I'm going to be blunt. This one problem is like a hydra - you cut one head off, two more take its place. I've been through the procedure mentioned in my last letter and survived, but with the world currently as it is, I'm not sure whether I'd really want to.
I'm really, really worried about the UK and my life and where I'll be in the next few years and I feel like I'm losing my grip on things. It's overwhelming when I wake up in the morning and just feel constantly depressed over how my life is falling apart and I don't have any control over it.
This first started back in 2016 with the EU referendum. I was too young to vote in it, but my family voted leave. I was at the time a remainer in secret, as my grandmother has this habit of force feeding her opinion to everyone else. Flash forward three years and it's approaching Brexit day. Whatever side people voted on, it's clear it's going to hit our economy pretty hard. There's talks of diverting already stretched police forces to the border to help with new customs checks etc., and food prices facing a significant increase.
But then there's the other side of the problem. In the past, I've used the fandom to escape from all of this, but this is now under threat from Article 13 (since renamed to Article 17) of the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. This law, while it does not explicitly state this in writing, would force all Internet sites to install filters to check for copyright infringement at the point of upload for user generated content (basically YouTube's Content ID system but stricter and for everything). I run a furry YouTube channel that I fear will get deleted (YouTube's CEO has said they might have to block EU uploads) and the problem only gets worse from there. While there are exceptions written for small sites, the vast majority of sites don't fall into these. And back when GDPR [General Date Protection Regulation] was introduced, a lot of websites restricted EU access. I worry that sites such as FurAffinity and Furry Amino will choose this option instead of spending a fortune on filters (that are expected to be 100% perfect and non erroneous, which is effectively impossible) and simply choose to block all internet traffic from the EU, effectively cutting me off from the fandom. (The final Parliamentary vote on this law is on Tuesday at midday UTC therefore please read up on the result before replying to this.)
So that's the position I'm in. I'm worried about my economic future, my safety (more police at border equals less police dealing with the rise in knife crime) and also worried about losing the community that has helped me weather this storm.
I'm just getting so overwhelmed - every time I try to ignore any of this, I just feel the urge to do 'one quick Google search' to see the latest news, but end up sinking hours into analysing the outcome and trying to wonder how I'll cope in the coming months.
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I'm glad the operation went well, and I hope it has helped with your hearing!
Okay, Brexit. Oy vay, right? I'm in agreement with you that the UK exit from the EU is a moronic decision that was inspired mostly by people (mostly older, conservative people like your parents and grandmother) who are afraid of change, immigrants, and international cooperation. It's totally idiotic and, yes, many people like you believe you're going to be hit hard economically. I'm sorry for you.
My understanding of the GDPR is that it is mostly about websites complying with privacy regulations set up by the EU, especially regarding personal data collection. Any website that interacts with citizens in the EU has a laundry list of policies to conform to, including providing opt-out options, adding SSL if not currently doing so, having written cookie and privacy policies, making sure that any third-party gateways (such as for shopping carts) are compliant if you use them, informing users in your policies that you use Google Analytics (if you do), and so on. Actually, all of the above are good ideas that websites and phone apps should do anyway.
If a website is not compliant, I believe that, yes, it could be blocked by the EU countries, but you won't be in an EU country anymore, so, if it applies to your online experience at all, it would only apply to content coming out of the EU, which it would do right now anyway. I could be wrong, but I don't think Brexit and the GDPR are going to affect your online and phone browsing access, including to furry sites.
As for the future of the British economy and issues such as police protection, well, I don't think anyone really knows how that is all going to shake out after Brexit. The government is just fighting with itself, and it is an awful mess. The world is going through a lot right now. I mean, the United States is having serious problems, and there is a rise in dictatorships and dictator-like governments all over the place, especially in South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and former Soviet Bloc countries. The reasons behind this are too complex to get into for this column. England, though, is one of those countries, and it is happening in large part because of the fear of immigration and a fear of loss of cultural identity.
With such challenging times ahead, family, friends, and community will be more important than ever. I think from the furry end, at least, you can rest assured that we will stick around for you and give you moral support and encouragement.
No one can say for sure what the future will bring, but I hope my words provide at least some comfort to you.
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