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The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no contrary action had been attempted. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, following a 2003 incident in which her attempts to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.
Barbra Streisand unsuccessfully attempted to sue photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for $50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photograph of her mansion removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns. Adelman stated that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project.As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially and it became popular on the Internet, with more than 420,000 people visiting the site over the following month.
In 2008, Wikileaks published “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology”, including some of internal workings and strange practices of the controversial Church. It showed that there were eight “levels” of “Operating Thetans”, with Level Eight being the highest, that Scientologists can aspire to. It also instructed adherents to carry out difficult-to-understand “drills” including: “Find a tight packed crowd of people. Write it as a crowd and then as individuals until you have a cognition. Note it down.” The drills were written by the Church founder L Ron Hubbard himself. Lawyers for the Church of Scientology attempted to force Wikileaks to take the information down, calling it the “Advanced Technology of the Scientology religion”, but the site refused. Wikileaks responded by vowing to “release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material” the following week.
Scientology and it’s lawyers usually go after anyone who criticizes the “religion” but they backed off.