Application of public technology in the past has been often seen as a means by which the state can exercise control, and as such has come under severe criticism from civil libertarians. Remember the howl that emerged with the “Australia Card” debate in the eighties.
However, any reasonable view of the currently available technology would see that it has enormously added to the power of the individual to control their circumstances.
Anyone now can become a published author or photographer, a band need not contract to a record company to get its music heard, and the individual has access to vast amounts of information of all types.
The fact that some do not manage this new power has nothing to do with the technology, just about how people use it. Tim O’Reilly argues convincingly that an artists greatest problem now is not piracy, but obscurity, little has really changed, it is just the means to the end that has changed.