Listening to KQED today, I was deeply disappointed by your program’s coverage of this story (Illegal website once integral to cyberattacks shut down | Page 2 | The World from PRX). It was seriously unbalanced, with no quotes or information from civil liberties advocates presented to counter the biased perspective of the former FBI agent you interviewed.
While I’m not familiar with the Genesis site, the program’s prejudicial description of the Silk Road online marketplace as “notorious” – along with the matter-of-fact reference to the grossly unfair and disproportionate double life sentence imposed on Silk Road founder and first-time “offender” Ross Ulbricht – increased my doubts about whether Genesis was in fact just a haven for people trying to steal and trade in our “digital fingerprints” as the FBI’s former agent Chris Tarbell sought to depict it. Ross’s mother Lyn, who has been fighting for justice in her’s son’s case and advocating for his release, might have been a good person to talk with about the agency’s agenda and lack of credibility in such matters.
Many of the goods and services exchanged on the Silk Road site were legal, and it is widely believed that the persecution of Ulbricht had much more to do with political efforts by government officials to control the Internet than with any actual harm that he or his website caused anyone. And given that there has never been another constitutional amendment similar to the 19th Amendment that outlawed most alcoholic beverage sales from 1919 to 1933, even the drug sales there were actually legal under the highest law of the U.S. because the federal government has no current constitutional authority to criminalize the sale of any substance!
Tarbell’s description of a “digital fingerprint” as “anything that makes up information to better know a person” is deeply ironic, given the U.S. government’s own ongoing unconstitutional/illegal mass spying on Americans, harvesting our data from phone calls, emails, and more, as revealed by whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. (Indeed Snowden is another individual who could provide some much-needed balance to your coverage of this issue). Government agencies collect and maintain all kinds of records and files on innocent civilians in order to “better know” us – and tax us, and control our lives, and sometimes target us for even worse purposes – often without any independent oversight or scrutiny. There are many instances of them abusing this information for political purposes, including spying on the peace and civil rights movements and even the murder of activists like Fred Hampton (see e.g. Fred Hampton - Wikipedia).
Please write back to confirm that you have received this letter and let me know your thoughts on the issue. I look forward to hearing how “The World” will address this flawed programming and provide more context and balance going forward, so as not to simply serve as a conduit for government propaganda.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
Chair, Libertarian Party of San Francisco