be it.

I wonder how many more of us will simply abandon the Internet. The irony: If people leave the Internet, pass pieces of paper along privately to communicate and secretly meet face to face rather than cam to cam or by online chat services, will some government spy wonder why and treat them as suspected terrorists? Think about it.

Photo Credit: Linus Bohman