For a long time I was known online as “that Ellian Wassup guy” because of a little run in I had with the Associated Press and a parody video I made about the Janet Reno / Elian Gonzalez situation. Long story short I put up the video and the AP told me to take it down. Before I could take it down someone else copied it and put it up. The AP told them to take it down too. But not before some other people put it up too. The AP contacted them too, but well you can see where this is going, before too long mirrors of the video were going up faster than the AP could try to get them taken down and that, among other things, finally got them to drop it. What I learned clearly in that situation was when the internet wants something, and I say the internet as if it’s one living organism because it kind of is, when it wants something, it gets it. That applies to getting into or giving it just the same.
I watched this play out then, I’ve watched it play out again since then in other situations and we’re all watching it happen again, it’s just some people don’t learn from the past. In the same way going after Napster didn’t put an end to MP3 sharing, but rather inspired the creation of less trackable and more decentralized sharing technologies, going after Wikileaks isn’t going to put an end to the transparency and accountability they are endorsing. Cutting off the head of the hydra doesn’t kill it, it makes it stronger. People – civilians, military and government alike – want the same things wikileaks does, and if wikileaks is cut down that will not be the end. It will more likely be just the beginning. It’s kind of shocking to see how shortsighted some people are being in their attempts to fight this. It’s much bigger than just one person or just one website. There’s no stopping the web when it wants something.