Those looking to break the status quo digitally aren’t going anywhere. In a plane as vast as the Internet, it’s impossible to strike a balance between constructive human interactions and harmful ones. With the infrastructure provided to connect with people across the world, shared cultures can foster an understanding just as much as they can foster hate. This infrastructure has, to a point, shaken the status quo. It’s hard to imagine an immediate solution.
“Older” issues aren’t going anywhere. Only days ago, Yahoo News reported efforts were made by Russian intelligence agencies to extract Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The same story alleged that US and British intelligence agencies sought to either intercept or kill Assange. Meanwhile, in the general public’s eye, Assange is news from years ago. The stories were already written about him, and the Hollywood version was made complete with Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange.
When the news cycle moves on from these so-called revolutionaries, they usually continue what they were doing, just without the pressure mainstream media briefly puts on them. Even those who face consequences, such as Assange, whether related to his actions at Wikileaks or not, find a way to keep going for a while.
After the airing of the HBO Documentary, Q: Into the Storm, and the banning of Ron Watkins from social media, he’s now slid out of the public eye, and announced plans for a site called AlienLeaks, which he describes as WikiLeaks, but for UFO sightings. The Idea itself isn’t alarming, though neither was 8chan in concept alone. Could Watkins find a way to weaponize this UFO related information?
Just as 8chan’s founders advocate for the freedom of use of their platform, even if the users are criminals, attempts such as Dark Wallet to provide further anonymity for Bitcoin transactions are designed with the same model in mind. Just as Frederick Brennan lamented child pornography, yet allowed it on 8Chan, Dark Wallet’s founder Amir Taaki laments ISIS, yet allowed members to participate in Dark Wallet’s alpha testing, as documented in the 2017 documentary, The New Radical.
Perhaps a reason for the public’s willingness to move on from these figures is the illusion of an end to their stories. While Dark Wallet itself way be gone, the Associated Press recently reported that far right institutions such as the Daily Stormer still use alternative methods and are able to fundraise millions in Bitcoin. Cody Wilson, also featured in The New Radical, received significant attention for his distribution of 3D gun printing schematics, and later his work on controversial fundraising platform Hatreon. Wilson, much like Assange, was charged with sexual misconduct, in his case with a minor. These offenses rightfully turn the public away from these figures’ ideologies, but it unfortunately doesn’t end their work, or their influence. Assange still resides in the Ecuadorian Embassy, while Wilson Executive Produced the documentary TFW NO GF in 2020.
The issues these “Crypto-Anarchists” raise will not go anywhere. Until a legislative or social change allows for a real shift in how the unregulated Internet is handled, we’re doomed to run into the same issue, emphasized whenever the media finds it convenient.