Jerry Brito on the Government’s Loss of Control Over Information

Silk Road

In 1996’s “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,” John
Perry Barlow claimed, among other things, that on the Internet
“identities have no bodies” so that persons acting there are immune
to “physical coercion.” More to the point, he wrote, “Cyberspace
does not lie within your borders,” implying an insurmountable lack
of jurisdiction, and thus coercive power. As Edward Snowden’s
exile, Ross Ulbricht’s arrest, and Defense Distributed’s
capitulation attest, such a view is just plain wrong. But what 2013
showed us is that as Internet technology advances, the direct and
indirect costs that the state must incur to maintain a same level
of information control continue to increase. As a result, writes
Jerry Brito, while the Internet can, no doubt, be regulated, and
information can be controlled, and those who speak and transact can
be punished, it can only be done on an increasingly small margin,
and at an increasingly high cost.

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from Hit & Run

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