A disturbing convergence

Books, Technology, Television

We’ve already reported that at least one e-tailer has proved it has both the ability and the guts to snatch back content you thought you wanted (Amazon embraces the Orwellian spirit and UPDATE: Orwell e-books yanked from Kindles were bootlegs, July 17).

Now the U.S. government appears to be on the verge of establishing a squad of truth police if not Thought Police, if Tribune columnist Austin Hill is to be believed (Obama appointee wants control of web speech, July 25).

I’m afraid Amazon’s loosed a genie that won’t be going back into its bottle.

Imagine the government getting a court order to force the removal of certain e-books, songs, movies or documents — all legally downloaded, of course — from your computer hard drive or portable device. To protect you from un-truths. They have a mechanism to do that, now. And they know it works.

But it need not be so sinister a situation. What if a filmmaker decides he doesn’t like the way he made that one movie years ago and decides to update it, adding flashy digital characters and enhanced special effects, even changing the order of who shot whom or replacing scary weapons with less-threatening walkie-talkies. You like the original, but it gets yanked away and suddenly you have the new and “improved” version forced down your throat.

Yep, they have a mechanism to do that, now. And they know it works.

In all these cases you get your money back, but what about your memories? Read, watch or listen while you can. Big Brother is watching.

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