Earlier, I wrote about a case where a student's use of the command line prompt was judged to be "evidence of computer expertise" and that evidence was used as probable cause to search and seize his computer equipment and terminate his network access. The theory was that he might have sent a (relatively harmless, not threatening) hoax email that Boston College was investigating.
Nonetheless, one conclusion is inescapable. The Internet used to be a place where minimal regulation was the order of the day; people cooperated willingly on core protocols and dealt with problems by adapting the technology rather than relying on the heavy hand of government regulation. For a brief time, the Internet was the frontier: new, exciting, unregulated.