By: Kurt Dugger
Once upon a time, there was a website. This website Allowed almost anyone to sell almost anything. The only real prohibition on products stood against anything used to “harm or defraud” someone else. This opened a market for anything from cocaine in the U.S. to Bibles in Saudi Arabia.
This site also created a rating system for buyers and sellers. This meant that using fraud and violence to push your product greatly limited your business opportunities. This reduced the amount of violence inherent to many illegal industries.
This site also required tools such as Bitcoin and the TOR browser to be used in order to create more anonymity. Those tools posed a real threat to data collection and financial controls used by various States to manipulate their citizens. That could not be allowed to stand.
In 2013 the current owner of the site was discovered and arrested. The subsequent trial saw the rampant corruption of the legal system, including the conviction of 2 investigators on multiple charges related to theft, fraud, and blackmail committed during the investigation. That information was withheld from the defense for months and ultimately barred from the trial by the judge.
Ross Ulbricht is now serving a sentence of Double life plus forty years, for running a website specifically created to reduce violent crime. No one has ever been presented as a victim. Ross’s final chance at appeal is approaching. Even in the face of it all, he is staying positive, most days.
I’ve heard it said “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”. My question is: What do governments fear enough to openly disregard their own legal system? The answer appears to be, your privacy.