The same technologies that give us freedom to communicate and collaborate can be put to use for ends that governments find worrisome. They are also great tools to help governments to spy on their own citizens, not just people who threaten security. In repressive regimes, the digital networks are a threat to the regimes’ very existence – one reason why the U.S. State Department is working to spread democratized media to those places. But the U.S. government, among many others, is also taking steps – often in concert with the copyright industry – to restrict these uses at home. The dilemmas are real, but security and law-enforcement interests increasingly trump free speech and innovation. But the proverbial cure looks to be more dangerous than the disease.

Sidebar: Interview with someone from law enforcement.

Sidebar: Activist for democracy from Syria or some other country in turmoil.