Groklaw shuts down amid privacy fears

NEW YORK -- The website Groklaw, one of the top legal blogs, is shutting down over privacy fears after 10 years of serving lawyers and geeks alike.

The site untangled a web of complex issues about technology and the law. It is the latest site to shutdown over fear of being spied on by the National Security Agency. Two other companies shuttered encrypted email services earlier this month.

In what may be the last article published, Editor Pamela Jones said the site can't run without email, and that since emails' privacy can no longer be guaranteed, she can no longer operate the site.

"I loved doing Groklaw, and I believe we really made a significant contribution," Jones' article said, "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."

The news of Groklaw's closure was met with shock and dismay among its followers.

This is more of a personal drawing a line in the sand," said Holmes Wilson of the Internet Defense League, a loose coalition of people that aims to defend the Internet from privacy assaults.

"They weren't forced to by the government or anything," Wilson said. "It's a really vivid statement of what it means to be spied on."

Groklaw began in the spring of 2003 as the result of a patent troll lawsuit by SCO Inc. that challenged the legitimacy of the open-source Linux operating system. Groklaw grew in popularity because Jones provided comprehensive analysis and research of the legal challenges.

For the next decade, Groklaw analyzed the cases that shaped the path of free and open-source software and related issues. Operating under the motto "When you want to know more," it became a gathering point for an international crowd of people interested in technology, in legal matters, and (full disclosure) for journalists, as well.

Last year, the American Bar Association named Groklaw one of the top 100 legal blogs. Its articles and interviews were selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved in its electronic archives.

Read Jones final article here.