Book Burning 2.0

The year is 2017.

You get on the bus, and people are busily going about their business.

A handful are talking on their phones, some holding it to their ears, and others watching their friends on the screen. Some people are reading or listening to music on their phone, and about a third of the people are playing or reading on their tablet devices – iPad’s, Kindles, one of those tablets made by a Chinese manufacturer –  and that new one that RIM came out with a few years ago.

One guy is reading a book that’s made with paper.

Now I’m no futurist, but this future doesn’t seem very weird to me, nor particularly scary, at face value.

But now consider the added concepts of widespread censorship, like we see today in places like China, which is particularly notable for excelling at censorship. Now think of the long tradition of book burnings around the world – it’s been around about as long as we’ve had books!

Of course, every single one of those devices – tablets, phones, etc. – are all connected to the same network, the Internet.

Is this crazy talk?

It wasn’t very long ago that Amazon demonstrated their power to delete books from their Kindle device.

I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to imagine a future world, not that far off, where there are restrictions on what books are permitted.

Maybe it is crazy. But it does raise some interesting questions, like What sort of protections are there for consumers, both from intrusive governments and intrusive corporations?

What do you think?