On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other. - Stewart Brand
The key, though, is that democracies have a process for creating such restrictions, and as a citizen it sickens me to see the US trying to take shortcuts. The leaders of Myanmar and Belarus, or Thailand and Russia, can now rightly say to us “You went after Wikileaks’ domain name, their hosting provider, and even denied your citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant and all targeting overseas entities, simply because you decided you don’t like the site. If that’s the way governments get to behave, we can live with that.”
Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency — Wikileaks shouldn’t be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change. If it’s OK for a democracy to just decide to run someone off the internet for doing something they wouldn’t prosecute a newspaper for doing, the idea of an internet that further democratizes the public sphere will have taken a mortal blow.
2.3. "What's the 'Big Picture'?"
2.3.1. Strong crypto is here. It is widely available.
2.3.2. It implies many changes in the way the world works. Private
channels between parties who have never met and who never
will meet are possible. Totally anonymous, unlinkable,
untraceable communications and exchanges are possible.
2.3.3. Transactions can only be *voluntary*, since the parties are
untraceable and unknown and can withdraw at any time. This
has profound implications for the conventional approach of
using the threat of force, directed against parties by
governments or by others. In particular, threats of force
2.3.4. What emerges from this is unclear, but I think it will be a
form of anarcho-capitalist market system I call "crypto
anarchy." (Voluntary communications only, with no third
parties butting in.)