Patrick Durusau: Groklaw Goes Dark

By Patrick Durusau. Cross posted from Another Word for It

Just in case you missed it, Groklaw has gone dark.

In Forced Exposure, Pamela Jones outlines why Groklaw cannot continue when all email is subject to constant monitoring by the government.

From the post:

I hope that makes it clear why I can’t continue. 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.

I won’t say that I always agreed with Groklaw but I am sad to see it go.

While I respect Pamela’s judgement to go offline, I won’t be following her nor should you.

What revolution ever started and continued without innocent victims?

Would the march from Montgomery to Selma been the same if the police issued misdemeanor summons?

We know the use of Bull Connor‘s police dogs:


and fire hoses:


during the Children’s Crusade, lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The sacrifices of many nameless (to television viewers) victims gave the civil rights movement its moral impetus.

How could others turn away after watching victims simply accepting abuse?

The same will be true for the current police state. The longer it exists the more mistakes it will make and the more victims it will accumulate.

Innocent people going to be harassed, innocent people are going to lose their jobs, innocent people are going to die.

Without innocent victims, there will be no moral impetus to dismantle Obama‘s police state.

Ask yourself, would you have been on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with the marchers, or on the other side?


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  1. from Mexico

    CNN had an interview of an Egyptian activist by the name of Mona Eltahawy. And I must say, this is my kinda gal.
    Speaking to the issue of “people being scared,” she says that it

    saddens me deeply and I’d love to see more people break the curfew out of principle and civil disobedience because I think the regime and the military are using that fear to get people to give up civil liberties for this illusion of security. And in the United Statees we know very well what that means.

    And speaking of Morsy vs. the military dictarorship, she said

    I’m glad Morsy is gone because he turned into an authoritarian and our revolution was never about an Islamist state led by the Mulim Brotherhood. But our revolution was also not about military rule…, and if General Sisi thinks that we will allow a military junta to return, then he’s got another thing coming…. And this binary of military rule vs. Muslim Brotherhood makes all of Egypt lose.

    This binary between military rule vs. Muslim Brotherhood sounds eerily similar to the binary we have in the United States between Republicans vs. Democrats. That binary, just as in Egypt, makes all of the Untied States lose.

  2. HS_00

    “What revolution ever started and continued without innocent victims?”

    I’ll let you in on a little secret: The revolution is over and we lost huge. Since the civil rights era, the American public has been dumbed down to the point that they are no longer capable of critical thinking. The only unrest that the US will experience will be if their teevees go dark or their bloated bellies go empty.

    1. tim s

      What revolution? Don’t mistake talk of one for one itself. The actual revolutionary impulse comes from feeling that there is nothing left to lose in the face of horror and disgust, and at that point there is no longer enough fear to quell the impulse.

      As we lose more and more every day, the future generations will grow up being used to none of the chains that bind the bulk of us in our inaction. They will be the ones with the spark.

      It drives me nuts to no end when people take the current state of things as the final state of things.

    2. Joe Rebholz

      “The revolution is over”

      No, There will always be evolutions and/or revolutions. Enough evolution amounts to a revolution. We can be sure of one thing: The present system, the present state of the world will not last. It must, it will change. It’s our job to guide the change in good directions. “There is no alternative” is one of the most ignorant statements ever.

      1. Nathanael


        Count the number of revolutions in Mexico from 1810-1876.

        Revolution is easy and common.

        I believe we will have a revolution in our near future because the current situation is unsustainable, and the “straightforward” avenues for fixing it have been closed off. I am not looking forward to such a revolution, because it could usher in something awful.

        But an unsustainable situation cannot and will not continue forever. And the current idiot elites seem unwilling to make the reforms which would avoid a revolution. Just like Charles I of England, Louis XVI of France, and Tsar Nicholas of Russia — they just will not do it. It’s stupid of them, but there you are.

  3. Gerard Pierce

    The battle has just started. It’s reasonable to say that we have already lost, but it’s only partly true. Some of the villians are about to pay their own prices as this artice from the Testosterone Pit indicates: LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8.

    If the problems in this article are anywhere near true, Microsoft’s collaboration with NSA and other government agencies is just about to sink a company that was in serious truouble already, because people didn’t like the visual appearance of the product.

    Microsoft will do what they can to try to preserve some market share, and most of their significant corporate customers are calclating their own problems due to loss of their own secruity and the unwillingness of others to continue to do business with them.

