Note: the dates of past events are only approximate. The other half of the timeline is wildly speculative and hypothetical.
The boiling frog of digital freedom
2035: in most countries, messaging apps (including email clients) are considered "critical applications" that must undergo government approval before publication.
2034: VPNs are mostly outlawed worldwide.
2033: Media player apps must implement DRM checks in order to be publishable on any app store.
2032: Chrome drops official support for Linux, citing the impossibility to satisfy Web Environment Integrity (WEI) checks and its subsequent shrinking relevance as a desktop OS.
2031: Chrome ships with website blocklists provided by the user's local government. Patching them out marks the browser as untrusted by WEI.
2030: The market share of ARM-based Windows machines overtakes x86_64. Manufacturers must enforce bootloader locking to be listed as a compatible "Microsoft Trusted Partner".
2029: Windows 14 Home makes "S mode" permanent, preventing execution of third-party apps. Enterprise customers who depend on legacy programs can restore the feature through a paid subscription.
2028: Ad-blocking extensions are banned from the Chrome store. Forcing their installation marks the browser as untrusted by WEI.
2027: Non-WEI compliant websites are marked as "insecure" by Chrome and Safari. Accessing them requires confirmation through a "yes, I accept the risk" dialog box.
2026: Windows 12 releases with "S mode" enabled by default.
2025: Google removes the ability to install Android apps from outside the Play store, citing security concerns.
2024: Youtube, Gmail, Spotify, banks and a few other major websites start using Google's WEI API for internal user reputation scoring, forcing non-compliant browsers through more captchas.
2023: Present day
2023: France proposes the SREN bill, which would mandate browsers to enforce a government-provided blocklist (link)
2023: Google rolls out Web Environment Integrity checks into Chrome (link)
2022: Apple ships "Private Access Tokens", a mechanism to validate web requests from "legitimate devices" (link)
2021: The United Kingdom's Parliament proposes the Online Safety Bill, which would impose content filtering on any "user-to-user service" (link)
2021: Microsoft makes TPM 2.0 a mandatory requirement for Windows (link)
2020: Apple enforces notarization of apps on MacOS (link)
2020: Google rolls out hardware-based device integrity checks on Android, crippling alternative ROMs (link)
2017: Microsoft releases Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows that prevents installation of third-party apps (link)
2017: Chrome's Widevine DRM can no longer be disabled (link)
2011: Microsoft makes Secure Boot a mandatory requirement for Windows (link)