The empires strike back

BACK WHEN the Internet was young -- oh, say, eight years ago -- there was a school of thought that held that cyberspace was its own sovereign nation.

For one thing, "The Net perceives censorship as damage, and routes around it." What government could control what was said on the Net? The more fuss someone made about a particular site or piece of information, the more likely it was to be mirrored widely, even, sometimes, by people who violently disagreed with it but disagreed with censorship even more. Besides, bands of activist programmers could unite to create circumvention technologies such as anonymizing Web sites, clever software to enable anonymous email and Usenet postings, cleverer software to create hidden, uncontrolled networks.

The empires strike back


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