    With a little encouragement, Courparte Americe is about to eat is own liver. We can’t defeat the neo-fascist state, but it might defeat itself.

    No guarantees – just a few positive signs.

    1. Ms G

      I wonder if this Trusted Back Door in Microsoft Windows (was it installed on previous versions as well?) is why Microsoft computers have been the ones vulnerable to hack attacks in email, etc. versus the [other type] for so many years?

  4. Chris

    Comparing using the internet to race relations is a reach at best. One cannot help being born a minority or any other oppresssed group, but we are NOT born with an iPad in our hand. Put the iPad down and step away from the internet, I swear, everything will be alright.

    I am going a step further than Groklaw and I am getting off the internet completely. All you do in your use of the internet is to drive up the same corporate profits that led the push for all this survailance.

    All the internet taught me is that it is i do not need it.

    And this is the last thing I will say on the internet. Bye.

  5. Steve Newcomb

    I wonder when the US government, or it’s military, will take the gloves off. We’ve had glimpses of what that will look like. Here are two of them:

    (1) The torture of Bradley Manning, a gay Army private held for a year in a Marine brig under conditions that the Red Cross was never permitted to question Manning about in private, despite repeated urgent requests which were unlawfully denied.

    (2) The disposal of Governor Eliot Spitzer (New York) by means of electronic spying on his personal affairs by federal agents. At the time, the military/industrial/financial complex was feeling vulnerable to his investigations of Wall Street under the provisions of New York State law. (I hope he will resume those efforts. The rule of law in this country has taken a nosedive in recent years. “Crony capitalism” is a euphemism for fascism.)

  6. JEHR

    I am considering using the Internet and my computer less and less. It would not be a bad thing to just communicate with pen and paper as that is a lot more personal. It is a shame that the interconnectedness of the computer has turned into wholesale surveillance. This interconnectedness is also a big illusion that keeps people texting each other without necessarily having anything much of importance to say.

    I will have to be more judicious in choosing which articles to read and which to bypass so that my time online is short but not wasted.

    1. constant

      What good is encryption when your password is for grabs? You can run your own mail server but what happens at the other end!? You can sent encrypted message to a trusted recipient, but outside of that?
      Disclaimer/ I’m not a IT specialist.

      1. indio007

        Firt , don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
        You can encrypt keystroke via Keyscrambler.
        Make sure you use https ssl login
        There’s dozens of methods to encrypt the message itself.
        Use TOR for web based mail on a Japanese email server.
        The are not allowed to keep server logs in Japan longer than 24 hours.
        The first 3 protect the contents.
        The last 2 protect the from.
        Of course, the recipient needs the same type of privacy policy.

        1. KnotRP

          Presume the OS hack is in the form of a keylogger.
          Encryption won’t do you any good unless you build
          a custom keyboard to encrypt before delivery to the

  7. Patrick Durusau

    Sorry @Chris won’t see this response, having left the Internet, but surveillance extends beyond the Internet. We know it extends to phone records (is Chris going to give up his phone?). I strongly suspect it extends to banking records/transactions (is Chris going to give up banking?). Any electronic record is capable of being reached by government agents, the only question is when?

    Possible but very hard to live without any electronic trail whatsoever. And what sort of life would that be? No phone, bank, utilities, email, charge cards, credit history, driver’s license, education, voting registration, etc. Much of that isn’t “voluntary” if you want to participate in a developed economy.

    As far as “revolution,” remember that at best 40 to 45% of Americans supported the Revolutionary War. The rest were opposed or indifferent.

    Innocent victims, leadership and a stable core of people willing to sacrifice is enough for a revolution.

    Being mindful that destruction of constitution rights took less than < 5,000 people (est.) over four presidential terms. It will take more people to restore those rights but that's the cost of sitting on our hands.

    1. thoughtfulperso

      Surveillance extends further – all paper mail is tracked, both from and to is recorded… and if Chris leaves his house, no doubt a webcam or two will capture his image as he goes about his day. He’ll have to stay home and not communicate.

      That is what this is all about right – shut down communication. Make people afraid so we all keep sitting on our hands…

      1. Nathanael

        The correct thing to do is for everyone to talk about revolution constantly.

        If every single person in the US is talking revolution non-stop, the NSA will have no idea who is serious and who isn’t.

Comments are closed.