The United Kingdom appears to regard Orwell’s 1984 novel as an instructions manual rather than a dire warning about what authoritarian governments could end up doing to their subjects. The latest Orwellian bill which is set to become law of the land in the UK will punish citizens with a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail for (make sure you sit down while reading this) : watching terrorist material and/or far right propaganda (whatever that means) repeatedly (online).
As the Guardian reports quoting British Home Secretary Amber Rudd:
“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law. There is currently a gap in the law around material [that] is viewed or streamed from the internet without being permanently downloaded.
Both UK Prime Minister Theresa May and British Home Secretary Amber Rudd have frequently stated their interest in censoring/regulating the Internet in the aftermath of the Islamic terrorist attacks which have plagued the country in recent years.
The new law is claimed not to punish those who view forbidden internet material out of curiosity or once by mistake and there are protections for people like journalists or academics who may have a legitimate reason to watch this type of content online.
A government that cracks down on inanimate objects, criminalizes speech and even thought, while refusing to address the obvious problem, isn’t simple incompetence. Those are the actions of a government with a different plan and with a very different destination in mind from the one they claim in public.
This is the UK in 2017: criminalizing what you are allowed to read or look at – with an ambiguous bar (it’s only a matter of time until expressing dissatisfaction with uncontrolled immigration will be viewed as far right propaganda). When it comes to reading online, how will they be able to differentiate between genuine curiosity and ideological adherence? Who gets to decide what “far right” is? AP? Reuters? Because according to the left, even UKIP and AfD are considered far-right.