Imagine you run a website and are ordered by the federal government to divulge personal information on article commenters. Now imagine that the feds also issue a gag order preventing you from revealing what they’re up to.
This is precisely what happened with award-winning libertarian website Reason.com
Site editor Nick Gillespie related his travails just today at the Daily Beast, and it’s a story many will find chilling. His problems began after he blogged about the life sentence handed down to Ross Ulbricht, founder of Dark Web website Silk Road, by a judge named Katherine Forrest. Not surprisingly, agitated Ulbricht defenders took to his piece’s comments section and, par for the Internet course, savaged Forrest. As Gillespie writes, they suggested “that, among other things, she should burn in hell, ‘be taken out back and shot,’ and, in a well-worn Internet homage to the Coen Brothers movie Fargo, be fed ‘feet first’ into a woodchipper. The comments betrayed a naive belief in an afterlife [note, my libertarian friend Gillespie, that people without that ‘naïve’ belief in an afterlife generally have a naïve belief in government] and karma, were grammatically and spelling-challenged, hyperbolic, and… completely within the realm of acceptable Internet discourse, especially for an unmoderated comments section.” Gillespie then continued:
But the U.S. attorney for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York thought differently...
Read the rest here.