The New Prohibition

An era where prohibiton has taken on a new form and 'speak'-easys are virtual secret chatrooms

The Constraints of a Public Internet

The loud banging on the front door caused Tedi to fall deeper into an already profound panic. The options of elusion were exhausted and time was not in favor of an escape. Tedi contemplated the actions that resulted in such an undesirable situation and wondered if the experience was worth the consequence. With no solution to remain intact to the community that provided Tedi with so much personal exploration, the door was opened and two large men carried out their governmental duties.

Just four week ago Tedi registered with the National Internet Association (NIA) to be provided with an in-home computer as well as wireless access. It was very common for a United States citizen to become a member of the NIA however, also just as common for someone to not be a member. The NIA was established in 2043 after a significant portion of the US population developed a vested interest in the privatized internet of other countries. The Soviet Union pioneered the discussion of internet privatization back in the early 1990s after its inclusion in region 50 of FidoNet. The US feared internet privatization would erode freedom of speech because first amendment protections do not apply to the private sector, thus, the federal government halted internet privatization in 1996 and began the process of creating a public and heavily regulated internet. The constitution now, along with many of its guaranteed freedoms, is more of a historical preservation rather than a governing document. Powerful government leaders indirectly rescinded many freedoms in order to create a more ‘equal’ and more ‘indefectible’ society. Someone such as Tedi, born in 2047, would not know of the once idealized freedoms of people in the US as history was re-written to shed an alternative light on how people lived when freedoms were in abundance.

Within a week two men arrived at Tedi’s front door with a rectangular stainless steel case. Inside was a sleek and thin computer along with an octagonal shaped device emanating a blue light. The men plugged the octagonal device into the wall and began setting up the computer on the kitchen table. Instillation was swift process. Governmental technology was advanced however private access to those technologies was highly restrictive without following governmental access procedures. Before exiting, the two men dressed in all black simultaneously said, “You are most consequently prohibited from using your government provided internet access to facilitate the buying or selling of any good or service, participating in any form of identity delusion, or forming groups in discussion of any political opposition. Your online profile has been created and your username is concrete, any changes must be approved by the Profile Creation center at the NIA. If you have uncertainty regarding the rules refer to your NIA user manual. Failure to comply with NIA rules can result in a lifetime ban from private internet access and imprisonment.” Tedi nodded at the men in awed look of obedience, the men left.

Tedi followed the user setup prompts until she was confronted with a home screen that read ‘What do you want to do?’ across the top. Tedi scrolled the long drop down menu and chose ‘Chat’. After clicking on chat Tedi was taken to another home screen that presented an abundance of different stylized chatrooms. The chatrooms were user created but government regulated. Every chatroom available was the idea of user who took the time design and provide a topic for a specific chatroom. Within each chatroom, users had the opportunity to create inlets to smaller more specific chatrooms that required their permission to access. Tedi first entered a very large, very broad chatroom labeled architecture. Not much interaction took place in the broad chatroom, Tedi noticed users entered swiftly and left promptly. Feeling kind of lost, Tedi went to bed and decided to explore more tomorrow.

The next day a co-worker at the government architectural firm where Tedi works, a coworker visited her at lunch and said, “Find me online tonight. I want to show you something”. Tedi was intrigued and eager to get home and open the thin piece of stainless steel sitting on her kitchen table. After Tedi returned home from work, the computer was opened, the architecture chatroom was entered, and the search for Alex, the coworker began. The search did not take much time because Alex found Tedi before Tedi could figure out how to search a specific user. Alex asked Tedi to join another chatroom called ‘Architecture of the Mind’.

Alex: "I am going to send you a permission notice to enter this chatroom. Click accept."

Tedi: "Okay"

*Tedi clicks accept and they enter a new chatroom*

Alex: "Do you want to go on a journey with me?"