Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Tech law blog Groklaw shuts down, cites surveillance concerns

Groklaw, a blog that focuses on technology law, shut down, according to an announcement from its founder.

By Contributor / August 21, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security's logo reflected in the glasses of a cyber security analyst.

Mark J. Terrill/ AP Photo/ File


The tech legal news blog Groklaw is shutting down due to concerns over privacy, according to a statement Tuesday made by the company’s founder, Pamela Jones.

Skip to next paragraph

“The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too,” writes Ms. Jones, referencing Lavabit’s shutdown earlier this August. “There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.”

Groklaw was Jones’ first foray into blogging, according to an interview Jones gave in 2003 several months after founding the site. As the blog took off, it became an award-winning blog recognized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Bar Association. Groklaw was funded by the Free and Open-Source Software community, according to its website. Groklaw also relied heavily on user collaboration for its content, a factor that played into Jones’ decision to close the site.

“I can’t do Groklaw without your input,” writes Jones in the blog entry. “It was really a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate.”

Jones likened her frustrations with government surveillance to the time when a thief broke into her apartment, took small pieces of family jewelry, went through her underwear drawer, and then left. “I feel like that now, knowing that persons I don’t know can paw through all my thoughts and hopes and plans in my emails with you,” Jones writes to her readers.

Groklaw joins the ranks of Lavabit and Silent Circle – another encrypted e-mail service provider – as the three notable online resources whose shutdowns have garnered public attention. Lavabit owner and operator Ladar Levison did not give an exact reason for the site’s shutdown and stated in a letter announcing the site's closure that he was not allowed to by law. News that Edward Snowden was one of the e-mail provider’s clients, and Levison’s promise to appeal to the Fourth Circuit, fueled suspicion that the site closed while they fight a gag order from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court. Silent Circle followed suit to preempt any federal information requests, according to a company statement


  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!