web analytics

RIP Groklaw

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, August 21st, 2013 - 28 comments
Categories: blogs, john key, law, peter dunne - Tags: , , , ,

Groklaw has been an inspirational blog for many with an interest in geekery or the law. I read it daily during the years of the SCO trial. PJ and her team were and are amazing – they had significant input into the legal case that defeated SCO, and showed us all a model of how an online community could be organised and run both rationally and effectively. Long Live Groklaw!

But now it’s over. Selections from PJ’s last post:

Forced Exposure

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. Therein lies the conundrum.

What to do?

What to do? I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I’ve reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad. But it’s good to be realistic. And the simple truth is, 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 standpont of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don’t know how to do Groklaw like this.

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.

If you have to stay on the Internet, my research indicates that the short term safety from surveillance, to the degree that is even possible, is to use a service like Kolab for email, which is located in Switzerland, and hence is under different laws than the US, laws which attempt to afford more privacy to citizens. I have now gotten for myself an email there, p.jones at mykolab.com in case anyone wishes to contact me over something really important and feels squeamish about writing to an email address on a server in the US. But both emails still work. It’s your choice.

My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it’s possible. I’m just an ordinary person. But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can’t stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible. I find myself unable to write. I’ve always been a private person. That’s why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.

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.

So this is the last Groklaw article. I won’t turn on comments. Thank you for all you’ve done. I will never forget you and our work together. I hope you’ll remember me too. I’m sorry I can’t overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can’t.

This is a tragedy. And it’s the world that the Key-Dunne spying bill is bringing ever closer to NZ.

28 comments on “RIP Groklaw ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Sheeeezus. The ending of globalisation but the rise of global empire.

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    I’d be very interested in Lprent’s take on this.

    Is Internet anonymity dead, or have the NSA revelations simply exposed a market opportunity?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Internet anonymity never existed. What you did on the internet was always tracked by the ISPs, your emails always recorded. The only difference is that people now know that it is and that governments will be looking at the data.

      What we should be asking is: What needs to be done to ensure that it’s not recorded and tracked unless a warrant exists?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1

        Yes, and until someone effectively fills the gap in the market this will have a chilling effect upon private and professional communications.

  3. Paul Campbell 4

    This is really sad – Groklaw’s done such a great job over the years starting with the SCO shenanigans to covering the various ongoing IP lawsuits – if you want to understand how US law works it’s always been a great place to go.

    PJ’s been threatened, stalked by PIs, put up with so much crap and still held firm.

    Og course it’s important to note that the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill would effectively make an encrypted email service like Lavabit impossible in NZ since they could be forced to give up their keys and to use equipment and software mandated by the GCSB.

    Maybe it’s time to buy Tuvalu before it slips under the waves and start up a datahaven on stilts just to provide the world with the privacy it deserves

    • alwyn 4.1

      Please, would someone tell me what SCO means in this context?
      It can’t be Scotland, much less the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which are what Google gives me.

      • Paul Campbell 4.1.2

        SHG has the reference – basically it was a dieing company with some funding from Microsoft tried to bring down Linux claiming bits of it were stolen from code that they didn’t actually own

        (disclaimer: a company I worked for had business dealings with a previous incarnation of SCO, we were ripped off)

  4. Tracey 5

    Judith Collins has just explained how the impact of knowing her emails and those of her department could be read by the head of the inquiry was “chilling” for her.

    Could someone ask her next week in question-time?

    Does Judith Collins have anything to hide in the inquiry into who leaked the GCSB report? If NO

    Supplementary

    What does she have to fear that made the possibility so “chilling” for her?

  5. Sable 6

    The death of free speech on the internet is really indicative of the loss of free speech in general. The internet inspired open collaboration, the exchange of ideas and above all, innovation. It mostly made peoples lives better but I agree with this writer, its over.

    As long as National, John Keys and his ugly spy laws are allowed to persist and exist we have no real freedom left in New Zealand. After its passed and it will be, I personally will be reducing my internet use to simple exchanges, it will become a blunt tool for cursory communication.

    What I’ll also add is I have no confidence in National or Labour. I still can not grasp why people vote for either or persist in thinking Labour in any real sense is still a left leaning party. They have both consistently shown they can not be trusted and yet here we are. What this means for our society, who knows. For myself I won’t be staying in NZ after 2013. Six years of this repellent monster is quite enough.

  6. Bob 7

    Wow, were the Police, NZSIS or NZ Defense force requesting their metadata? And who were they conversing with in order for the head of the GCSB and the PM to sign off for the GCSB to release their metadata? And what would have been contained within that metadata for there to been sufficient reason for a secondary warrant to release the content of their emails? Also why weren’t they worried about the SIS using their existing powers to view this obviously (if all of the above could be signed off) illegal activity?

    Were these guys using illegal means to fund this Groklaw site, or have they just started wearing tinfoil hats?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      Is this some witless tiresome rehash of Joseph Goebbel’s remark that if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear?

