It has been interesting to see Groklaw and Lavabit push back in the only way they can against government surveillance–by shutting down. Although it seems the government isn’t too pleased with that. You’ve achieved full Orwell when you are in trouble with the government because shutting down your own company might indicate that the government asked you to help them spy against your customers. So now, on the basis of national security, I have to keep running my business?
Besides these two exceptional cases, we’re witnessing the abject failure of capitalism writ large to prove that it can aid in the defense of civil liberties. It’s just about the money. It’s been clear since the Bush days, when the telecoms got busted, that nobody was going to stand up to unconstitutional eavesdropping/datamining. One can only hope that with enough players following the lead of Lavabit, you could actually have companies draw a line in the sand and challenge the government on this issue. What if Google, Microsoft, Apple, the telecoms, etc., just stood up and all said we’re shutting down all our services until you back off from our customers? They have the power. If they all went dark the entire economy would shut down. After 3 days the NSA would get ordered to mothball everything. But, who are we kidding? AT&T ain’t gonna do that. Fuck you, AT&T.