Marijuana. Abortion. LGBTQ rights. Three things that would have caused outrage just 50 years ago but are today becoming commonplace, having been legalized in countries throughout the Western world. It looks as though this trend of decriminalizing once taboo items and behavior is going to continue as the spotlight turns to euthanasia and the moral implications of allowing somebody to end their life. In early 2016, doctors in the Netherlands granted the euthanasia of an unnamed woman suffering from chronic depression, hallucinations, and severe anorexia stemming from enduring years of sexual abuse as a child. The tremors of their decision were felt far beyond the confines of their home country and sparked a global debate about assisted dying, with even celebrities like Sir Patrick Stewart calling it “a fundamental right for us all”.
But as we continue to legalize that which we once couldn’t even speak about, the pendulum swings the other way and discussion turns to the criminalization of things that were once – and in some cases still are – parts of everyday life for millions of people around the world. New laws are always being introduced, but what can we expect the laws of 20, 50, and even 100 years from now to govern and regulate? Let’s find out.
Here are 15 currently legal things that’ll totally be illegal in the future.
15. Body-shaming By Trolls
Playboy centerfold Dani Mathers found herself in infamously hot water when she posted a picture online of a bare, slightly overweight woman in a gym dressing room with the caption “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either”. Mathers was widely criticized for body-shaming and this past May was sentenced to 30 days of community labor. Now, Mathers’ sentencing came as a result of her invading the privacy of the slightly overweight woman in question, but there are those still calling for her to face action for “body-shaming”.
Body-shaming isn’t actually a crime, but the increasingly powerful millennials are calling for it to be outlawed owing to the psychological trauma victims can suffer from. When the young people of today become the lawmakers of tomorrow, you can expect body-shaming to join the ranks of robbery and murder.
14. Sharing Netflix Passwords
The beauty of Netflix is that, as it stands right now, you don’t need to pay for an account to be able to access it. You just have to have a paying friend or family member who’s willing to share their password with you.
Netflix has been trying to crack down on account and password sharing for a while now, but has had minimal, if any, success. This past year, the company came under fire from investors after financial issues revealed the full impact of password sharing, which has pushed it to develop a more concise plan to tackle the issue. If you use your older sibling’s password to watch Orange Is the New Black or Better Call Saul, you don’t have anything to worry about in the immediate future, but you might want to start saving those pennies now for when Netflix finally makes password sharing a crime.
13. Flying A Drone Without A License
Because they are a relatively new technology, drones aren’t governed by a whole lot of laws. The United States government insists that citizens register drones of a certain size and weight, although many store-bought drones come in at just light enough to avoid registration. Even if your drone does warrant registration, you probably won’t find yourself in too much trouble if you don’t bother signing up.
In the coming years, however, this is likely to change, as the US government – and, indeed, governments all over the world – are planning a crackdown on unmanned aircrafts. The licensing of drones across the board will, in theory, reduce the amount of drone collisions and make it impossible for an unmanned aircraft to enter prohibited airspace without the owner facing legal action.
12. Third-party Repairs
For the hundreds of dollars they generally go for, Apple devices are surprisingly easy to break. According to some conspiracy theorists, Apple diabolically designs its devices to shatter when dropped so as to bring in more money through repairs and replacements. Of course, Apple charges almost as much for a repair of an iPhone as it does for a brand new model, so many iPhone owners take their damaged products to less expensive third-parties to be fixed.
Apple has long discouraged against third-party repairs by voiding the warranty of any product found to be repaired by an outside force. You can expect the tech giant to go a step further in the future when it succeeds in its long-rumored campaign to make third-party repairs downright and straight-up illegal.
11. Manual Driving Is So Old-School
That title might be a little misleading. While manual driving probably won’t become illegal in the future, it will be outlawed on certain roads. As self-driving cars continue to develop into a viable means of transport for the common car owner, governments are working on “smart roads” that will cater exclusively to them. One such road has already been constructed in France, albeit with a couple of kinks that still need to be worked out.
In the future, it is likely that smart roads will run throughout most developed countries, which means proper legislation will have to be introduced to prevent manual car owners from driving on them. This will likely lead to an increase in the number of people purchasing smart cars, which means we could conceivably do away with the pollution of the modern day car within the next 200 years.
10. Scientology Will Finally Be Toppled
The Church of Scientology has been plagued with stories of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse within the organization for decades. Over the past couple of years, the church has lost some high-profile figures on whom it used to rely for good publicity, including Nicole Kidman, Paul Haggis and Leah Remini.
It is Remini who has been the greatest thorn in the side of the church since her apostasy in 2013. The former King of Queens star has become an anti-Scientology activist and has spoken of the diabolical, often illegal behavior of the church’s leader David Miscavige. Remini has called for the church to be classified as a criminal organization and has been supported by countless ex-Scientologists and anti-Scientology activist. With apostates mounting and countless scandalous rumors being confirmed as facts, it looks like the Church of Scientology is on its last legs less than a century after its founding.
9. Smoking Is Not As Cool As It Used To Be
As more and more countries around the world legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, it looks as though the stigma stoners once had to deal with is going to fall upon common cigarette smokers. For decades now, anti-smoking groups have been campaigning to have the sale and consumption of cigarettes outlawed. It seems a little crazy at first, but when you look at the statistics, it’s hard not to see where groups like the ASH are coming from. We know that the average smoker will die ten years younger than the average non-smoker. On top of that, every six seconds, a person dies from a smoking-related illness. In the United States alone, 20% of all deaths can be traced back to cigarettes while less than 2% are caused by firearms.
Based on these statistics, dozens of countries have criminalized the promotion and display of cigarettes in stores, so the next logical step seems to be to outlaw the purchasing of tobacco products, regardless of your age or stress levels.
