Trump Promises Ross Ulbricht’s Freedom

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by Rick Findlay, Reclaim The Net:

At the Libertarian National Convention on Saturday, President Donald Trump announced his intention to commute the life sentence of Ross Ulbricht, the operator of the “Silk Road” website. Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in 2015 for creating and managing the Silk Road platform, was found guilty of facilitating the sale of drugs and other illicit goods after the anonymous darknet marketplace he created was used for such illegal activity.

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The dark web is a subset of the deep web, consisting of websites accessible only through specific anonymity-preserving networks like Tor.

“If you vote for me – on Day one, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht to a sentence of ‘time-served,’” President Trump said. “He’s already served 11 years, we’re gonna get him home.”

Ulbricht’s case has garnered significant attention and support from the libertarian community, with many advocating for his release. During the convention, attendees displayed “Free Ross” signs and voiced their support with chants calling for his freedom.

In 2011, Ulbricht launched the Silk Road, an anonymous online marketplace designed to facilitate the exchange of goods and services using Bitcoin. The Silk Road quickly became synonymous with the sale of illicit drugs, fraudulent documents, and hacking tools. Ulbricht operated the site under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a reference to the cult classic film “The Princess Bride.”

At its peak, the Silk Road was generating millions of dollars in monthly sales, drawing the attention of authorities worldwide.

In October 2013, Ross Ulbricht was arrested by the FBI in a San Francisco library. He was charged with a litany of offenses, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. In 2015, Ulbricht was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The arrest and subsequent life sentence of Ross Ulbricht have ignited a fierce debate about the implications for free speech and the boundaries of government intervention in the digital space, and whether the creator of a website or marketplace should be punished for the actions of its users.

Critics argue that Ulbricht’s punishment was excessively harsh, reflecting a broader trend of draconian measures against individuals challenging the status quo through technology.

One of the central concerns is the precedent set by Ulbricht’s conviction. Advocates for digital freedom worry that aggressive law enforcement tactics could stifle innovation and suppress dissent. The case raises critical questions about privacy, surveillance, and the extent to which the government can control the internet.

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