Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Internet site Groklaw’s closing

An NPR article yesterday afternoon passed on the news that award-winning website Groklaw, which covered legal news of interest to the free and open source software community, starting out as a law blog in May 2003 by paralegal Pamela Jones ("PJ") at Radio UserLand, is closing down --- Ms Jones stating “she can't run the site without email, and that since emails' privacy can't be guaranteed, she can no longer do the site's work.”

  The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that “the National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say --- That system said to have the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans, and, in some cases,  retaining the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filtering  domestic phone calls made with Internet technology.”

  Wikipedia’s entry noted “Jones’ describing Groklaw [the name which derives from Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land neologism, "grok", roughly meaning "to understand completely"] as ..."a place where lawyers and geeks could explain things to each other and work together, so they'd understand each other's work better. When you have an idea you hope might work, and then to implement it, tweak it, and morph it, because other people show up and have ideas that are better than yours...and then have people you care about and admire tell you that what you are doing matters – I can't think of a more satisfying feeling." It had covered issues such as the SCO-Linux lawsuits, the EU anti-trust case against Microsoft, and the standardization of Office Open XML.

  The NPR article made note of the fact that “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 Web Archiving project, and noted that when the library contacted Jones, she asked Groklaw's community to decide whether the materials should be archived.

Ms. Jones’ farewell post

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