Another Little Detail In The Sovietization Of America
That's a good thing for ordinary people, and scientists, and anyone wishing to share knowledge or ideas. Including political subversives, which is why totalitarian governments like the Soviets banned photocopy machines for all but the elite. Sagan wrote how, when he met with his Soviet scientific colleagues to discuss apolitical matters of astrophysics, he knew the ban on photocopy machines -- what the ban implied about the Soviet government's attitude regarding information and control -- meant the Soviet system was ultimately doomed to fall behind.
Turned out the Soviet system was plain doomed, though Sagan couldn't have known that when he wrote those books in the 1970s and '80s. And now it's a quarter-century later, and photocopy machines are venerable old-fashioned technology. The US government has no Soviet-style problem with old copymaking tech, but the newest generation of technology is something else entirely: in the hope of preventing another Wikileaks-style data breach from the top-secret server accessible to over three million authorized Americans, the military has banned on threat of court-martial all "removable media" around sensitive computers: no DVDs, no thumb drives, nothing that might possibly allow computer-to-computer information spreading.
I'm sure banning modern info-sharing technology will be just as useful to the US government today as banning photocopiers was to the Soviet government in Sagan's time.