Beware the Telescreen Watching You

This month, British opinion leaders have made two incredibly bad proposals to destroy any last vestige of online privacy for their subjects. In this post, I’ll discuss the first one.

Believing that the present heavy-handed universal adult-content censorship scheme in the UK doesn’t go far enough, Telegraph columnist Martin Daubney floated the idea of requiring that all porn be licensed by the government. Not only that, but porn usage would be monitored and recorded for posterity. Under his voyeristic scheme, “Brits would be watching porn, but at least we’d know what they were watching,” … “[P]orn sites would be able to offer support to anybody who felt their porn use was getting out of control.” People obtaining porn outside of official channels would face prison time!

All free people should cringe at the thought that government officials would be collecting data on every secret sexual fantasy and forbidden love interest that might be revealed through citizens’ use of online erotica in the privacy of their own homes. Not only could this data be hacked by criminals for blackmail purposes, but it could also later be used to persecute sexual minorities for future crimes that haven’t yet been written, as a recent controversy over suspending driving privileges for “sexual deviates” in Russia illustrates.

Although such a crazy scheme would be precluded in the US under American legal precedent (e.g., Stanley vs. Georgia), proposals such as this illustrate the depths to which some governments will sink in order to control every aspect of peoples’ private lives, even their thoughts. Indeed, Orwell’s telescreen, and the thought police, are becoming reality.