      Firstly, I’d like to say that I think we should treat people who advance that argument the way our parents and grandparents did: with extreme prejudice, and secondly, do you have curtains?

    • Paul Campbell 7.2

      No Groklaw has depended in the past on anonymous sources spilling the beans about nefarious dealings by the rich and powerful – they are closing because they feel that they cannot adequately protect their sources in the current government spying on everyone environment

    • lprent 7.3

      That site is no different from the way I run this site. See the privacy section of the about. This current GCSB bill and the others like here and in the States is one of the main reasons that this site is distributed offshore despite its 95% NZ readership, and partially hidden behind a screen of proxy servers.

      If our dipshit current minister of security doesn’t hesitate to illegally violate privacy laws against his own ministers, and appears to has little or no idea of the results of his lawmaking, then why should I trust this victim of hubris to not attack his political opponents on the net?

      You really are quite quite stupidly onlu thinking of the short-term… If this kind of thing happens too much, then the net will eventually be abandoned by the people who currently help make it run. Instead it will be left to the dumbarses like Key who couldn’t read their own e-mails without massive amounts of help.

  7. tracey 8

    Collins and banks obviously have stuff to hide bob.

  8. JonL 9

    Sorry, “Bob” just doesn’t get it….like so many of the other clueless dimwits out there……….

  9. infused 10

    Emails are not encrypted. Why are people getting their panties in a bunch over this now?

    • lprent 10.1

      I have (and always did) encrypt a reasonable number of mine with people I have shared keys with. It has been part of every email system in one form or another I’ve used since I was pushing mail around in uucp.

      Too sophisticated for you?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        It can be done but it’s such a PITA to do so putting it out of range of the average user and a lot of people don’t know that it can be done at all.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1.1.1

          That’s what some people call a gap in the market.

        • lprent 10.1.1.2

          …putting it out of range of the average user…

          Oh I agree. But for some reason some people I have been working for/with don’t like shipping code and keys over unencrypted systems subject to man-in-the-middle access. e-Mail was a convenient way to wrap encrypted blocks. But it was a bit irritating for anything large. PGP helped a lot.

          For quite a while I used VPN’s because microsoft supported them on windows servers. But they’re quirky and the way that microsoft charges for connections is ridiculous.

          These days I’m on linux almost exclusively except when I’m testing code for windows, osx, and android. So I mostly use openssh. Works well for everything except windows where putty+pageant or even the ported openssh suck to work with.

          But generally a public/private key system with a reasonable bit size is pretty good if you can protect the keys,

  10. jamiep 11

    You will be like I am here, where even though I have VPN on and will turn on technical support from kapersky, I still know someones on my computer and you know when they come on because you have typed in a few key words like China that has alerted them to spy on you and when you try to open some panels they won’t open because they don’t want you to know that it isn’t the internet connection that your suppose to be on but an unknown public.
    I am not the greatest getting around a computer but that’s what is like around here and routinely most days they will scan your computer so you need to change your VPN to another country (different IP address). I don’t have anything to hide, this is your future NZ welcome to it. Sleeping Dogs

  11. Rather stupid abandoning the internet because it’s now common knowledge that there is no internet privacy unless you keep ahead of the spies.
    Sort of devalues the sacrifice of the whistleblowers to inform us so we can keep ahead.
    I don’t hear anyone saying we should stop demonstrating in public.
    There are some rights to die for.
    So keep ahead of the spies, and spread disinformation when necessary.
    The Bolsheviks had Tsarist spies sitting on their central committee. Since they were there they were put to work.
    When the Bolsheviks set the date for the insurrection, three members of the central committee published the date in Pravda.
    It didnt matter since the Bolsheviks had already won over the ranks of the army.

    • Murray Olsen 12.1

      The Canadian Communist Party always knew who the spies were, because they were the only ones who always paid their subs on time.

      I like to remember that if they’re not watching us, they have nothing to fear. And they should be in fear of the day that we bring their fake, exploitative, planet destroying world down around their ears. As red rattler says, we have to adapt, we have to learn, and we have to keep fighting. Running for the hills is not an option.

  12. Bladelores 13

    @ redrattler yep we shouldn’t stop using the net we just need to boot the government off and reclaim it back. Electronic Bill of Rights needed as quickly as possible. In regards to no one saying you cannot demonstrate in public – The Beginning = http://www.lawsociety.org.nz/lawtalk/issue-817/sop-sinks-mining-protesters-
    So everyone needs to take off their wet toweling hats, wipe your tears away and start working on how we will change this situation, we have all been forced into, no matter how ignorantly, all of us have been forced into. There is a huge amount of people unhappy about this.
    And just heard about Shearer as I am typing, what is Labour upto? Finally an issue that you could have used to get into power but no, show how unstable you all are. Nice.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago