The widespread dissemination of information caused by an attempt to suppress that information. Also: Barbra Streisand effect.
The Digg-DVD donnybrook is the latest example of what's come to be called the "Streisand effect," in which efforts to squelch a bit of online information lead to that information being much more widely disseminated than it otherwise would have been.
The name stems from singer Barbra Streisand's 2003 lawsuit aimed at forcing a photographer, who was documenting coastal erosion, to remove photos of her seaside mansion from his previously obscure website. Thanks to publicity from the lawsuit, the pictures spread widely on the Internet.
—Rebecca Dube, "An online revolution: Can you Digg it?," The Globe and Mail, May 3, 2007
Another reason that litigation is an ineffective method for curbing online defamation is the "Streisand Effect," named after famous songstress Barbara Streisand. The Streisand Effect refers to an attempt to suppress information on the Internet that results instead in a wider dissemination of the information.
—"The Streisand Effect," Inside Counsel, October 1, 2006
How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don't like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let's call it the Streisand Effect.
—Mike Masnick, "Since When Is It Illegal To Just Mention A Trademark Online?," Techdirt, January 5, 2005
Many thanks to reader Mickey who unearthed an earlier citation for this phrase, and who also passed along a link to the Streisand Effect website, which contains links to various Streisand Effect cases.