The explosion of speech on the Internet has been met with increasingly frequent and sophisticated means of monitoring and censorship. Nationwide blackouts in North Korea, government mandated spyware in China, and pinpointed disabling of infrastructure during the Iranian presidential election of 2009, all lead to the conclusion that state actors can control free speech in the Internet era.
That conclusion is wrong.
Modern commerce is so dependent upon information that removing this infrastructure condemns a society to a "stone age". Further, as commerce rapidly evolves, it is impossible to distinguish between the critical and superfluous aspects of this infrastructure, so selective control is impossible. Even if a state actor takes drastic action, the mere existence of portable computers, open wireless networking standards and encryption guarantee the populace access to free speech - even without the Internet.
The choice state actors face is Free Speech or Stone Age. (full paper - 2 pages)