Why a blog? Why now?

By Simon, 21 August, 2013

I started this blog in 1996. Long before the term "blog" or "blogging" or "web log" had even been coined. I threw it away several times, and started over, most of the time due to either disk crashes, server moves, or incompatible CMS upgrades. Eventually I gave up. I didn't take it seriously. Then Facebook came along, and I put pithy, mostly idiotic, observations on there, hidden behind my wall of "friends".

Apparently, Facebook is now big enough to play in the big leagues and the consequences are becoming more and more apparent every day. There's been a lot of fallout since Edward Snowden came forward with new revelations about the NSA, which includes Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and others, handing over data. Unfortunately, we've seen a number of web sites and services disappear as a result.

One of those was Lavabit, and as a result I lost my Lavabit email address. I'm not all that upset, because the owner, Ladar Levison, seems to have done the right thing under impossible circumstances. Right after that, Silent Circle removed it's secure email service. Silent Circle's CEO, Michael Janke, said "Whether you're in Tibet, Toledo, or Tunisia, [it is] the natural born right of every citizen to have a private conversation, to share a private picture or document; we feel is an innate right of the world."

Then there was Groklaw, a site that had covered many, many legal issues for the tech industry including patent infringement, digital rights management and open-source licensing (all things I've been involved in). Pamela Jones said the reason for shutting down Groklaw was that "There is now no shield from forced exposure" and quoted Janna Malamud Smith's book "Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life."

Pamela Jones, you see, got me to my "hang on a moment" er... moment. However, I simply don't agree with the idea of shutting down any voices in a country that has the right to free speech embedded in it's foundations. It doesn't matter who is watching:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Maybe I don't fully understand Pamela Jones' reasons after all. Right now there is a problem with the privacy and security of email, telephone, and the web, but those are not the only ways we have to communicate. They're just convenient ways. All I know is that now seems the right time to reboot my blog efforts and have my say.

So, here I am. I have a blog, and I've decided to use it...