Yes, you read that right. The Dread Pirate Roberts, the alleged pseudonym of Ross Ulbricht, the man the U.S. government claims is the mastermind of Silk Road, a black market website trading in drugs, sex, murder and stolen property.
I can’t possibly interfere with the excellent, well-composed coverage by Forbes magazine, but I can tell you why you should care. Read the linked article after I’ve convinced you.
This is literally the most important court case the internet has ever ever experienced. In the indictment of Ulbricht, the U.S. government has revealed it’s cards – how it collected information on the suspect in ways that may be illegal, precedents they’d like to set on internet commerce, and the true limits of digital privacy.
This indictment, if successful, will set the precedent for how the U.S. will approach and treat “deep-web” internet sites.
This is the Plessy vs. Ferguson of the internet. If the prosecution is successful, the U.S. government will pave the way for swift and painful execution of websites deemed illegal all over the web.
Bye bye torrented copies of Game of Thrones, hello surveillance and police drug stings on Craigslist.
All we can hope is that the precedent protects what we do like about the internet.
The trial begins Tuesday, January 13.