8. The Confederate Flag
For many people who grew up in the southern states of America, the Confederate flag is merely a reminder of home. It’s something that connects them to the days of their mother’s cooking and long summer afternoons spent by the lake. To southerners, it paints an idyllic picture of a past that probably never existed. For those who grew up elsewhere, however, it will be forever tied to the civil war and the Confederacy’s attempts to protect slavery and slave owners in America.
Over the past couple of years, there have been increasing calls to outlaw the Confederate flag, largely owing to its racist connotations. The flag has been digitally removed from movies and television shows in which it once appeared and several states across America have banned the sale and display of products bearing its image. While a disturbing number of people still fight for the Confederate flag, you can expect it to be wiped from the United States sooner rather than later.
7. Infant Circumcision Is Weird
In Judaism, it is tradition for new parents to circumcise their baby boy eight days after his birth. This has been going on for thousands of years and can be traced back – at least in Jewish lore – to a covenant made between Yahweh and Abraham, the father of the three major monotheistic religions. However, if the modern socio-political landscape is anything to go by, it looks like the tradition of infant circumcision within Judaism is going to come to a rather forceful end.
Across the United States, there are dozens of groups opposing the circumcising of infants for unnecessary reasons, religious tradition generally being cited as one of them. Doctors Opposing Circumcision has been in the fight since 1995 and believes that “boys have the right to keep the penis they were born with”, a belief seconded by Beyond the Bris, a Jewish fringe organization opposed to the circumcising of healthy baby boys. With medical professionals and practicing Jews both actively campaigning against infant circumcision, it’s hard to imagine the practice making it to the 22nd century intact.
6. Criticizing Islam Will Stop Being Fashionable
While Judaism is coming under fire from self-proclaimed “intactivists”, Islam is being protected by non-Muslims who appear not to fully understand the differences between criticism and bigotry. Discriminating against somebody because of their religion is abhorrent, be they Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. That being said, there are aspects of all religions that are equally as abhorrent and Islam is definitely not without its flaws.
As anybody who has left Islam will tell you, the Quran calls for the death of apostates, as it does for the punishment of gays and unveiled women. A worrying number of westerners are turning a blind eye to the darker portions of the holy text so as not to contribute to Islamophobia, which is a noble, but ultimately damaging, intention. Still, millennials are calling for the criminalization of Islamophobia in a classic example of what ex-Muslim writer Ali Rizvi described as the left being wrong about Islam in an attempt to compensate for the right being wrong about Muslims.
5. Tanning Beds Will No Longer Exist?
Tanning beds have always been controversial, but they have often taken a back seat to more pressing matters. Over the next couple of years, however, you can expect tanning beds to receive more criticism than ever before, criticism that will ultimately lead to them being outlawed.
But why should tanning beds be made illegal? Surely they can’t be that damaging! Although tanning beds may appear relatively harmless, the statistics gathered by the Skin Cancer Foundation tell us otherwise. Research has found that those who have used a tanning bed ten or more times are 34% more likely to develop melanoma. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, people who start using tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their chances of developing melanoma by a boot-quaking 75%.
4. Catfishing On The Home Phone And Internet
When it comes to Internet trends, catfishing is a relatively old phenomenon. But despite being old news on social media, it has yet to make any significant impact on the lives of lawmakers – barring a saucy few – so there aren’t really any laws forbidding it.
Recently, a Canterbury woman by the name of Anna Rowe, herself a victim of catfishing, has been calling for Internet masquerading to be made a crime. She has already faced a couple of bumps in the road – the term “catfishing” is not officially recognized, which makes outlawing it a challenge – and is likely to face a couple more challenges as her campaign moves forward, but with more millennials obtaining high positions in society every day, the odds appear increasingly in her favor.
3. Anti-Vax Movement
The anti-vax movement, while no doubt well-intentioned, has resulted in the widespread return of polio and measles, the latter of which has claimed the lives of a number of unvaccinated children. Anti-vax activists choose not to vaccinate their children as they believe vaccines cause autism and/or are used by the government as a means of controlling citizens and keeping them obedient.
Recently, France has taken a step towards the outlawing of anti-vax teachings, announcing that parents who fail to vaccinate their children will face jail time for their actions. In most countries, the decision to vaccinate one’s children lies with the parents alone and although doing so is encouraged, it isn’t mandatory. Expect this to change over the next couple of years as the deaths associated with the anti-vax movement and its teachings continue to rise across the world.
2. Plastic Bags Will Be Eradicated
In the short term, plastic bags are far more convenient than their paper alternative, but the long term effects they have on the planet and its inhabitants far outweigh any immediate pros they may offer. Plastic bags take years to disintegrate once they are discarded and, when they finally do, they release toxic chemicals into the soil, damaging insects, plants, and the wildlife that feed on them. Many plastic bags find their way to the ocean, where they trap fish and strangle larger sea creatures.
Governments around the world have attempted to discourage their shoppers from using plastic bags by putting a small tax on them. Kenya went quite a few steps further by introducing a four year prison sentence for the selling and using of plastic bags. Extreme as that punishment may be, discarded plastic bags are now a rare sight in Kenya, so expect other countries to follow suit in the coming years.
1. Clearing Your Search History
Everybody clears their Internet browser history, usually for the same reason, but doing so a decade from now might just land you in jail. As much as he was loved by the American public, former US president Obama performed his fair share of questionable acts while in office. His administration spent much of his second term pushing an amendment to surveillance law which would have given the FBI full access to and control over a person’s Internet browser history. Since President Trump took office, this amendment has been put on the back burner, but there are still some White House influencers pushing for it under the guise of protecting national security. If such a law passes, attempting to hide your Internet history from your mother will be perceived by the FBI as attempting to hide your Internet history from law enforcement, which could land you in jail for upwards of 20 years.
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