My first experiences in Cyberspace began with dialup modems and Procomm BBS software. For awhile I operated my own BBS - only one person could connect to it at a time. Later on, in the early 1990's, folks from the Last Whole Earth Catalog set up a BBS in Sausalito, CA, called the Whole Earth Lectronic Link, or WELL. By that time, the little, one telephone line BBS you ran in your bedroom began to be obsoleted by dialup service providers that could connect you, via frame relay, to participating BBS systems all over the world. They could also connect you to USNET news groups which, up until that time, could only be accessed if you had an account on a corporate, government, or university computer system. The WELL was my first encounter with the "transparency" movement: that is, with people wanting to tell the truth about their personal experience of the world, and to do so through anonymous means if so desired.
The WELL offered a civilized haven from the jungle of USNET news groups. The WELL offered a place where proto-bloggers could let their hair down about their other experiences in cyber space. One thing that readily became apparent was the sheer number of encounters with what are now known as "Internet trolls". That is, it became readily apparent that certain cyberspace denizens acted in such a way as to control and manipulate entire cyberspace communities, stifling any kind of meaningful dialog. It was during this time that the Delphi method of coercing group consensus first began to be used in cyberspace. So, all I can say: the control mechanisms have always been there, in place, in cyberspace from the very beginning.
Coming back to the present moment. One thing that really impresses me: I have never seen the cyberspace cockroaches scurry as much as they have scurried when lit up by the Assange/WikiLeaks spot light. Even as I write history is being written. WikiLeaks has already morphed into the OpenLeaks movement, a movement which may become the independent journalist's equivalent of the GNU open source software movement. Although, the source of the leaks will not be disclosed, the leaks will be open for all to view through thousands of mirrored sites, and no one person will dictate what gets leaked. Getting back to cyberspace cockroaches...
Over the years the cockroaches have become very good at concealing themselves in cyberspace. Internet bloggo-spheres such as RumorMillNews, BlackListedNews, and Cryptome became virtual nests of denizens very adept at cloaking themselves with the camouflage of the liberal progressive. I have never seen so many cockroaches scurry: in quite a significant array of the bloggo-spheres that I monitor, more than half the users and posts have run with great haste over to side of all that which condemns everything Assange and Leaky. And... so, although I am sad for Assange, I am thankful for the spotlight that sent so many cockroaches scurrying back into the darkness where they belong. At least now we know where to spray the Raid.
The reader may feel free to revise listed or identify new bloggo-spheres, so that we may know where else in cyberspace to apply the Raid.